Ethical Issues in Counselling

Topics: Psychology, Counseling psychology, Psychotherapy Pages: 15 (4624 words) Published: August 12, 2008
In no more than 3,000 words you are required to complete an essay on ethical issues in the practice of counseling, by addressing the following question: What are the two ethical issues which are likely to be the most concerning for you personally in your counseling work?

Include a discussion of:
1.why each is important in your counseling work, or likely to be so; 2.what contribution recent journal articles make to discussion of these issues; 3.having read and considered the relevant literature on these issues, discuss how you are likely to deal with each of the two issues.

Your essay should be written in the first person and should include a personal, reflective discussion, but should be scholarly and include a carefully selected references. Provide evidence of your thinking about the issues chosen.

Professional counsellors are increasingly mindful not to step on the mines of unethical practices. Sometimes, we might be too cautious to have overlooked issues that are neither unethical, nor avoidable, or even beneficial, in terms of the interests of our clients and our own professional satisfactions. Ethics are more than codes and taboos. While counsellors should protect themselves from unnecessary lawsuits, we should also find resolutions for our constant struggles towards the best service to clients, in light of the various moral and ethical principles, and the context in which we work, to promote, other than to protect client benefits.

As a voluntary, amateur counsellor, serving in a church community, characterized by its closeness to a Christian Secondary School and its proximity to a lower social class housing estate, I have always struggled with boundary setting, whether a boundary needs to be crossed, a multiple relationship needs to be entered into, or a personal value needs to be shared, for the best benefits of my clients, who range from young adults, young couples, to parents of some problematic students. This essay explores how I could set professional boundaries through client empowerment, and how, in view of my personality and Christian faith, I should approach boundary crossing, role blending, multiple relationships, and value sharing with caution. I would also use religious values as an example, to discuss the relevance and irrelevance of sharing personal values under different circumstances. Boundaries and multiple relationships – Definitions and controversy A boundary sets limits for accepted practices of the counsellor and the client. It is generally agreed that “counsellors are responsible for setting and maintaining professional boundaries within the counselling relationship (e.g. PACFA, 2001, to ensure a safe and successful therapy which meets the needs of vulnerable clients ( Rosenbloom, 2003, p.1). Although boundary crossing does not necessarily culminate multiple relationships, multiple relationships are usually the result of boundary crossing. The American Psychological Association (APA, 2002, p.6) defines a multiple relationship as existing when a psychologist is in a professional role with a person, in addition to another role with that person, or is in a relationship with a person closely associated with that person, or promises to enter into a future role with that person, or a person closely related to that person. According to Sonne (2005, p.2), multiple relationships imply ‘intended, ongoing, and substantive’ social interchanges between the professional and the client.

Most professional organizations warn counsellors against involving themselves with boundary crossing and multiple relationships, as they might impair their judgment, objectivity, and provision of effective services, resulting in possible blurred boundaries, exploitation and harm to their clients (Corey, G., Corey, M.S. & Callanan, P., 2007, p.267 ; Pope & Vasquez,1998). Boundary violations, typified by sexual relationships between counsellors and clients are always harmful and...

References: American Counseling Association. (2005). Code of ethics. Alexandria, VA: Author.
American Psychological Association ( APA). (2002). Ethical principles of psychologists and code of conduct. Washington, DC: Author.
Barnett, J.E. & Yutrzenka, B.A.(1994).Nonsexual dual relationships in professional practice, with special applications to rural and military communities. The Independent Practitioner, Vol. 14 (5), 243-248.
Bergin, A.E. (1980). Psychotherapy and religious values. Journal of consulting and clinical psychology, Vol.48, 95-105.
Bergin, A.E. (1985). Proposed values for guiding and evaluating counseling and psychotherapy. Counseling and Values, Vol.29, 99-116.
Bergin, A.E
Bergin, A.E., Payne, I.R., & Richards, P.S. (1996) Values in psychotherapy. In E. Shafranske (Ed.), Religion and the clinical practice of psychology, 297-325. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.
Biaggio, M., Paget, T.L., & Chenoweth, M.S
Bishop, D.R. (1992). Religious values as cross-cultural issues in counseling. Counseling and Values, Vol.36, 179-191.
Collins English Dictionary. (1991) (3rd edition), Glasgow: Harper Collins.
Corey, G.., Corey, M.S. & Callanan, P. (2007). Issues and Ethics in the Helping Professions (7th edition). New York: Brooks Cole Publishing Co.
Ebert, B.W
Gutheil, G. T. & Gabbard, G.O. (1993) The concepts of boundaries in clinical practice:
Theoretical and risk management dimensions
Helminiak, D.A.(2001). Treating spiritual issues in secular psychotherapy. Counseling and Values, Vol.45, 163-189.
Herlihy, B., & Corey, G.
Hermann, M.A. (2006). Legal perspectives on dual relationships. In Herlihy, B. &. Corey, G.( Ed.), Boundary issues in counseling: Multiple roles and responsibilities (2nd Ed.) Alexandria, VA: American Counseling, 6, 46-54
Ipsupovici, M., & Luke, E
Kinner, R.T., Kernes, J.L. & Dautheribes, T.M. (2000). A short list of universal moral values, Counseling and Values, Vol.45 ( October), 4-16.
Kluckhohn, C., et al. (1952). Value and value orientation in the theory of action. In T. Parsons & E.A. Shils (Eds.), Toward a general theory of action, 288-443.Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
Lazarus, A., & Zur, O. (2002).Dual relationships and psychotherapy. New York: Springer Publishing Co.
Llewellyn, R. (2002).Sanity and sanctity: The counselor and multiple relationships in the church. In A.A. Lazarus & O. Zur (Eds. ) Dual relationships and psychotherapy. New York, NY: Springer Publishing Co.
London, P. (1986). The modes and morals of psychotherapy (2nd Ed.), New York: McGraw-Hill.
Miller, R.D., & Maier, G.. J. (2002).Nonsexual boundary violations: Sauce for the gander. Journal of Psychiatry & Law, Vol.30(3), 309-329.
Moleski, S.M. & Kiselica, M.S. (2005). Dual relationships: A continuum ranging from the destructive to the therapeutic. Journal of Counseling and Development, Vol. 83, 3-1.
Neeleman, J.& Persaud, R
Parrott, C. (1999). Towards an integration of science, art and morality: The role of values in psychology, Counselling Psychology Quarterly, Vol.12 (1), 5-24.
Patterson, C.H.(1989)
Psychotherapy and Counselling Federation of Australia (2001).Ethical Guidelines. August, PACFA, 1-5.
Richards, P.S., & Bergin, A.E. (1997). A spiritual strategy for counseling and psychotherapy. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.
Richards, P.S., & Bergin, A.E. (2000). Handbook of psychotherapy and religious diversity. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.
Rosenbloom, S.J
Simon, R. I. (1992). Treatment boundary violations: Clinical, ethical, and legal consideration. American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law, Vol. 20(3), 269-288.
Slife, B.D. & Richards, P.S. (2001) How separable are spirituality and theology in psychotherapy? Counseling and Values, Vol.45, 190-206
Smith, M.B
Sonne, J.L. (2005). Nonsexual multiple relationships: A practical decision-making model for clinicians. (Available on-line at )
Spinelli, E
St. Germaine, J. (1993).Dual relationships: What’s wrong with them? American Counselor, Vol.2(3), 25-30.
Stein, H.F. (1985). Therapist and family values in a cultural context. Counseling and Values, Vol.30, 34-35.
Strasburger, L.H., Jorgenson, L., & Sutherland, P. (1992).The prevention of psychotherapist misconduct: Avoiding the slippery slope. American Journal of Psychiatry, Vol. 45, 544-555.
Street, M.D., Douglas, S.C., Geiger, S.W., & Martinko, M.J
Continue Reading

Please join StudyMode to read the full document

You May Also Find These Documents Helpful

  • Ethical Issues in Counselling Term Papers
  • Ethical Issue Essay
  • Essay about Ethical Issues
  • Ethical Issues Essay
  • Ethical Issues Essay
  • ethical Essay
  • Ethical Issues Essay
  • Essay on Ethical Issues

Become a StudyMode Member

Sign Up - It's Free