Ethics can be defined as a set of moral principles or rules of conduct. The ethical framework is there to inform and reassure all members of the public both actual and potential clients who seek the help of counsellors and helpers whether or not they are members of the BACP, the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy.
Because counselling concerns itself with damaged, distressed, or otherwise vulnerable people, the “rules of conduct” or ethics of the counsellor will go some way to protect the interests of the client. In considering the ethical and professional aspects of counselling work, it is important to consider issues such as responsibility. What responsibilities does the counsellor have towards their clients, to themselves as a counsellor or to other counsellors and helping professionals? Likewise issues of competence do I as a counsellor have enough training, have enough personal and other resources? Do I monitor my competence for example through supervision and what am I doing to stay effective through further training, support or supervision?
Why we should adhere to an ethical framework is as stated to protect and reassure potential and existing clients we are trying to help. Failure to do so can lead, for example, to the person I am trying to help being exploited by me either wittingly or unwittingly. For example, I might exploit the person I am trying to help for my own personal gain, or have a vested interest in a particular outcome, my own problems get in the way and I suggest solutions I wish I had tried myself rather than ones which might genuinely benefit the person I am trying to help, or in my enthusiasm to help, I may help more than I am qualified to do so.
The common strands to ethical conduct are:
• To act within the law.
• To respect human rights.
• To respect peoples autonomy and ability to control their own destiny.
• To keep promises, contracts or agreements made to those...
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