Counselor Ethics and Responsibilities

Topics: Licensed Professional Counselor, Mental health professional, Human rights Pages: 6 (2296 words) Published: August 28, 2013
Counselor Ethics and Responsibilities Assignment
Mishawna Washington
Grand Canyon University: PCN 505
July 31, 2013

Counselor Values
On the issue of abortion with the 19-year old rape victim, I feel that she has a right to choose whether or not to go through with the abortion. As her counselor I have to put my personal feelings aside and help her to make the best decision for herself. My client is firm in her plans to have the abortion and since she is an adult her parents have no legal right to make her change her mind. I am unable to convince the parents to change their minds as they are not my clients and I have no input in how they feel. According to the ACA (2005) I must be sensitive to the family’s cultural beliefs and in the case of the parents I am to work with them to cultivate a collaborative relationship between them and their daughter. I am not to take sides but I need to listed to both points of view neutrally and advise my client of the dangers of abortion and the positive aspects. I am unable to change the parent’s attitudes or my client’s attitude regarding abortion. It is my responsibility to assist her in whatever decision she makes.

In the case of the client who wants an assisted suicide I would encourage her to speak to her family about her decision. The ACA (2005) guidelines say as a professional counselor I must “ strive to take measures to receive complete and adequate assessments regarding their ability to make competent, rational decisions on their own behalf from a mental health professional who is experienced in end-of-life care practices.” I would refer my client to a mental health professional who can then assist her in making the appropriate decision. Her family should also be a part of this decision and it should not be taken lightly. In an article by Mitchels & Reeves (2009) they state that after receiving counseling the victim may change his/her mind or they may make a firm decision to end their life. I will put my personal feelings about the issue aside in an effort to provide the most suitable support. As a professional I have the option of whether or not to break confidentiality about my client’s decision to end her life but I must seek consultation from my supervisor or a legal party. (ACA 2005) Client Rights

As a professional counselor it is my duty to protect my clients rights. The four most important rights a client has the obligation to protect are: the right to privacy, the right to confidentiality, the right to not be subject to discrimination, and the right to quality care. The first is the right to privacy “Counselors respect client rights to privacy. Counselors solicit private information from clients only when it is beneficial to the counseling process.” (ACA 2005) The client should not be subject to giving information to a counselor that has nothing to do with their issue and the reason they are in counseling. A counselor should stick to what’s important and not stray from that to discuss private, personal matters with the client. Secondly the client has the right to confidentiality. “Counselors do not share confidential information without client consent or without sound legal or ethical justification.” (ACA 2005) There may be times when a judge will subpoena a counselor’s records and in those instances we need to respond accordingly. A counselor has the ethical obligation to protect the confidentiality of each of their clients. We can discuss things with other professionals when seeking advice but we should maintain the anonymity of the client in these instances. According to the NAADAC (2011) whenever a counselor has to disclose confidential information about a client, the client should be informed as to who the information was released to and the reason for the release. Next the client has to right to be free from discrimination regarding religious practices, national origin, sexual orientation, gender, physical challenges, and many other aspects of their...

References: American Counseling Association (2005). ACA Code of Ethics. Alexandria, VA: Author.
Corey, G., Corey, M. S., & Callanan, P. (2011). Issues and ethics in the helping professions. (8th ed.). Belmont, CA: Brooks/Cole.
Eberlein, L. (1977). Counselors Beware! Clients Have Rights!. Personnel & Guidance Journal, 56(4), 219. Retrieved from
Gehring, D. D. (1982). The Counselor 's 'Duty to Warn '. Personnel & Guidance Journal, 61(4), 208. Retrieved from
Gutheil, T. G., & Hilliard, J. T. (2001). "Don 't Write Me Down": Legal, Clinical, and Risk-Management Aspects of Patients ' Requests that Therapists Not Keep Notes or Records. American Journal Of Psychotherapy, 55(2), 157. Retrieved from
Mitchels, B., & Reeves, A. (2009). The right to die: law and ethics. Therapy Today, 20(10), 18-23. Retrieved from
NAADAC Code of Ethics (2011) – The Association for Addiction Professionals. Alexandria, VA: Author.
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