Ethics are a vital component of Counseling. It helps keep Professional Counselors accountable to their clients, and to the state board. Let’s first start with the definition of ethics” Are guidelines or rules set by a governing body or society.. Ethics are important because it helps the Counselor think in reference of how well can he or she perform their duties. Ethics have many reasons to exists in counseling, Here are 5 important reasons.
- to enable the association and current members to know the ethical responsibility held in common by its members,
- Code of Ethics help support mission of the association,
- Code of ethics establishes principles that defines ethical behavior and best practice methods,
- Code is used to assist members to construct a course of action that best serve those who utilize counseling establishes principles that defines ethical behavior and best practice methods services and also promotes the value of the counseling profession , and finally the code of ethics is used as a tool for processing complaints and inquiries against its members various types of ethical issues.(Corey,2013).
Before starting counseling sessions the professional should start structuring the session by informing the client of consent. This also helps provide boundaries for both the counselor, and the client.
Confidentiality is also very necessary and is important to explain the client rights, but understanding the limitations of confidentiality such as , suicide , abuse of the elderly, child abuse, or threats endangering lives or a third party. While being engaged in counseling there have been some stated ethical issues that has need to be addressed by practice boards. Issues such as the assessment and diagnosis process have been in question. The assessment is predicated upon a series of relevant life factors to help identify issues for a diagnosis1. The diagnosis is a disorder that is based on types of symptoms.
The ethical issue of the assessment process is the failure to not take into account the cultural and ethical differences in behaviors. The DSM 4 states being aware of the unintentional bias, but does not do a good job in distinguishing various cultures , ethnicities , while indentifying erroneous or defiant behavior that may not be accepted or known in western culture.2 Another Ethical issue is EBP, or evidence based practice. EBP is the accumulation of the best available research from clinical experts that consist of client’s characteristics, cultures and preferences.
The challenge and or issue with EBP is that some clinical experts think psychological assessment and treatment is strongly driven by financial gain and reputation. So when dealing with insurance companies the need to save money is being place above the need to treat. Not all client come to treatment with a clearly defined disorder and they do not fit into a “cookie-cutter model” EBP. It may be effective for counselors who work with clients with specific issues like depression, cognitive, and behavior disorders.
But EBP does not offer a good deal for client who want to have more meaning, and fulfillment in their lives.3 Multiple or dual relationships can pose ethical issues in counseling. Dual and multiple relationships is when a counselor carries a role of a teacher/therapist, or a supervisor/therapist. There are many ways to have unethical relationships other than the obvious sexual and emotional relationships. Although many dual relationships carry risk, not all relationships are unethical. Some are even considered helpful if implemented and used in the correct way. Minimizing the risk of being unethical can be as easy as setting healthy boundaries at the beginning of the session, and always including the client in decisions in treatment.
Discuss expectations, go over consents and release form. If you do get into a questionable situation always have a fellow professional to consult with. Always self monitor, ask who the secession is about, you or the client? Who needs are being met? To be an ethical counselor, knowing and following the code of ethic is essential. Always seek advice from trusted colleagues and reexamine yourself throughout your career on issues like the ones discussed and others. It is very important for the counselor to learn and see ethical dilemmas as they are occurring. It is showing good faith when you bring such issues up with other professionals. Just” self check” yourself and make sure you are keeping yourself as a trustworthy and upstanding professional who is able to counsel and encourage your clients.