IAAAC: Code of Practice & Ethics


  1. The purpose of this code is to establish and maintain standards for addiction counsellors who are members of the IAAAC, and to inform and protect members of the public seeking and using their services.
  2. All members of this Association must abide by existing codes appropriate to their membership grade. Whilst this code cannot resolve all ethical and practice related issues, it aims to provide a framework for addressing ethical issues.
  3. This Association has a Complaints Procedure.

Definition of Counselling

  1. Addiction Counselling seeks to provide the client with opportunities to explore, discover and clarify ways of recovery from addictive behaviours/substance abuse.
  2. Addiction Counselling includes the giving of time, attention and respect in a confidential, therapeutic relationship. This includes work with individuals, couples or groups of people referred to as “clients.
  3. The counsellor role is to facilitate the client’s growth in ways which respect the person’s values, personal resources and capacity for self determination, leading to lifelong recovery.
  4. Only when both parties explicitly agree to enter into a counselling relationship and a contract is agreed between the counsellor and client does it become counselling.
  5. Regardless of the theoretical approaches used by individual counsellors, there are ethical issues which are common to all counselling situations.

Code of Ethics

Issues of Responsibility
The counsellor-client relationship is the foremost ethical concern. This relationship also reflects upon colleagues, other associations and members of the wider community. These are addressed under separate headings.

To the Client
Client Safety: Counsellors should take all reasonable steps to ensure that the client suffers neither physical nor psychological harm dur