Master’s programs in counselor education have
traditionally focused on the training of individuals who
will practice as professional counselors in school or
Recent awareness of counselor
potential harm due to personal issues and inadequate
supervision has triggered counselor supervisors to
become more critical of students in training with regard
to personal characteristics that may interfere with client
This also has placed a heavier burden on
counselor supervisors than in previous years and
increased their awareness of potential liabilities.
The American Counseling Association’s (1995)
Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice
Counselors, through ongoing evaluation and
appraisal, are aware of the academic and
personal limitations of students and
supervisees that might impede performance.
Counselors assist students and supervisees in
securing remedial assistance when needed, and
dismiss from the training program supervisees
who are unable to provide competent service
due to academic or personal limitations.
Counselors seek professional consultation and
document their decision to dismiss or refer
students or supervisees for assistance.
Counselors assure that students and
supervisees have recourse to address decisions
made, to require them to seek assistance, or to
dismiss them. (Section F.3.a.)
Adherence to this section mandates supervisors
to assess students and take steps to prevent students
from harming clients. Therefore, aside from assessing
the academic ability of students, counselor educators
have the necessary role of assessing the clinical skills
and professional judgment of students prior to approval
for work with clients in need of therapeutic services.
This also involves assessing if personal characteristics
have current or potential harm for clients.
faculty members become the first gatekeepers in the
counseling field and may be held liable if they endorse
students to work with clients if they believe a student’s
personal limitations may cause harm.
Traditionally, it is the supervisors of practicum
and internship who have been viewed as the sole
Practicum and internship placements are
most frequently at the end of the program, but warning
signs may be evident at other points in the student’s
training program. Prepracticum placements, initial
counseling skills courses, content courses, and field
experiences implemented in other courses may allow
faculty to determine personal issues which could be
addressed early on in the program through a student
Students need to be aware of the
expectations, policies, and procedures so that if
decisions are made regarding remediation or dismissal,
they have previous awareness of the importance of
addressing personal issues that may interfere in working
Policies and Procedures of Universities and