Counselor's Ethics and Responsibilities

Topics: Informed consent, Decision making, Decision theory Pages: 12 (2109 words) Published: June 24, 2013
Counselor's Ethics and Responsibilities
Grand Canyon University
PCN 505: Professional Counseling Orientation and Ethics

May 14, 2013

Counselor's Ethics and Responsibilities
“Counselors are aware of their own values, attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors and avoid

imposing values that are inconsistent with counseling goals” (APA Code A.4.b). It is

important for counselors to avoid causing harm to their clients and to minimize unavoidable or

unanticipated harm” (APA Code A.4.a). There are two situations that are highly emotional and

would be difficult to handle if not handled professionally.

The first is an abortion case where a nineteen year old had been raped, resulting in a

unwanted pregnancy. The rape and pregnancy is traumatic enough, but abortion is another type

of trauma that the young woman will undergo if she decides this option. The client has no

support system to turn to as her parents do not agree with her decision and have threatened to

disown her as their daughter if she decides to abort the child. The disagreement with her family

has added another level of stress as to what she is already undergoing. Counselor can provide

information as well as alternative options other than the client could go over. Counselor can use

talk therapy with the client to get in touch with the client’s feelings and decision making process

in regards to her decision about the pregnancy. If qualified the counselor could discuss the rape

and screen the individual for depression to ascertain if there are any suicidal idealisms due to the

clients deteriorating mental state. Counselor would encourage the client to attempt to discuss her

feelings with family members. If the client is unable open a dialogue with her family than the

client can request a group setting and the client can provide a written consent form providing the

counselor with permission to openly discuss the situation with family members in a group setting

(ACA Code B.4.a). The client is in a very fragile state and “reasonable precautions will be

taken to protect clients from physical, emotional, or psychological trauma” (APA Code A.8.b)

by the counselor during the meeting with the client’s family.

The second is an assisted suicide where the client has terminal cancer, which will

involve suffering to her and her family in the long term. She wants a peaceful end to her illness

and is unsure how to approach her family in regards to what she wants to occur. Assisted suicide

is not unlike pain control, except that it uses stronger drugs and the patients' death is accelerated

as a side effect of the medications used. Individuals, who are terminally ill, have an incurable

condition, or are in intolerable pain have the right to choose the time and means of their own

deaths (Steinhauser, Clipp, McNeilly, Christakis, McIntyre, and Tulsky, 2000). The client is

having difficulties facing her family, because she doesn’t know how they will react to her

decision. The client would be encouraged to discuss her wishes with her family. If the client is

unable to open a dialogue with her family about this topic, than the client can sign a written

consent form providing the counselor with permission to openly discuss the situation with the

client and her family in a group meeting about the right to die issue (APA Code A.9.a) while

providing “reasonable precautions to protect the client from physical, emotional, or additional

trauma” (APA Code A.8.b) during the meeting.

Client rights and responsibilities provide information to protect a client’s welfare and

avoid “harm” by providing this information prior to the client’s initial evaluation with the

counselor. The first right that the client has is for confidentiality with limited exceptions (APA

Code B.1.c). Client records will remain in the strictest confidence with the...

References: American Psychological Association, (1992). American Psychological Association Ethical
Principles of Psychologists and Code of Conduct, Retrieved May 13, 2013, from
Andew G., Benjamin H., Kent L., and Sirikantraporn S., (2009), “A Review of Duty to Protect Statutes, Cases,
and Procedures for Positive Practice”, American Psychological Association, xiv, 282 pp.
Barbee P., Combs D., Ekleberry F., Villalobos, S., (2007), “Duty to Warn and Protect: Not in
Texas,” Journal of Professional Counseling: Practice, Theory & Research; Spring2007,
(1999), “Feeling Controlled in Marriage: A Phenomenon specific to Physically
Aggressive Couples?”, Journal of Family Psychology, Vol 13(1), pp
Lien, H. (2003), “The Basics of Domestic Abuse”, Retrieved on May 14, 2013 from Office on
Child Abuse and Neglect, Child Welfare Information Gateway from website:
website: ehow-to, http://www.ehow.com/list_6817482_techniques-counseling-suicidal-adolescent.html
Steinhauser K, Clipp E, McNeilly M, Christakis N, McIntyre L, Tulsky J ( 2000)
good death: observation of patients, families and providers”, Retrieved on May 14, 2013
from the website: Annual of Internal Medicine,
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