Success in Being an Ethical Counselor and the Ingredients of Successful Therapy

Table of Content

In this document, various viewpoints on comprehending success as a morally upright counselor and the essential elements of efficient therapy are presented. Additionally, personal thoughts and acquired insights are incorporated. The first task necessitates the recognition of moral, ethical, and legal predicaments in diverse scenarios where these aspects might clash. You are required to depict four separate situations and deliberate on your method for ascertaining the most suitable course of action. In your response, furnish a comprehensive explanation. Your paper must consist of at least three pages.

One: Marcus, a therapist in a community agency, recently divorced his wife and appears to be holding onto anger towards women in general. His colleagues have observed a shift in his demeanor and actions, and they have advised him to seek personal counseling to address his problems. By recommending counseling for Marcus, his colleagues are adhering to ethical standards as counselors. They understand that unresolved personal issues can often be projected onto clients.

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Two: Justine, a new counselor, is enthusiastic about starting her career. Additionally, Justine is contemplating researching the cycle of abuse experienced by women.

Ironically, Justine has been choosing clients from the nearby crisis center. In her sessions, Justine ponders whether she is meeting the clients’ needs or her own. She engages in significant self-reflection and professional selfsameness. Three instances require practitioners to breach confidentiality and report information: when clients endanger others, when a child under 16 experiences incest, rape, or child abuse, and when an older adult faces abuse. Additionally, therapists may determine the need for immediate involuntary hospitalization for a client.

Four: I watched an episode of “In Treatment,” a TV show about a Psychologist who sees multiple clients. The Psychologist appears to be unaware of the social, legal, and ethical issues that can arise during therapy sessions. Upon reflection, I believe this therapist may be causing more harm than good because they do not prioritize client autonomy, which is crucial in counseling. Therefore, it is essential for this therapist to seek guidance from a supervisor who adheres to professional ethical standards and can assist them in implementing those standards into their practice. When discussing these concerns, it is important to take into account the AC Code of Ethics.

Once you have clarified the problem, check the Code of Ethics (AC 2005) to see if it addresses the issue. If there are relevant standards that are specific and clear, following the indicated course of action should help resolve the problem. To apply the ethical standards effectively, it is crucial to carefully read and understand them. However, if the problem is more complicated and a solution is not readily apparent, you likely have a genuine ethical dilemma and should proceed with additional steps in the ethical decision making process.

Determine the nature and dimensions of the dilemma by considering various avenues to examine the problem. Take into account the moral principles of autonomy, malefaction, beneficence, justice, and fidelity. Identify the applicable principles and determine which one takes precedence in this specific situation. Although each principle holds equal value in theory, the challenge lies in deciding priorities when conflicts arise between two or more principles.

To make a well-informed decision, it is crucial to review current professional literature and consult with experienced colleagues or supervisors. Their input can help identify relevant issues and offer perspectives you may not have considered. Additionally, they may assist in viewing the dilemma objectively by pointing out aspects that you might have overlooked. Seeking help from state or national professional associations can also be valuable. Finally, generate possible courses of action.

Brainstorm multiple courses of action, considering all possibilities and seeking input from a colleague. Evaluate the potential consequences of each option and make a decision. Assess the implications for the client, other affected parties, and yourself as a counselor based on the gathered information and priorities.

When faced with decisions, first eliminate options that have undesirable outcomes or create more problems. Then, carefully assess the remaining options to find the one or combination that aligns with your priorities and solves the situation at hand. Once a course of action is selected, evaluate it for any ethical implications. To ensure suitability, it is recommended to apply three straightforward tests to the chosen course of action.

To apply the test of justice, assess your own sense of fairness by considering if you would treat others in the same way in this specific situation. For the test of publicity, determine if you would want your behavior to be reported in the media. The test of universality requires assessing if you could recommend the same actions to another counselor facing a similar situation. If the chosen course of action introduces new ethical concerns, reassess each step from the beginning. It is possible that an incorrect option was selected or the problem was misidentified. If all suggested questions can be answered affirmatively (thus passing tests of justice, publicity, and universality) and you are confident with your choice, proceed with implementation by implementing the chosen course of action. Dealing with an ethical dilemma presents challenges. The final step involves building confidence and conviction to carry out your plan. After implementation, follow up on the situation to evaluate expected effects and consequences.

The Ethical Decision Making Model at a Glance:

  1. Identify the problem.
  2. Apply the AC Code of Ethics.
  3. Determine the nature and dimensions of the dilemma.
  4. Generate potential courses of action.
  5. Consider the potential consequences of all options, choose a course of action.
  6. Evaluate the selected course of action.
  7. Implement the course of action.

Also helpful check list would be, the five basic areas for consideration when evaluating an ethical situation are:

  • Autonomy- honoring the client’s right to independence and freedom as well as their decision making abilities.
  • Beneficence- the doing of good to others.

Non-maleficence refers to the responsibility of avoiding harm through one’s actions. Justice involves being fair and treating clients equally. Fidelity is the practice of honesty and loyalty. Please assign a meeting for us to discuss these principles further. Additionally, please read the statutes pertaining to counselors on your state’s counseling board website and provide a summary of the parts of the law that you find interesting or different from what you had imagined. Your discussion should be a minimum of 3 pages. Attached is a list of counseling board website laws/rules/regulations for each of our different states, as our Waylaid campuses have counselor education programs with students in this class.

Texas code states that it employs various methods and strategies such as interpersonal cognitive, cognitive-behavioral, behavioral, psychodrama, and affective approaches to promote mental, emotional, physical, social, moral, educational, spiritual, and career development and adjustment throughout the lifetime. This broad description applies to diverse counseling types.

The complaint process for Marriage and Family Therapists is extensive, enabling individuals to lodge complaints in a timely manner. Moreover, the process includes measures to safeguard complainants. It would be advantageous to integrate an anonymous form for submitting initial information. Those wishing to report a complaint or accuse either a licensee or another person of violating the Act or this chapter can notify department staff. The initial notification of the complaint can be submitted in writing, over the phone, or by personally visiting the board office.

Complaint forms must be submitted to the board office within 5 years of the termination of the licensee-client relationship for it to be accepted. This requirement applies to alleged violation cases. If the client was underage during the violation, the time limit will only begin when they reach 18 years old. If a complaint does not meet this submission requirement in a timely manner, the complainant will receive notification that it has been rejected. However, it is important to note that complaints regarding sexual misconduct under section 8 5801.45 or any other rules established by the board concerning sexual misconduct are exempt from this time limit.

In certain situations, the board has the power to extend the specified time limit if there are severe acts or ongoing threats to public health or safety that require immediate action. However, evidence must be given to support this decision. When a complaint is received, department staff can help by directing the individual to the board’s official website for a complaint form or by offering to send them a form that they can fill out and send back. If sufficient information is provided about an alleged violation, the executive director may decide to refer an anonymous complaint for investigation.

Upon receipt of a written complaint, the department staff will send an acknowledgement letter to the complainant. The complaint will be reviewed by either the executive director or their designee to ascertain if it falls under the jurisdiction of the board. If it is determined that the complaint does not fall within the board’s jurisdiction or if the allegations would not violate either the Act or this chapter, then the executive director has authority to dismiss said complaint. Written notification of dismissal will be provided to both the licensee/individual mentioned in the complaint and also to both complainant and ethics committee.

The ethics committee has the power to examine and modify the executive director’s decision, resulting in a reopening of the case. If the complaint is under the board’s jurisdiction, it will be sent to the executive director for investigation. Additionally, within 45 days, the executive director will determine if they should notify the accused person about the complaint through mail. Following that, a written response will be required from the alleged violator within 15 days after receiving this notification.

If an investigation is being conducted into an allegation, it might be required to submit all relevant client records as a response to a complaint. Failure to adhere to a complaint response request or not responding to an information request can be seen by the board, executive director, or their designated representative as evidence of non-cooperation during the investigation.

If the executive director determines that notifying the complaint respondent by mail within 45 days is not required, a department investigator will inform the respondent about the complaint. This can be accomplished through a letter, phone call, or in-person communication. The department’s investigative team will gather all pertinent information regarding the complaint and produce either an investigative report or summary. To evaluate both the complaint and its supporting documents, an ethics committee will be formed by appointing at least one public board member as a committee member.

The ethics committee, along with the executive director, will review and decide on each complaint, ensuring that implant-related complaints are not ignored. They will give the complainant an opportunity to explain their allegations. Complaints that won’t be handled formally may be dismissed or recommended for formal action, followed by participating in due processes later on. The department staff will keep a file containing details of individuals involved in the complaint, summaries of findings at each stage, explanations for dismissing complaints based on legal reasons, and other relevant information. Updates on the complaint’s status will be provided to all parties involved until it is resolved. The ethics committee, executive director, or their representative may request further investigation into the complaint if needed.

Once the investigation is complete, the investigator should submit their findings to either the ethics committee, executive director, or a designated person appointed by the executive director. The written report should contain all factual information collected during the investigation. In case the ethics committee determines that there is insufficient evidence to substantiate a violation or necessitate any action concerning the complaint, they have the authority to dismiss it without discovering any wrongdoing.

Upon receiving a complaint, the Department staff will notify both the complainant and the licensee or individual involved in writing about their dismissal. If there is sufficient evidence of violations, the ethics committee will evaluate relevant factors mentioned in 5801.301 (Relevant Factors) and severity levels and sanctions outlined in 5801.02 (Severity Level and Sanction Guide). Based on these considerations, the committee will determine any recommended action against the respondent. The board will be informed by the committee regarding proposed disciplinary measures for licensees. In cases where the respondent is not a licensee or an individual with an expired non-renewable license who has violated Texas Occupations Code, Chapter 502, the board can issue a cease and desist order and refer the case to the Office of Attorney General for appropriate action.

Compare and contrast the codes of ethics from multiple professional organizations such as PAP (American Psychological Association), AC, MFC (Marriage and Family Therapy), SACS (American School Counseling Association) and SAGS (Association for Specialist in Group work). Examine areas of similarity as well as highlight any areas of disagreement among these codes. Additionally, provide your personal perspective on these disagreements. Allocate at least 4 pages for this paper. Numerous professional organizations in the fields of counseling, social work, psychiatry, psychology, marriage and family therapy, and human services have established comprehensive codes of ethics to serve as comprehensive guidelines for mental health practitioners.

The national professional organizations have both similarities and differences in their codes. Additionally, national certification boards, other professional associations, specialty areas within counseling, and state regulatory boards have their own ethics or professional practice documents. Specialty guidelines exist for areas not adequately covered by general ethics codes.

The American Psychological Association (APA) provides specialty guidelines for providers of psychological services to diverse populations and for psychotherapy with lesbian, gay, and bisexual clients. They also have guidelines on multicultural education, training, research, practice, and organizational change for psychologists.

The National Association of Social Workers has developed practice guidelines for end-of-life care, including client self-determination in end-of-life decisions and NASA standards for social work practice in palliative and end-of-life care.

Professional organizations publish materials that can help professionals understand the ethical issues they will encounter in their careers. Each mental health organization has its own code of ethics, so it is important to obtain and familiarize yourself with the ethics code of your chosen profession. Ignorance of the ethics code is not an excuse for engaging in unethical behavior.Most professional organizations provide ethics codes that are not specific but rather offer general guidance. These codes do not provide exact answers to ethical dilemmas but instead offer broad, general advice.

Although there are some differences among the ethics codes of different professional organizations, the textbook highlights several common themes. These include promoting consumer welfare, practicing within one’s competence, avoiding harm, safeguarding client confidentiality and privacy, acting ethically and responsibly, avoiding exploitation, and upholding the integrity of the profession by striving for ideal practice. It is up to your own ethical awareness and problem-solving skills to determine how you apply these various ethics codes in professional behavior.

According to the textbook, codes of ethics are not like cookbooks for responsible professional conduct. They do not provide step-by-step instructions for making ethical decisions. In fact, ethics codes only provide clear guidance for a limited number of issues. For instance, Papa’s (2002) ethics code explicitly states that it does not offer all the answers or address every dilemma that practitioners may face.

In summary, ethics codes are important but not enough to ensure ethical responsibility. The textbook emphasizes the need to be aware of the limitations of such codes. As you strive to be ethically responsible, you may encounter certain limitations and problems. Certain issues cannot be effectively addressed by relying solely on ethics codes. The lack of clarity and precision in some codes can make it difficult to assess ethical dilemmas. Merely learning the ethics codes and practice guidelines does not guarantee ethical practice. Additionally, conflicts may arise within ethics codes and between different organizations’ codes.

Practitioners who are members of multiple professional associations, hold state licenses, and possess national certifications may have to adhere to multiple codes of ethics. However, these codes may not be consistent with each other. Rather than being proactive, ethics codes tend to be reactive. It is possible for a practitioner’s personal values to conflict with a particular standard within an ethics code. Additionally, codes may also conflict with institutional policies and practices. In order to be effective, ethics codes must be understood within a cultural context and adapted accordingly. Furthermore, codes may not align with state laws or regulations related to licensing requirements. Not all members of a professional organization will agree with every aspect of the organization’s ethics code due to the diverse viewpoints within the organization. According to the textbook, codes of ethics serve three main objectives.

The main purpose is to educate professionals about ethical behavior and help them understand and define their values in facing work challenges. Additionally, these standards also establish a system for professional responsibility. Practitioners have a duty not only to self-monitor their own behavior but also to promote ethical conduct among their peers. Adhering to ethical codes is essential for protecting both clients/students and practitioners from legal action. Ultimately, codes of ethics stimulate practice improvement.

When practitioners are tasked with interpreting and applying codes in their own practices, the questions they raise help clarify their positions on dilemmas that lack simple or absolute answers. The chaos that would ensue if people were to practice without guidelines highlights the importance of having a collective resolution for ethical dilemmas rather than leaving the responsibility solely with individual clinicians.

For Assignment 4, each student will select a past active licensee discipline case and write a paper (minimum of 3 pages) discussing where the disciplinary situation went wrong and suggesting alternative courses of action. To ensure that the case is not already known, we will be using Florida cases. I will summarize the information in the PDF line by line, incorporating some legal substitutions. It’s amusing that I chose a case with numerous complaints.

This guy ended up facing three counts of misconduct. His actions were highly problematic. Initially, his mistake was even considering a possible relationship with the client. This issue is further elaborated in several pages of the administrative complaint. The therapist’s first error was meeting the client at her home and conducting counseling sessions there. Additionally, he made things worse by socializing with her. The therapist also showed negligence in managing finances and continuing to charge for social activities. It almost seems like he was acting as a gigolo. Although he eventually stopped charging after a few weeks, the sexual relationship persisted.

Complaints also arose regarding the accuracy of the psychotherapy service scores. The records lacked the necessary level of detail for therapists, such as symptoms, therapy developments, service dates, service types, progress notes, outcomes, and financial records.

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Success in Being an Ethical Counselor and the Ingredients of Successful Therapy. (2018, May 19). Retrieved from

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