The importance of knowing the contents of professional codes of conduct and the purposes and limitations of such codes is essential to the understanding of ethical and legal issues in counseling. school counselors should have at least a basic understanding of their ethical responsibilities , necessarily provide answers to the many specific dilemmas that practitioners will face. When the standards do not provide enough direction counselors are encouraged to consult with colleagues, professional experts, and perhaps their administrative supervisors before taking action. Almost all professionals, at some point in their career, suspect or become aware of a colleague's unethical behavior. School counselors are obligated to address any conduct by a colleague that could cause harm to clients. Counselors should: (a) try to resolve the issue by confronting the colleague directly, if possible; (b) report the behavior to a superior, professional association, or credentialing authority if a direct confrontation is not possible or is not effective; and (c) take steps to protect any vulnerable clients
PRIVACY, CONFIDENTIALITY, AND PRIVILEGED COMMUNICATION
Confidentiality and privileged communication are two related issues Information clients relate to counselors should be kept confidential with the following general exceptions: (a) the client is a danger to self or others; (b) the client or parent requests that information be related to a third party; or, (c) a court orders a counselor to disclose information. Although all school counselors have a confidentiality responsibility, very few relationships with students are considered privileged. Privileged communication is granted only by statute and guarantees clients that a court cannot compel a counselor to disclose information related in confidence. Such statutory privileges belong to clients rather than to counselors
Legal standards of practice are different from ethical standards. Generally, legal standards are related to accepted professional practices in the community while ethical standards tend to be idealistic. Many schools have policies that differentiate between the rights of custodial and no custodial parents, and school counselors are often required to implement such policies. The law is clear that, barring a specific court order to the contrary, no custodial parents have all rights regarding their children except the right to have custody of the children permanently in their homes.
School counselors often play a major role in administering the school's testing program. School counselors should provide expert advice to school policymakers regarding the appropriate use of tests. Counselors should assist in evaluating each test to determine whether it: (1) discriminates in any way against any segment of the school population(2) is valid and reliable(3) is appropriate for the purposes for which it is being used and (4) is necessary to achieve the school's objectives. Moreover, the counselor is responsible for interpreting test results for students in a clear and understandable manner.
ETHICAL ISSUES IN GROUP COUNSELING
Group counseling presents ethical issues not found in individual interventions with clients. The advantages of a comprehensive group counseling program are numerous,however, school counselors who direct such programs need to be familiar with potential ethical problems.
Computers. School counseling offices are increasingly utilizing computers and computer products. School counselors have made attempts to understand and utilize this modern technology, but many counselors are still unaware of the ethical issues involved in the use of computers. Professional associations develop ethical standards regarding computer use, The importance of direct...