Ethics and Law

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The relationship between ethics and the law in the field of counseling:
Ethics and law in the field of counseling often times intertwine. As I noted in my discussion earlier this week, there are times when ethics and law overlap and seemingly collide, which then poses threat of a quandary for counselors. The law indicates the minimum standard that society will allow, whereas ethics represents the most ideal standard to uphold. According to Corey and Herlihy (2006), standard of care signifies a balancing of the two, take malpractice or negligence for instance, each fails to meet what is considered “customary care” a consumer should receive. We have the duty to keep the information of an individual confidential. We also have the duty to warn. I pose the question for illustration purposes; what if a client with a communicable disease was embarrassed or fearful of their own safety once revealed? Or perhaps client may be reluctant to tell their spouse or partner about infection or disease; or the client was an adolescent that didn’t want their parents to know; they may be an I.V. drug user who shares needles with others; or perhaps a sex-industry worker that was afraid of repercussions? Instances such as these provoke interplay amongst ethic and law. As Herlihy and Remley suggested, best practice defines our “absolute do’s and don’ts of ethical behavior” and provides that all counselors be competent. It then is the responsibility of the counselor to choose the best, ethical course of action to meet the need of the consumer, all the while adhering to the legal standards established by state and federal establishments (Corey & Herlihy, 2006). There are some legal statutes that determine how a counselor will proceed ethically. One situation would include laws set in place for abuse and neglect for instance. The professional counselors must report any suspicion, allegations, or evidence of abuse, neglect, or exploitation to legal and state authorities. Any person...
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