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Ethical Standards of Mental Health Essay

The contents of all therapy sessions, whether verbal information or written records, should be considered confidential. Therefore, this information should not be passed on to a third party without the written consent of a client nor is legal guardian. However some exceptions are made for certain situations. The state law provides that mental health professions should report the following situations to the necessary person or agencies. Duty to warn the protect A client may disclose his intentions to harm another person to a mental health profession.

In this case the mental health professional must warn the supposed victim and report the plan to the authorities. If a client discloses his intentions to commit suicide, mental health professions should inform the authorities and the family members of the client. (2. b. ). Abuse of children and vulnerable adults Health care professions are required to notify the legal authorities and the social service agencies, if a client discloses that he has been abusing a child or vulnerable adult or intents to abuse them. Prenatal exposure to controlled substances.

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Health care services should report cases of admitted prenatal exposure to abusive and controlled substances that are potentially harmful. In the events of clients death When the client is declared dead, their spouses or parents have the right to access their records. Minors\guardianship The guardians or parents of a non emancipated minor client have the right to access the client’s records. Profession misconduct Health care professionals are required to report, cases of profession misconduct by the other health care professionals.

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During meetings of professional disciplinary, records of the profession actions should be released so as to substantiate disciplinary concerns. Insurance providers Sometimes insurance companies may require information concerning the client’s services especially, treatments plans, types of services offered and the case notes. (2. b. ). Ethics and Laws Related to Mental Health Record keeping Mental health professionals are required to keep records in a secure place and to protect the client’s confidentiality.

Failure of the health care professionals could resent to malpractices claims because it breaches the standard of the care that is expected of a mental health professionals laws and ethics that governing record keeping may include; when a patient is admitted in the hospital, there complete medical record should be made available at all times. These documents should reflect the patient’s continuum of case. Medical records should include entries that are made by individual health care professions. These entries must be made immediately after the event as taken place to avoid disputes.

The entries made by the health care profession must be legible and consist of the authors and signature and the patient details. Every record made must state the doctor who was responsible for making decisions of the time of the care event. Health care professionals create; control, store and dispose of records concerning their professional work so as to facilitate the provision of services meet institutional requirements and ensure accuracy of billing and payments. Social workers must take reasonable moves to ensure that the entries in medical records are accurate and reflect on the kind of services provided. 2. c. ).

The confidentiality of children Children are deemed to consent to their own treatment if they arte capable. The law states that a capable child is one who understands the need for medical treatment, what the treatment entails the benefits and risks of the treatment. Doctors can treat children without the permission of parents or guardians. If they explain all the details and decide that the child understands them. There is no particular age at which a child is deemed capable. Doctors should use their judgments to make the decision.

The medical treatment for children can be kept confidential from their parents if t concerns birth control, sexually transmitted diseases and mental health problems. (2. d. ). Multicultural competence Multicultural competence has been expressed as the appreciation of different cultures in regard to education and psychology multicultural competence is the awareness, knowledge, and skills that enable people to interact respectfully with people from different backgrounds and values. Multicultural competence ensures that people have the ability to work effectively and ethically with people from different cultures.

Multicultural knowledge is evident when an individual has a clear understanding of other cultures that are different from their own. Individuals who are multiculturally competent should have an informed understanding of the history, practices, traditions and values of other cultures. Multicultural awareness requires that one be fully aware of how the attitudes, values and beliefs of people interact with others who are culturally different from them. Culturally competent individuals should be able to interact successfully and effectively with people who have different beliefs, values and traditions to them.

Multicultural skills refer to skills that are used by individual to interact successfully and effectively with people who have a different cultural background from their own. Multicultural competences arise from an individual motivation to develop skills and believe in certain manner, mainly derived from our personal characteristics and from institutions and organizational backgrounds in which we develop. Multicultural competence is therefore seen as a contribution of both organizations and individual’s efforts.

How to promote ethical treatment of diverse populations Today our society has evolved into a culturally diverse society and thus multicultural education and training is very crucial. Our training systems should address the problems of the world as a whole to allow students have a better understanding of actions taken by a certain state should be viewed in terms of how they implicate on other states as well. The monocultural nature of training should be abolished from the training of professional counselors.

They should be educated on both multicultural and cross-cultural issues. This way, they will be able to recognize that race, ethnicity and culture are functions of each individual. Usually, the traditional counseling techniques used were only applied to the minority groups. Counseling professionals should be trained to recognize that the client and the therapist are highly linked to historical and current experiences of oppression and racism. As a result, the counselor, client and the counseling process are more likely to be influenced by racial relations in the larger society.

Counseling professionals should therefore be trained to offer equal opportunities to services and equal judgments. Ethical provisions require that professionals who have no adequate training in working with clients from different cultural backgrounds should not be allowed to work with clients. This is because they are unethical and could be potentially harmful to clients due to irrational thinking and judgments. Quite openly, the white culture is seen as a dominant culture and thus counselors who are biased by this are likely to cause negative effects on the clients.

Therefore counseling professionals must become culturally aware, so as to have a better understanding of their own conditions, those of their clients and their socio-political system in which they both belong. Counseling professionals should understand the world view of each culturally different client. Counselors should be skilled in the sense that they must familiarize themselves wit h he relevant research and latest findings regarding mental disorders of different ethnic and racial groups. They should become more involved with minority groups outside the counseling settings as to broaden their perspectives of the minorities.

Clinician’s duty to warn Medical health professionals have a legal and ethical duty of keeping confidential their communications with their patients. A clinicians duty to warn and protect states that if a client discloses his intentions to harm another person to a medical health professional, the professional has the right tot inform the supposed victim and report the plan to the necessary authorities. Confidentiality is a primary right of the client accorded to him during his therapy sessions. (2. c. ). However in some circumstance, confidentiality may be broken for ethical and legal reasons.

Various court decisions have been enacted to grant the therapist permission to warn and protect individuals who may be affected by a client’s dangerous actions. If a mental health professional fail to predict that a client is dangerous and fails to warn the supposed victim, he thus exposes himself open to lawsuits. (Harman, 2006). A medical health professional has the responsibility of warning, protecting and predicting, when a client communicate serious threats of harming a reasonably identifiable Medical health professionals working with dangerous clients are often faced with legal, ethical and moral dilemmas.

They must carefully access the risks involved to the potential victim, the client and themselves for breaching the confidentiality. Health professionals should inform the clients of the limits of confidentiality, record the steps taken in order to protect those under potential danger and keep record of notes of the client’s threats. Confidentiality can be breached in cases where a client poses danger to others, when a client discloses plans to cause harm to someone or to prevent a dangerous client from causing harm to others.

When a patient who is HIV positive discloses to his therapist plans of having unprotected sex with an identifiable other who is not HIV positive, without their consent, the medical professional has the right to inform the potential victim and the necessary social service agencies. In this case, the confidentiality of the patent’s communication with the therapist is breached so as to protect the potential victim. The court provides that if a health professional identifies a clients plan to intentionally harm other people, they should warn the potential victim and report to the necessary authorities or risk facing lawsuits. (2. . ).

However, this conflict with ethical requirement that, every patient has the right to strict confidentiality and that there should be no sharing of information outside of the therapist-client relationship so as to have effective therapy. (Simon, 2001). A number of complicated and legal issues arise when a HIV positive person intentionally refuses to tell their partner about the possibility of infecting them. The character of the therapist mainly determines the therapist’s ability to disclose the information to the potential victim. HIV is an incurable disease that causes danger and probable discrimination the victim.

When there is existence of a real danger to a potential victim, confidentiality is not considered as an absolute value. Before disclosing this kind of information to a third party the therapist should consult with the client and inform him of the limits of confidentiality. He must be made aware of the fact that there are certain limits to the rule of confidentiality. The client must be informed that in such a case, where a client discloses the intentions of harming a third party, thee medical health professional has the obligation of informing potential victim and the necessary authorities.

In most states, the confidentiality of patient’s information is protected by statute except in certain circumstances which are, physicians should report information about a patient without his consent in order to protect the society. (Shaner, 2000). Dual relationships A 40 year old therapist becomes attracted to a 38 year old client and soon realizes that the feelings are mutual. They discuss the situation and mutually agree to terminate therapy and begin dating. They eventually get married.

Dual relationships exist when therapists assume two or more different roles at one particular time dual relationships may include socializing with a client or becoming emotionally or sexually involved with a client. This kind of behaviour is seen as unethical in the counseling profession. Such relationships impair the judgment and decisions made by the therapist and result in conflicts of interest and exploitation of the client. (2. e. ). Sexual misconduct is considered as the biggest ethical violation of a therapist and as a result has become a common and serious allegation in malpractice suits.

According to the laws and ethics of medical professionals, sexual intimacy with clients is prohibited. These laws provide that counselors should not have any form of sexual relationships with clients and should not counsel people with whom they have had a sexual relationship with. Medical health professionals and other social workers must not get involved in sexual intimacies with clients, whether the activity is mutual or forced. The CCA standards provide that psychologists must not engage themselves in sexual activities with current therapy clients.

According to these ethics and laws, the therapist has violated the ethics by becoming sexually involved with a current client. By getting involved with a client and becoming sexually active the therapist violated laws which stated that a psychologist must not get engaged in sexual activities with clients. Sexual relationships between a therapist and a client can have very many negative impacts especially on the client. The experience could cause negative effects on the personality of the client arising from mistrust of opposite sex relationships.

The client may become emotionally disturbed and experience feeling of depression. Due to this, the client may have difficulty in pursuing therapy. (2. e. ) By deciding to quit therapy and get married, the therapist made an ethical decision. According to the Canadian professional code of ethics, psychologists must avoid getting involved in sexual activities s with the clients. This is because it interferes with therapist’s judgment and the client’s ability to purse treatment. Therefore, quitting therapy so that they both have respect for the professional code of ethics.

Medical health professionals must aim at promoting and maintaining cordial interprofessional relationships. However, despite the fact that the feelings between the therapist and client were mutual, and the fact that they both quit therapy to get married, their actions were unethical because they breached the professionals code of ethics. Therapists are bestowed with the responsibility of setting up appropriate sexual boundaries for their clients, communicating the boundaries and aiming at attaining a professional relationship rather than a personal relationship.

The CCA provides that engaging in sexual activities before a period of two years after therapy has been terminated, is a violation of professional code of ethics. Therefore quitting therapy so as to get married was unethical on the therapist and the client’s side. Courts have therefore ruled claims of consent by client engaging in sexual relationships with therapists, due to the vulnerability of clients and also the powerful affects of the opposite sex relationships. (Videbeck, 2007).

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