Module 7: Ethical Responsibility Copy


All types of human relationships are built on expectations of how people will behave within those relationships. In formal helping relationships, the values and expectations that govern how the helper behaves are generally referred to as the ethics of the profession. The purpose of this module is to help you understand the ethical standards that apply to you as a peer support specialist, how those standards are communicated and enforced and how to make ethical decisions within your practice.

Within the context of behavioral health treatment, clients are assumed to have certain basic rights that must be safeguarded by all persons providing services including peer support specialists. This module will also describe those basic rights. In addition, the module provides information about other professional responsibilities such as use of supervision, ongoing professional development and maintaining personal wellness


  • Ethical Standards for Peer Support Specialists
    • Defining Ethics
    • The Importance of Ethical Standards
    • Codes of Ethics
    • Laws that Govern Peer Relationships and Services
    • Consequences for Ethical Violations
  • Practice Guidelines for Peer Support Specialists
  • Client Rights
    • Overview of Client Rights
    • Informed Consent
    • Safety
    • Crisis Support
    • Confidentiality
    • Respect and Dignity
    • Self-Determination
  • Cultural Competence
    • Defining Culture
    • Cultural Competence
    • The Culture of Recovery
  • Boundaries
    • Setting and Maintaining Boundaries
    • Specific Boundary Issues for Peer Support Specialists
    • Responding to Boundary Violations
  • Documentation
  • Other Professional Responsibilities
    • Use of Supervision
    • Chain of command and notification
    • Ongoing Professional Development
    • Maintaining Personal Wellness

Learning Objectives

After completing this module, participants will be able to

  • Define ethics
  • Distinguish between values, morals and ethics
  • Describe the importance of ethical standards
  • Identify the order of progression of ethical standards
  • List three important practice guidelines for peer support specialists
  • Define confidentiality and identify the federal law that governs confidentiality for substance abuse clients
  • Cite two limitations to a client’s right to confidentiality
  • Define universal precautions and describe why they are important
  • Explain the concept of cultural competence and describe why it is important
  • Identify who is responsible for maintaining boundaries in the peer relationship
  • List two specific boundary issues that can occur in the peer relationship
  • List the components of a SOAP progress note
  • Name three professional responsibilities for peer support specialists

Module Activities

  • Module 7 Activity: Values, Morals or Ethics?
  • Module 7 Reflection Activity: Code of Ethics
  • Module 7 Activity: Meeting the Guidelines
  • Module 7 Activity: Understanding Client Safety
  • Module 7 Activity: Steps in Crisis Intervention
  • Module 7 Activity: Client Rights
  • Module 7 Activity: Cultural Competence
  • Module 7 Reflection Activity: Boundary Violations
  • Module 7 Activity: Crossing or Violation

Workbook Activities

After you have completed all of the module 7 lessons below, complete the following activities your course workbook:

  • Workbook Activity 1: Confidentiality (30 minutes)
  • Workbook Activity 2: Boundaries (60 minutes)

Module 7 Quiz

After you have completed all of the module 7 lessons below and the workbook activities, you will be able to click the button at the bottom of this page to complete the Module 7 Quiz and Advance to the course Final Steps.