counseling ethics

Topics: Ethics, Morality, Decision making Pages: 7 (1771 words) Published: October 16, 2014
Ethics are based on philosophical principles and these guidelines assist a practitioner in making the best possible decisions for the welfare of the clients and the practitioner himself. Ethics are normative or critical in nature and concern human conduct and moral decision. Morality describes decision making and judgement by an individual concerning an incident or human behaviour. This is greatly influenced by the values he or she has acquired or formed as a result of external influence or indoctrination. Value is an enduring belief that a specific that a specific end-state of conduct is desirable (McLeod, 1998). Terminal and instrumental values are two types of values where the former refer to the desired end-state of existence, for example wisdom and the later refer to the mode of conduct that leads to it, for example broad-mindedness .Values then influence and determine the decisions we choose to make in our daily lives.

In providing an effective, therapeutic therapy, a practitioner helping a client encountering dilemma in decision- making may adopt the eight – step model approach to think through the ethical problems (Corey, Corey & Callanan, 2007). The steps of the model are described as follows:

Step 1- Identify the problem or dilemma.
In the first step the existence of the problem must be recognised. The nature of the problem has to be ascertained. Identify if it is an ethical, legal, moral, professional or clinical problem. The practitioner’s and the client’s insights regarding the problem must be examined. Consultation with the client can begin at this stage as problems are being identified. Looking at the problem from different perspectives is useful as most ethical dilemmas are complex.

Step 2 – Identify the potential issues involved.
From the collected information, irrelevant ones must be discarded. The critical issues must be noted and described. The welfare of those involved; their rights and responsibilities must be evaluated. Ethical principles relevant to the problem must be identified and examined with the client. In doing so the moral principles namely, autonomy, non-maleficence, beneficence, justice and fidelity must be considered and applied to the situation. The safety and welfare of the client and practitioner cannot be compromised while potential issues are being sorted out.

Step 3- Review the relevant ethics codes.
The practitioner must seek guidance that can be found from the professional codes of ethics. They provide a basis for accountability, and through their enforcement, provide protection for clients from unethical practices (Corey, 1997). Practitioner must also examine the agreeability of his values with the relevant codes. Should they be in conflict, he must have a rationale to support his stance. It is essential to consider congruency of these values and ethics with those of the client’s. The practitioner must ensure clarity of the ethical codes and if they are applicable with the state laws of the region.

Step 4- Know the applicable laws and regulations.
The practitioner should be up to date with the specific and relevant laws that apply to the ethical issue. This is particularly critical in situations which deal with keeping or breaching of confidentiality, reporting of child or elder abuse, record keeping, assessment, diagnosis, issues pertaining to dangers to self or others and the grounds of malpractice.

Step 5- Obtain consultation.

Consulting with colleagues to obtain different perspectives on the problems is generally considered to be helpful. Seeking legal counsel for legal questions is prudent along with consulting a person with an expertise in an unfamiliar culture to serve a client from that culture. In addition the practitioner must understand current rules and regulations of the agency or organization that he or she is working for. It is wise for the nature of the consultation and suggestions provided to be documented. These records...
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