ACA Code of Ethics Paper

Topics: Licensed Professional Counselor, Mania, Ethics Pages: 8 (1960 words) Published: November 17, 2014


Ethical and Legal Challenges in Professional Practice
Stefanie Pollack
CCMH/515
January 2, 2013
Dr. Patricia Kerstner

Ethical and Legal Challenges in Professional Practice
The American Counseling Association (ACA) Code of Ethics is available to clarify the ethical responsibilities for professional counselors and future professional counselors. According to the ACA (2005), “the code serves as an ethical guide designed to assist members in constructing a professional course of action that best serves those utilizing counseling services and best promotes the values of the counseling profession.” As a graduate student striving to achieve a Master’s Degree in Counseling, it is crucial, not only to know and understand the ACA Code of Ethics, but also to understand any challenges that I may have in upholding them as well as ways to address these challenges effectively. In this paper I examine a section of the ACA Code of Ethics that I find personally challenging, risk management strategies used to resolve this potential ethical conflict, and a section of the ACA Code of Ethics that will not present a challenge. Personally Challenging Ethics Code

According to the ACA Code of Ethics (2005), section C.2.g Impairment, counselors are alert to the signs of impairment from their own physical, mental, or emotional problems and refrain from offering or providing professional services when such impairment is likely to harm a client or others. The ACA Code of Ethics (2005) section C.2.g Impairment also states that counselors seek assistance for problems that reach the level of professional impairment, and, if necessary, they limit, suspend, or terminate their professional responsibilities until such time it is determined that they may safely resume their work. Personal Relevant History

In 2005, during my senior year of undergraduate school at The University of Arizona, I was on the fast track to law school. I was on a full scholarship, earning a 4.0 grade point average, a resident assistant for the dorms, and a member of a co-ed pre-law fraternity. I had just completed my internship working for senator John McCain and had finished the scary LSAT. This is what my friends and family saw. In the background, I was struggling. During the weekends I was “hosting” parties, or rather people would just show up and throw their own parties at my residence. I was struggling to get out of bed in the morning and often came back home to take naps and miss my next few classes of the day. My grades were slipping and so was my ambition.

I took it upon myself to see a psychiatrist and was prescribed anti-depressants. This medication changed my life for the worst. I did not even notice that things were spinning out of control as I maxed out my credit cards (I would just get new cards later) and making impulsive and risky decisions. I was losing sleep as I was either out socializing or home cleaning like a madwoman, and often had bouts of irritability. My boyfriend at the time (my current husband) called my parents and asked that I come home to Phoenix and receive help.

So I had a medical withdrawal from school, returned home, and was provided with psychiatric help. I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder and informed that by taking antidepressants I was experiencing a manic episode. As stated by Griswold and Pessar (2000, p. 1347) while referring to bipolar disorder, “the use of tricyclic antidepressants should be avoided because of the possibility of inducing rapid cycling of symptoms.” So with a new diagnosis the process of trial and error with psychotropic and mood stabilizing medications and their unavoidable side effects began. Once I was on a stable medication and dosage, I felt like myself again. I got a job at a residential treatment center to work with adolescents that have mood disorders and had gotten into trouble with the law. I found my passion. It was a few...

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