Professional competence is shown in many counselors throughout the world. One way that competence is displayed by counselors is their ability to utilize clinical supervision and consultation. Even long standing professionals in the field of counseling continually seek supervision. When confronted with difficult ethical decision making and unique situations in its best to gain an outside objective viewpoints. In reference to the case study, there are plenty of ethical dilemmas and unethical decisions made by Joe and his supervisor. It is clear their personal values differ from those who choose to follow ethical codes in counseling.
The APA and ACA’s ethical standards and codes have certain relations in comparison to the violations which Joe and his supervisor have perpetrated. To avoid breaches of ethical codes, there are ACA ethics committee members to inform appropriate relationship standards with all individuals involved in the counseling process. Clinical supervision is important to utilize for each counselor’s self-awareness. The case study implies that Joe ended counseling sessions with Jill because they had mutual feelings of attraction towards each other.
He made an ethical decision in doing so by recognizing the counseling relationship would be ineffective. Joe and Jill began a sexual relationship which ended abruptly after a month, with no physical or verbal contact afterwards. Joe had a guilty conscious of their unethical relationship. The imperative action he failed to do was follow through with the proper referral process by choosing to obtain clinical supervision from his supervisor for Jill’s well-being. However, Joe and his supervisor recently started a sexually relationship. He did not seek referral assistance for Jill to avoid hurt feelings from his supervisor.
Inquiring the behaviors of both counselor and supervisor, there were evident breaches of ethics. The counselor and supervisor should have the knowledge that any non-professional relationship between the two is unethical and a breach of ethics. In other words, they should have known better. Teaching and modeling ethical and professional behavior is an important responsibility of a supervisor (Argosy, 2013). All psychologist, counselors and members of the ACES (The Association for Counselor Education and Supervision) must abide by the ACA and APA Code of Ethics.
The ACES has developed ethical codes for counseling supervisors and is in accordance with the purpose of the ACA as well as a founding division of the ACA. According to ACES, the best practice guidelines are intended to support supervisors in their work. The ACES’s guidelines are offered to augment the judgment of supervisors as they make it their requirement to offer ethical and legal protection of rights of supervisors, supervisees and clients, and meet professional needs of supervisees while protecting client welfare (ACES, Best Practices in Supervision, 2010).
With regards to ACES practice guidelines there are other exceptional tools or standards available to ensure supervisors know crucial standards for their practice. The American Counseling Association created a “Journal of Counseling Development”: Standards of Counseling Supervisors (ACA/ACES, 1990, JCD v69 n 1, Pg. 30, Vol. 69). ” The standards implemented is this journal are important to counseling supervisors toS develop core areas of knowledge, competencies, and personal traits that characterize effective counselors. What happened between the counselor and the supervisor was extremely unacceptable. My values clash with their values.
I am sure when I am counseling clients for mental health I will be attracted to a few men here and there. I may even be attracted to my supervisor or a colleague of mine. Physical or emotional attraction is a normal function as a human being, and is not a dangerous or awful thing. Making verbal or physical actions to distinctive attractions will not be the case for me. I would not want to jeopardize my career involving an unethical mistake concerning my attraction to one of my clients. I value the direction in which I am being educated, and I will value even more when I am certified and access a seemingly well respective job.
Ethical standards and codes are needed to be taken very seriously. The APA and ACA have very similar codes of ethics and ethical standards. As I have stated before, Joe and his supervisor breached certain codes of ethics specifically pertaining to having a sexual relationship. According to the APA ethical standards it states, “Psychologists do not engage in sexual relationships with students or supervisees who are in their department, agency, or training center or over whom psychologists have or are likely to have evaluative authority (APA, 2010).
One of the ACA Codes of Ethics involving relationships has boundaries regarding supervisory relationships. Logically, between current supervisees and their supervisor sexual and romantic interactions or relationships are prohibited (ACA, 2005). Within the APA and ACA ethical standards, they seem to have overall similar conclusion regarding sexual relationships between counselors and supervisors. One difference I recognized is that the APA states ethical ways of going about multiple relationships with clients, although it is best to refrain in case of impairment to the psychologist’s competency (APA, 2010).
Also, The ACA has ethical standards involving potential ethical beneficial relationships with supervisees in a non–professional setting, such as attending a funeral for the supervisee. This has to be discussed between the supervisor and supervisee and documentation of the rationale for the relationship is a necessity (ACA, 2005). Members of the ACA and APA ethics committee have a huge responsibility to manage enforcement of the ethical codes concerning the APA or ACA and to enhance professional development through professions.
Committee members have important obligations such as processing cases of alleged violations. However, a committee member cannot warrant the job review of any member affiliated or that is under the Code of Ethics. If I was an ACA Ethics Committee member, I would inform appropriate behavioral codes for counselors, especially new counselors to the field. I would certainly inform them of the no tolerance policies of sexual or intimate relations with co-workers or clients, as well as all ethical codes.
I would make them aware of the role and function of what I do as a part of the committee. For example, we as a committee process complaints of ethical violations or alleged violations. Most importantly I would want to educate health professionals of the membership according to the ACA codes, and what the roles and functions of ethical committees. I would like to continue to adopt many values of ethical codes, ethical decision making, standards and principals for supervision that I highly appreciate.
Courtney from Study Moose
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