An organization's code of ethics forms a system to guide the counsellor through appropriate approaches and it protects the human dignity of the client. It is acknowledged that the Singapore Association for Counselling Code of Ethics (SAC) has many similarities and differences compared to the American Counselling Association Code of Ethics (ACA). This paper will compare the two code of ethics using the systemic perspective model which comprises of eight specific areas, mindset, emotional, physical/biological, philosophy, culture, political/economic, social and environment.
Systemic perspective model is based on a framework whereby different components of a perspective can be understood in parallel with each other rather than in isolation. Specifically, this paper will illustrate these comparisons between the perspectives based on same sex issues.
Systemic Perspective Model
When dealing with clients who face a crisis in sexual identity, the counsellor must maintain an open mindset and not form prejudices that might hinder the counsellor-client relationship. Mindset is a fixed disposition that predetermines an individual’s response to a situation. As a counsellor, one must be receptive to all views regardless of societal influences, especially on a contentious issue such as homosexuality. It is evident that both SAC and ACA code of ethics recognized diversity as their key point, hence, the counsellor are likely to prioritise the clients' views and emotional needs and not form pre-conceived notions of alternative lifestyles. Counsellors must realise the importance and thus maintain ethical professionalism, personal, and social relationships with their client (See F.3.a. Relationship Boundaries With Supervisees Counseling supervisors). On a similar note, SAC repeatedly emphasized on the competence and professionalism of every counsellor, that one should always respect the rights of the his clients and not discriminate anyone based on age, gender, race, sexual orientation or other differences. Therefore, it can be concluded that both associations are largely in consensus with regards to a counsellor's dealings with clients facing this crisis despite the ostensible disparity in mindsets of a typical Asian and Western society. In my perspective, I fervently believe that a counsellor should always set aside his prejudices and maintain a definite ethical standard, prioritise his clients welfare and only then can a counsellor address his clients' emotional needs, which I will touch on in the next section.
People with alternative sexual orientations often face periods of emotional crisis as they come to grips with their sexual identity. It is necessary and ethical for counsellors to facilitate the emotional needs of their clients. They must be sensitive to their conflicted feelings and pay attention to their emotional state, which may be fragile at such junctures. This will help to build a sense of trust between client and counsellor, and enable the latter to be more aware of the special needs of each individual in such circumstances. In this aspect, the ACA focuses more on the imperative role a counsellor provides when it comes to the catering of emotional needs of his clients. A counsellor must never disregard his clients psychological or mental distress and should never mix up his own emotional problems with his clients as this impairment is likely to harm a client or others (See ACA C.2.g. Impairment) Evidently, the main difference between the SAC and ACA is that ACA is more of the counsellor being self aware of his own personal values to avoid imposing values that are inconsistent with counselling values. The SAC counsellors should not be too emotionally involved with the client and cross the line of not having a professional relationship with the client, as this will affect the counsellors' professionalism and attitude...
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