‘Ethics’ is defined as: ‘moral principles that govern a person’s behavior or the conducting of an activity’; they tend to be values imposed by one’s self or by a group on its members. ‘Morals’ is defined as: ‘standards of behavior; principles of right and wrong’; they tend to be imposed by society. ‘Principle’ is defined as: A rule or belief governing one's personal behavior ‘Values’ is defined as: principles or standards of behavior; one’s judgement of what is important in life: High standard of morals will set standards of behavior for an individual and help them distinguish between right and wrong. Their values will help them determine what is important in life. And help in moral dilemmas where it’s a case of choosing between right and right as opposed to choosing between right and wrong. Ethics are formulated out of a combination of morals and values and help a person to set certain boundaries for themselves or in the case of a profession; for its members. Having a sound combination of morals, values and ethics enables one to develop sound principles. It can therefore be said that if you have good principles, then you are likely to conduct yourself in an ethically sound manner.
Far from being cut-and-dried however, there are very blurred thin grey lines of boundaries between these and more often than not, upbringing, social backgrounds and religious beliefs can play an extensive role in a person’s morals, values and principles which in turn affect their ethics. For example, I was brought up in a christian home and in a culture where extramarital sexual relations are wrong and frowned upon. Because of this background, culture and belief I strongly believed that I had to remain I virgin till my wedding day. My principles, values and morals , moulded by my upbringing informed what was 'ethically' right for me. I have several good friends who are living with their partners and have children but have no intention of getting married because for them there is nothing wrong with it. It's so crucial therefore as counsellors to maintain at the forefront of our minds that each client is different, thinks differently and believes differently to us and thereby give them an 'unconditional positive regard.'
Unit 1.1 Apply understanding of an ethical framework to counselling practice sessions.
Professionals can have a huge impact on their clients and their actions can affect the lives of the people they deal directly with and that of their families. It is imperative therefore that they exercise the highest level of safe and ethical practice to minimize harm to the client. In a professional setting one will encounter various people of varied cultural backgrounds with varied needs. This makes it extremely important therefore that the professional has very high ethical standards to ensure that the profession is upheld and that the client does not suffer any exploitation but receives a good standard of care. It is required of the professional to understand that morals values principles and ethics are not separate entities. They must be considered with a holistic approach realizing that a persons background will inform their morals and values and in turn their ethics and principles. What may be perfectly acceptable to one may be taboo to the other simply because of 'the conditions of worth' placed on them by their society and upbringing. In counseling the ethical framework is intended to guide and inform practice. It's is necessary to safeguard the profession as well as the client. It is necessary in order to uphold high standards of professionalism and practice. Without these guidelines the profession could end up in disrepute . There would be no trust and respect or regard for counsellors. In a counselling practice I applied this by explaining to my client that I was a trainee working under BACP guidelines. I explained what BACP stood for and how I am bound by its guidelines . I went on further to explain...
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