Ethical Issues in Counselling

Topics: Psychology, Counseling psychology, Psychotherapy Pages: 15 (4624 words) Published: August 12, 2008
In no more than 3,000 words you are required to complete an essay on ethical issues in the practice of counseling, by addressing the following question: What are the two ethical issues which are likely to be the most concerning for you personally in your counseling work?

Include a discussion of:
1.why each is important in your counseling work, or likely to be so; 2.what contribution recent journal articles make to discussion of these issues; 3.having read and considered the relevant literature on these issues, discuss how you are likely to deal with each of the two issues.

Your essay should be written in the first person and should include a personal, reflective discussion, but should be scholarly and include a carefully selected references. Provide evidence of your thinking about the issues chosen.

Professional counsellors are increasingly mindful not to step on the mines of unethical practices. Sometimes, we might be too cautious to have overlooked issues that are neither unethical, nor avoidable, or even beneficial, in terms of the interests of our clients and our own professional satisfactions. Ethics are more than codes and taboos. While counsellors should protect themselves from unnecessary lawsuits, we should also find resolutions for our constant struggles towards the best service to clients, in light of the various moral and ethical principles, and the context in which we work, to promote, other than to protect client benefits.

As a voluntary, amateur counsellor, serving in a church community, characterized by its closeness to a Christian Secondary School and its proximity to a lower social class housing estate, I have always struggled with boundary setting, whether a boundary needs to be crossed, a multiple relationship needs to be entered into, or a personal value needs to be shared, for the best benefits of my clients, who range from young adults, young couples, to parents of some problematic students. This essay explores how I could set professional boundaries through client empowerment, and how, in view of my personality and Christian faith, I should approach boundary crossing, role blending, multiple relationships, and value sharing with caution. I would also use religious values as an example, to discuss the relevance and irrelevance of sharing personal values under different circumstances. Boundaries and multiple relationships – Definitions and controversy A boundary sets limits for accepted practices of the counsellor and the client. It is generally agreed that “counsellors are responsible for setting and maintaining professional boundaries within the counselling relationship (e.g. PACFA, 2001, to ensure a safe and successful therapy which meets the needs of vulnerable clients ( Rosenbloom, 2003, p.1). Although boundary crossing does not necessarily culminate multiple relationships, multiple relationships are usually the result of boundary crossing. The American Psychological Association (APA, 2002, p.6) defines a multiple relationship as existing when a psychologist is in a professional role with a person, in addition to another role with that person, or is in a relationship with a person closely associated with that person, or promises to enter into a future role with that person, or a person closely related to that person. According to Sonne (2005, p.2), multiple relationships imply ‘intended, ongoing, and substantive’ social interchanges between the professional and the client.

Most professional organizations warn counsellors against involving themselves with boundary crossing and multiple relationships, as they might impair their judgment, objectivity, and provision of effective services, resulting in possible blurred boundaries, exploitation and harm to their clients (Corey, G., Corey, M.S. & Callanan, P., 2007, p.267 ; Pope & Vasquez,1998). Boundary violations, typified by sexual relationships between counsellors and clients are always harmful and...
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