Counselor Ethics and Responsibilities
Counselor Ethics and Responsibilities
As a counselor we’re taught to put our own values and beliefs aside and provide services to our clients even if our values and beliefs do not coincide. When topics such as abortion and assisted suicide are brought up, I express my personal values about them. Abortion is a very sensitive topic for some individuals. My personal values towards abortion are I am for it and I’m speaking from my own personal experience. As a woman, it’s hard to decide to get an abortion but there are a lot of reasons as to why a woman may get the procedure done.
For instance, a 19-year-old rape victim came to me for help because she wants to get an abortion and wants my help changing her parents’ attitude towards her wanting the procedure done. The ethical issue that I would have to consider while trying to consider on how I am going to counsel this client is trying to persuade her parents’ to have the same values and beliefs as her in order for her to have her parent’s blessing to get the abortion.
This would be an issue because I have to be aware of her parents’ beliefs and trying to change their beliefs on behalf of my client would be wrong. My personal values towards assisted suicide are different than abortion. It is my belief that an illness should not make you want to take your life. If Eleanor came to me stating that she wants to end her life because of her health condition, I am responsible as a counselor to do my best and make sure she does not cause harm to herself. Even though I am against suicide, it’s my duty to counsel my client in need.
The ACA (2005) states that counselors must take measures that enable clients to be given every opportunity possible to engage in informed decision making regarding their end of life care. Moreover, I would consult my supervisor as to how should I go about counseling Eleanor and I would also look into finding the appropriate professional to refer her too that specializes in end-of-life practice. Client Rights The four most important client rights that I believe a counselor has an obligation to protect are confidentiality, informed consent, privacy and cultural sensitivity.
The first important client right is confidentiality. It is important that we ensure our clients’ confidentiality because it is our duty to make sure we do not provide any confidential information to another individual without consent from our client or if we have to there is a legal or ethical justification. Informed consent is the second most important client right because it allows clients the right to be informed about their therapy and to make decisions about it. Moreover, it is important to respect your client’s privacy.
According to ACA (2005), a counselor should only solicit private information from the client only when the information will be potentially beneficial to the counseling process. Additionally, it is important to be culturally competent because “everyone is deeply embedded in one or more cultures and subcultures that shape the thinking, feeling, and acting of an individual and if counselors cannot see the ways that culture has shaped them, they are unlikely to be able to see the important and deep-seated ways that culture has shaped their clients (Values, n. . ). ” As a counselor, I will incorporate these rights into my professional practice by following the Code of Ethics, consulting a colleague or supervisor and continuing my education to ensure that I am culturally competent. Responsibility to Warn and Protect One factor that will make me consider my “duty to warn” responsibility as a counselor is if my client has a contagious, life-threatening disease.
When clients disclose that they have a disease commonly known to be both communicable and life threatening, counselors may be justified in disclosing information to identifiable third parties, if they are known to be at demonstrable and high risk of contracting the disease. Prior to making a disclosure, counselors confirm that there is such a diagnosis and assess the intent of clients to inform the third parties about their disease or to engage in any behaviors that may be harmful to an identifiable third party (ACA, 2005). Once I confirm that my client does have the communicable and life threatening disease, I would inform the individual that would have the possibility of contracting this disease. Another factor that will make me consider my “duty to protect” responsibility as a counselor is if my client disclosed to me during a session that they have plans to do harm to another individual.
The ethical issues that I would consider while making my decision to ensure the well being of the individual would be if I should notify them of the potential harm or just notify the police. As a counselor, I still have to protect my clients’ confidentiality and my decision to disclose the possibility of harm to the individual would be based on the extent of the threat. Poland and McCormick (1999) stated that “notifying police is not sufficient action to protect the counselor from a lawsuit if the client’s threat is carried out. ”
Client Record-Keeping Client record-keeping is related to competent, ethical practice because as a counselor you have to document the clinical assessment and treatment process to ensure that the plan that was set for them is consistent with their diagnosis and assessment information. It is the responsibility of the counselor to make sure they document each time they have contact with their client in detail in order for their supervisor to review and ensure that the clients’ sessions are showing past progress and future outcomes.
The components of a clinical record that I believe are most important for protecting the client’s right to a professional standard of care is informed consent to treatment forms, fee agreements, signed client rights statements, treatment plans, and treatment team staffing notes, often signed by clients or parents as well as by professionals. Authorizations to release information provide clients’ written consent to disclose protected information within very specific parameters (Poland & McCormick, 1999).
Additionally, the components of a clinical record that are important for protecting the counselor from liability are a thorough assessment, a congruent treatment plan, detailed progress notes consistent with the plan, supervisory notes, billing notes consistent with the services documented, and the client rights documents (Poland & McCormick, 1999). As long as the counselor keeps detailed documentation of each meeting with each client, they will be able to defend themselves against allegations of misconduct. Topic of Choice One ethical issue that I find that will be controversial is confidentiality.
This issue is significant for me because if I had a client disclose to me during a session that they had a communicable life threatening disease and they were practicing unsafe behaviors in order to pass the disease along to as many people as possible, I would find it hard to protect their confidentiality. Once I’ve received enough information from my client, I would consult with my supervisor as to what should be my next step. After I consult with my supervisor, I would take the proper steps to confirm that my client does have a communicable life threatening disease and if they do I would inform all possible parties.
University/College: University of Arkansas System
Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter
Date: 28 October 2016
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