On several IEPs, the special education director at my school has included that weekly counseling be provided to students. This prevents me from fully implementing a comprehensive program. What do I do?
There will be times when you are ethically and legally mandated to breach confidentiality and report certain types of situations such as suspected child abuse. Dilemmas like this demonstrate the many kinds of ethical crossroads you may face when counseling clients. Working knowledge of professional codes, principals, standards, laws and regulations regarding clinical practice provides helpful guidance for resolving ethical issues in counseling.
Data Privacy Interpretations At their initial visits, clients must receive detailed information about their ethical and legal rights to confidentiality and data privacy.
Clients should be assured that they can open up and talk in confidence with certain exceptions to confidentiality such as disclosure of suicide plans. Both the mental health counselor and the client must understand that revealing certain secrets, such as intent to inflict immediate harm to self or others, requires reporting and intervention.
However, there may also be gray areas in which counselors face ethical dilemmas about breaching confidentiality when such statements are implied or thinly veiled. Consultation with other professionals is advisable when there is doubt.
Interpersonal Boundaries Clients often feel closely connected to their counselors and may consider them friends. To show their gratitude, they may send flowers, gifts or invitations to special events such as graduations or weddings.
Romantic or sexual feelings toward the counselor may be expressed. Professional ethical codes developed by the American Psychological Association offer guidance on such matters. Mental health counselors must establish and maintain appropriate professional boundaries and define the relationships as such.
In general, small gifts of nominal value may be accepted if appropriate and not romantically suggestive. Ethical standards and sexual exploitation laws in many states strictly prohibit intimate dating relationships between a therapist and a client because of the power differential.
Unethical behavior between a colleague and client must be reported even though it may strain your working relationship.
Boundaries of Professional Competency Mental health counselors are ethically bound to counsel and conduct research only in areas within the bounds of their competency, credentials and level of education.
They must be appropriately trained to understand how factors such as race, cultural beliefs, gender identity, disability and national origin influence a client's needs and desired treatment goals.
A client may mention a previous diagnosis that a new mental health counselor has not yet encountered, such as multiple personality disorder. Mental health counselors face ethical issues in honestly assessing their level of skill and competency.
They must have integrity and an ethical core to recognize when they should make a referral because their knowledge in an area is insufficient and may cause harm. Personal Problems and Conflicts Mental health counselors are not immune from having their own personal difficulties. If a mental health counselor is experiencing emotional problems due to a pending divorce, chemical use relapse or severe depression, there is an ethical obligation to seek consultation.
If personal issues affect stability, objectivity, judgment or focus, the counselor may need to take a leave while undergoing therapy.
Similarly, mental health therapists must make ethical decisions about whether their personal knowledge or connection to a particular client may require referral to another therapist due to a role conflict. For example, a mental health therapist should not counsel a next-door neighbor.
Such dilemmas may be common when practicing in a small town where few therapists are available.Jul 01, · Mental health therapists must follow their professional code of ethics and conduct to resolve the many ethical issues that arise.
Examples include ethical issues related to confidentiality, boundaries and conflicts of interest. What is Counseling Psychology? Counseling Psychology is a term most often used within the context of graduate degree programs. Those who study counseling psychology usually do so toward a career in the mental health field.
The school counseling profession is dedicated to leadership and advocacy for students in the areas of personal/social, academic, and career development. Discuss the intent, meaning and use of the ASCA Ethical Standards for School Counselors.
Discuss court cases involving school counselors and the ethical and legal implications associated with them. Examine their own values in ethical decision-making.
Develop a tolerance for ambiguity in ethical decision-making. Keith Morgen, Geri Miller, LoriAnn S. Stretch. This article addresses the obstacles of effectively integrating addiction counseling into a nationwide definition of professional counseling .
“Marriage is a wonderful institution, but who wants to live in an institution?” Groucho Marx. Learning Objectives This is a beginning to intermediate level course.