Legal and Ethical Issues about Combining Counseling with Acupuncture

Topics: Ethics, Mental health counselor, Mental health professional Pages: 9 (2797 words) Published: June 18, 2013
It was difficult approaching this research paper due to the overflow on information about combining professions and which perspective to take on it. At first I wanted to research the legal and ethical issues of non-erotic touch within counseling and acupuncture, but the research on that is scarce; second I wanted to explore the legal and ethical issues of non erotic touch across cultures by combing the laws of the USA and Germany, however it turned out to be quiet similar. Lastly I looked into the legal and ethical issues about combining counseling, which is western approach, with eastern medicine such as acupuncture. The information I found was vast, but after filtering out some articles that support my view I was able to put together an interesting topic. There was not a lot of information about legal issues other than gaining the proper licensure for both practices. As far as ethical issues go, they are surprisingly extremely similar within counseling and acupuncture.

The paper will approach the issues involved in combining psychological counseling with an eastern method (i.e. integrative psychology, acupuncture, herbology, etc.). By combining the body and mind, a client has the chance to explore their psychological needs, find their mind-body connection, and therefore heal better and faster. Furthermore, psychologists are finding that the field is advancing and expanding rapidly. In order to keep up with the diversity, it is important to educate oneself to conceptualize the client appropriately on a “broader, holistic, incorporated mind, body, and transpersonal approach” (Zampitella, 2011, para. 1). Many practitioners are therefore including other theories, techniques, or interventions from other methodologies as a way of adding to their primary angle (Zimpanella, 2011).

When wanting to combine practices, one must be sure to follow the right protocols of each practice or method in order to avoid lawsuits, complaints, penalties, fines and more. According to the American Counseling Association (ACA) Code of Ethics (2005) a professional must demonstrate the following: C.2. Professional Competence

C.2.a. Boundaries of Competence
Counselors only practice within the boundaries of their competence, based in their educational training, supervised experience, state and national professional credentials, and appropriate professional experience. Counselors gain knowledge, personal awareness, sensitivity, and skill pertinent to working with diverse client population. (p. 9) It is crucial for a practitioner of psychology to receive adequate training before claiming they have “a combined practice”. If not, there can be much harm done to clients if the practitioner is not competent at what he or she does. It also must be considered vice versa, if a practitioner of eastern medicine wants to combine their practice with psychological counseling, proper education and licensure must be obtained before one can legally begin their practice in a combined fashion. The next section of the ACA Code of Ethics supports the previous statement: C.2b. New Specialty Areas of Practice

Counselors practice in specialty areas new to them only after appropriate education, training, and supervised experience. While developing skills in new specialty areas, counselors take steps to ensure the competence of their work and to protect. (p. 9)

Practicing as a Mental Health Counselor in Florida requires a prospective practitioner to have earned a Master’s degree of an accredited higher education University. The program must have consisted of 60 semester hours or 80 quarters of clinical and educational experiences (Department of Health, 2013). Additionally the following courses must have been taken: “counseling theories and practice, human growth and development, diagnosis and treatment of psychopathology, human sexuality, group theories and practice, individual evaluation and assessment, career and lifestyle assessment, research and program...

References: American Counseling Association (2005). ACA Code of Ethics. Retrieved April 25, 2013
Corey, G., Schneider Corey, M, & Callanan, P. (2011). Issues and Ethics in the Helping
Florida Department of Health (2013). Licensing Requirements. Retrieved April 25, 2013
IAHIP (2005). Code of Ethics for Psychotherapists. Retrieved April 25, 2013 from
Smith, D. (2003). 10 ways practitioners can avoid frequent ethical pitfalls: Boost your
ethical know-how with these practical tips on avoiding common ethical
quandaries. Monitor Staff, 34(1), 50. Retrieved April 25, 2013 from
Steel, S. (2000). Sexual Misconduct: Legal and Licensing Ramifications to the
Acupuncture Profession, Part II
Hong Kong Psychotherapy Assertive Communication. Retrieved April 25, 2013
Zur, O., & Nordmarken, N. (2009). To touch or not to touch: Exploiting the myth of
probation on touch in psychotherapy and counseling
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