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422 | Advocacy for a Christian Worldview: The Necessity of Christian Ethics to Inform the Counseling Profession

Ethics and Practice Management: Advocacy, Policy, and Counselor Education, Friday 9/15 2:15 – 3:30 PM, Workshop Tracks


Chuck Romig, Ph.D.; Joe Cook, Ph.D.; Dawn Irons, Ph.D.



Approved For CE

Licensed Professional Counselors, Licensed Marriage and Family Therapists, Licensed Clinical Social Workers

Approved For CME/CEU

Medical Doctors, Osteopathic Doctors, Physicians Assistants, Midwives, Nurses and Nurse Practitioners




Ethics codes are influenced by the worldviews and ideologies of those creating, interpreting, and enforcing the codes. Licensed mental health professionals who morally dissent from privileged value positions and ideologies face the risk of sanctions by licensing boards, and mental health training programs may risk losing accreditation status for holding to a Christian worldview. Trainees face self-censorship, remediation, and even expulsion from secular training programs for their religious beliefs. In this workshop, licensed mental health professionals, medical professionals, and ministry leaders will examine the Ward vs. Wilbanks landmark case, where the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals stated, “… tolerance is a two-way street,” and suggested the training program was promoting orthodoxy under the guise of anti-discrimination. Participants will discuss recent research showing conservative Christian counseling students perceived a lack of psychological safety and an appreciation of differences in their secular training programs based on the demographic categories of religious, spiritual, and political-cultural identities. The ultimate result of these actions is that many clients may not have access to mental health professionals who understand and respect their worldviews and values. Christian mental health professionals and educators need effective arguments and advocacy tools to be equipped to make a case for ideological and ethical diversity within the profession.

Learning Objectives

1. Describe key differences between the AACC and ACA ethics codes, including divergent assumptions, worldviews, and prioritization of ethical principles
2. Discuss the harms to the profession and clients that result from privileged ideologies, worldviews, and interpretations of ethics codes and key arguments for increasing moral and ideological diversity
3. Summarize recent research showing a lack of psychological safety and appreciation of differences experienced by conservative Christian counseling students at secular training programs based on their religious, spiritual, and political beliefs/cultural identities
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