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Within this document, the IABMCP Code of Ethics, the terms “Diplomate” and “Diplomates” will refer to all members of The Academy regardless of their level of membership and the terms “Client” and “Clients” will refer to all individuals or entities receiving professional services from Diplomates, regardless of whether such individuals or entities are called “patients”, “clients”, or by any other designation.

The principles espoused by The Academy’s Code of Ethics are enumerated below and, to facilitate comprehension, are organized under general categories or themes.

The IABMCP Code of Ethics requires that Diplomates always treat clients with dignity and respect, placing the interests and needs of their clients ahead of their own, and doing everything that they reasonably can do to maximize the effectiveness of the services that they provide.

General Principles

IABMCP Diplomates understand and acknowledge that: (a) Diplomate Status/Membership in The Academy is not in any way intended to be, nor should it be construed as being, a substitute for any legal requirements for practicing behavioral medicine, counseling, psychotherapy, chemical dependency counseling and/or coaching that may exist within a state, province, country or any other relevant jurisdiction; and (b) their professional practice will always be in full compliance with all existing laws, as well as in full compliance with the ethical standards and regulations of The Academy and the ethical standards of their professions.

IABMCP Diplomates recognize and agree that in the event that any part of the IABMCP Code of Ethics conflicts with any laws, statutes, rules, regulations or any other related provisions existing within the legal jurisdiction within which they practice/reside, then and in such event, the IABMCP Diplomate will make every reasonable effort to attempt to resolve the conflict but, if unable to do so, may adhere to the legal provisions existing in the local jurisdiction.

IABMCP Diplomates adhere to the firm and enduring belief that exemplary ethical behavior is expected at all times and immediately seek proper consultation when faced with unusual circumstances in which they see ethical behavior as not being clearly defined.

IABMCP Diplomates respect the rights of other individuals to hold beliefs, opinions and values different from their own, and respect the opinions and viewpoints of other professionals with whom they might disagree.

IABMCP Diplomates always maintain high standards of professional competency and ethical behavior in all interactions with clients, colleagues and the general public.

IABMCP Diplomates respect the confidences of professional colleagues that are shared with them in the course of their professional relationships.

IABMCP Diplomates do not malign or make personally disparaging remarks about other professionals.

IABMCP Diplomates, when publicizing their membership in IABMCP, do not do so in a manner that would imply, or which could be construed as implying, IABMCP endorsement of their activities.

IABMCP Diplomates refrain from participating in any type of fraud, dishonesty or deception and when made aware of such behavior make every reasonable effort to correct same.

IABMCP Diplomates fully and truthfully cooperate in any investigation by IABMCP into alleged ethical violations.

IABMCP Diplomates take reasonable steps to seek the advice of appropriate individuals when they have concerns or questions regarding their ethical obligations in specific circumstances.

IABMCP Diplomates are encouraged to participate in activities that facilitate positive developments in their communities including devoting whatever time that they deem appropriate to providing professional services for which there is no or minimal financial return.

IABMCP Diplomates maintain a high level of awareness of all applicable laws, ethics and professional standards and always make certain that their professional services and activities are in full compliance with all such laws, ethics and professional standards.

IABMCP Diplomates who are members of professions that have Codes of Ethics which contain provisions not included in the IABMCP Code of Ethics follow and adhere to any such provisions in addition to the IABMCP Code of Ethics.

Professional Competency

IABMCP Diplomates place the utmost value on maximizing their professional competency in all their professional endeavors and continually seek to enhance their professional competency in every possible way.

IABMCP Diplomates make every reasonable effort to keep informed of new knowledge and developments in their profession so as to enhance their professional competency and the quality of the services that they provide.

IABMCP Diplomates recognize and endorse the importance of on-going, continuing education to enhance their general competency and the quality of the services that they provide to clients.

IABMCP Diplomates do not practice in any areas that are outside the limits of their competency.

IABMCP Diplomates strive to be aware of their own limitations and to make appropriate referrals to other practitioners when such referrals are in the clients' best interests.

IABMCP Diplomates attend to their own psychological and emotional needs, and make every effort to effectively address any psychological or emotional problems, so as to prevent any interference with the quality of the treatment services that they provide.

Treatment of Clients

IABMCP Diplomates never allow considerations such as gender, race, religion, marital or family status, age, sexual orientation, disability, ethnicity, social class, political beliefs, or any other such factors to influence their treatment of clients.

IABMCP Diplomates at all times conduct their professional practices with honesty and integrity and treat all clients in a respectful and caring manner, placing the needs and goals of all clients ahead of their own.

IABMCP Diplomates refrain from attempting to impose their personal beliefs or values upon clients and do not allow personal issues to enter into their professional relationships.

IABMCP Diplomates carefully and continually monitor their effectiveness in all interactions with clients and take all reasonable steps and measures to improve their effectiveness.

IABMCP Diplomates, prior to offering any professional services, discuss with clients the nature of confidentiality and the possible limitations on such confidentiality.

IABMCP Diplomates continue to provide services to clients only so long as it is reasonably clear that the clients are benefiting from said services and discuss termination of treatment or alternative treatment methods at the earliest moment at which it is in the client's best interest for such discussion to take place.

IABMCP Diplomates never abandon or neglect clients who are in treatment, and make alternate arrangements when not available to continue treatment, such as when a therapist or client relocates.

IABMCP Diplomates always remain aware of the power imbalances that often characterize relationships with clients and do not exploit any such imbalances for their own personal gain or gratification.

IABMCP Diplomates do not engage in any type of exploitation, either financially, emotionally, sexually or in any other way of clients, students, trainees, supervisees, colleagues, employees or any other individuals.

IABMCP Diplomates never use their professional relationships with clients to further their own interests or goals.

IABMCP Diplomate recognize all forms of sexual behavior and harassment with clients as being unethical and refrain from any and all such behaviors.

IABMCP Diplomates do not engage in sexual behavior with the relatives or close friends of clients.

IABMCP Diplomates do not terminate treatment to pursue social, sexual or financial relationships with clients.

Practice Management and Record Keeping

IABMCP Diplomates actively protect the privacy of their clients in all oral, written, and electronic communications.

IABMCP Diplomates always maintain total confidentiality with respect to their clients except when otherwise required by law or safety considerations, or when prior written consent to release information has been obtained from clients.

IABMCP Diplomates always clearly discuss with their new clients, before services are provided, all relevant information regarding fees, payment procedures, and the practitioner's policy with regard to cancelled or missed appointments, and provide reasonable notice with regard to any changes in fees and/or any other issues related to payment procedures.

IABMCP Diplomates clearly explain to clients, before services are provided, the limitations on total confidentiality that may be imposed by specific laws in relevant jurisdictions and/or by safety considerations.

IABMCP Diplomates always obtain the written consent of parents or guardians before services are provided to any individual who has not reached the age of majority, or who has been found by a court of competent jurisdiction or other relevant entity to be not competent to handle his or her own affairs.

IABMCP Diplomates always maintain adequate and accurate records relating to treatment and finances and keep all records and notes pertaining to clients in a safe and secure place.

IABMCP Diplomates maintain records in sufficient detail so as to accurately describe the professional services rendered and the results of the rendering of such professional services.

IABMCP Diplomates always arrange for the proper storage, transfer and/or disposal of client records upon moving, retiring, incapacitation or death.

IABMCP Diplomates maintain, protect and dispose of client records only in ways that maintain confidentiality and that are totally consistent with all applicable laws and current professional standards.

IABMCP Diplomates always obtain written informed consent from clients prior to video recording, audio taping or permitting third party observation.

IABMCP Diplomates never use materials from their client interactions in any teaching, writing, consulting, research and/or public presentations unless prior written permission has been obtained from the client(s).

IABMCP Diplomates do not give or receive gifts from clients that might interfere with the efficacy of the professional services that they are providing.

Professional Representation

IABMCP Diplomates always accurately represent to clients and to others their education, training, professional experience, and competencies.

IABMCP Diplomates make certain that the training, experience, qualifications and competencies of any employees and supervisees are represented in a clear and accurate manner.

IABMCP Diplomates do whatever possible to correct any false or misleading information concerning their qualifications and experience that may have been misrepresented by other individuals.

IABMCP Diplomates always practice within the bounds of their competency and do not exaggerate any aspects of their training, experience or qualifications.


IABMCP Diplomates at all times attempt to relate to clients with empathy and understanding and, if unable to do so, confer with the client to consider an appropriate referral.

IABMCP Diplomates do not offer or accept any remuneration for referrals and any and all referrals made by IABMCP Diplomates are always made exclusively on the basis of what, in the referring Diplomate’s best judgment, is in the best interests of the client.

IABMCP Diplomates do not accept or offer monetary payment or anything of material value, or any other type of compensation, for referrals of clients.

Research Considerations

IABMCP Diplomates conduct all research in a manner fully consistent with the ethical principles of the IABMCP Code of Ethics, the Code of Ethics of the particular profession which they represent and in full compliance with all laws, statutes, regulations and other governing provisions existing within the jurisdiction in which the research is being conducted.

IABMCP Diplomates assume total responsibility for the safety and welfare of all individuals participating in the research process and take all necessary precautions to minimize the risk of any type of injury to individuals participating in said research process.

IABMCP Diplomates obtain the written informed consent from those individuals participating in the Diplomate’s research — said consent explaining the purpose of the research, any possible risks, any limits on confidentiality, the absence of any negative consequences for declining to participate or for withdrawing from participation, as well as any other information/issues which the Diplomate believes to be important.

IABMCP Diplomates who are involved in research projects never exert any pressure for clients to participate in said projects or engage in any behavior that would convey to the clients the feeling or impression that the treatment that they will receive is related to their decision whether or not to participate in said research project.

IABMCP Diplomates make every reasonable effort to prevent or correct the misuse or distortion of their research findings.

Giving Proper Credit

IABMCP Diplomates do not present the ideas, thoughts or work of others without giving proper credit and, if presented in detail in writing, without receiving prior written permission from the proper individuals/entities.

IABMCP Diplomates do not use any copyrighted material without prior written permission from the appropriate individuals/entities.

IABMCP Diplomates provide written credit to those who have contributed to publication(s) in such a manner so as to accurately describe such contribution(s).

IABMCP Diplomates do not plagiarize or in any way present or distribute someone else’s work without proper permission and without giving proper credit.

A Final Note

Quite probably no Code of Ethics is totally complete and able to clearly address every conceivable situation that the practicing professional might encounter. In the case of any situation that the Diplomate finds to be less than totally clear with regard to its ethical implications, he/she is encouraged to contact The Academy for an opinion and to generally follow the timeless principle — treat others as you would want to be treated.



Individuals who have complaints against Academy Diplomates may contact The Academy's main office in Dallas , Texas to request a complaint form. This form will request the complainant to provide all relevant details of the situation generating the complaint. All complaints are investigated as thoroughly and as quickly as possible. Respondents are given the opportunity to answer the complaint and then the complainant is given the opportunity to respond. If a determination of unethical conduct is made by The Academy, a number of sanctions/penalties are possible including the suspension and/or revocation of IABMCP Membership/Diplomate Status. It is to be noted that this process does not preclude any other actions the complainant may choose to pursue.


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