a) Ethics are a list of conduct or principles drawn with the purpose of providing a guideline to what defines professional practice (Corey, 2009) while values are the basis of one’s thoughts or ideals in which decisions are generated (Manthei, 1997). Certain institutions derive their own core values to help provide a guide to “proper” behaviors. In simple terms, ethics are like “rules” within a society, culture or institution while values are like “policeman” in our mind, helping us determine between desirable and non-desirable behaviors while keeping in mind these “rules” that governs them (Dolgoff, Loewenberg & Harrington, 2008).
The professional code of ethics is a guide designed to determine what constitutes professionalism in which governs the institution in the best interest of the values of the profession (Corey, 2009). It not only serves as a clarification to existing and future members of the institution or association governing it, but also helps supports the mission and vision of the institution or association. Its objective is to provide guidelines to practitioners, clarify the professional stand of institutions and organizations governing these practitioners, and at the same time protecting the rights of clients (consumers) (Corey, Corey & Callanan, 2003). The Professional Code of Ethics also helps to bound practitioners ethically so that they do not try to impose their own values onto others and behave as moral authorities.
While the Professional Code of Ethics may be written as clear as possible and as comprehensive as possible, in reality there are person’s feelings, values, as well as emotions involved, which are absent during the compilation (Betan, 1997). The ACA Code of Ethics (2005) states “Counselors terminate a counseling relationship when it becomes reasonably apparent that the client no longer needs assistance, is not likely to benefit, or is being harmed by continued counseling.” The practitioner would be caught in a conflict when his agency deems the client fit to be discharged but he feels otherwise (Betan, 1997).
Ethical guides may not be easily integrated into one of vast cultural diversity like that of Singapore as most of the Professional Code of Ethics were formulated within that of a Western context. As such, cultural, socioeconomic as well as linguistic differences may have been neglected in the process (Betan, 1997); while the code may hold autonomy of client at high regards, the cultural stand of the client may not be so. Confidentiality itself also poses a great arguing standpoint especially in a multicultural context whereby there are traditions as well as cultural rules to adhere to (Welfel, 2012).
Another important point to not neglect while considering the limitations of the Professional Code of Ethics is its congruency towards the local state laws (Betan, 1997). For instance, one state regulation for consumption of alcohol may differ that from another. In putting ethics into consideration, practitioners should also be aware of their own local state laws.
b) Two values that I value as important in life are honesty and being just, ie to try my best to make sure I give or receive equal treatments. Being a straightforward person, I believe in being honest at all times and to take responsibility for your own actions. I believe in giving others a benefit of doubt, unless I have concrete evidence that he/she is telling a lie. I uphold the value of equality; to treat others the way you would like to be treated. Thus, I try my very best not to be bias and constantly remind myself to stay in a neutral stand when others are involved.
Because I believe strongly in always giving others the benefit of doubt, I would not doubt on the credibility of my clients’ words even though they might sound absurd. By doing so, it gains trust from clients and help in rapport building with clients. On the flip side, if the client is not a willing client, he might manipulate the...
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