In various cases of counseling, personal feelings cloud the judgment. However, being led by the rules can also lead to a terrible loss or effect on other people. Professional counselors have the mandate to make the judgment appropriately and where necessary reprimand and save the other who would be at risk of being affected by the client. Counseling offers a broad scope of challenges, which will also be needed to find help where necessary to avoid the high pressure within oneself.
Section 1: Clients Right
Question 1: Ethical principles
Autonomy gives the client the freedom to make their own decision. The counselor has the mandate only to acknowledge the client’s autonomy and respects this right. In making the decision, the client should ensure that their decision does not affect the independence of the other person and should be aware and ready for the consequences. According to Harriss and Atkinson (2014), the counselor has to be patient enough and exercise the OARS. The acronym means having open-ended questions, being affirmative, having reflective listening, and making summaries.
Non-maleficence means no harm. Autonomy was from the client’s own decision. At the same time, non-maleficence comes from the counselor who is tasked with the responsibility not to harm. The counselor has to make a decision aimed at making the client better. Practically, the counselors have the responsibility to evaluate the concerns presented by the client and making an appropriate determined application and explained interventions.
Beneficence is the principle of doing well to the client and contributes to the welfare of the client. The counselor has the responsibility to offer the best treatment to the client. Where they cannot, they should offer an alternative where appropriate (Harriss, & Atkinson, 2015). The counselors have the responsibility to be best in the professional activities that provide general benefit to the public.
Justice means that the counselors will act in a just or fair manner to their clients. Justice means that the counselors will act in a non-discriminatory to the clients individually or in groups. The provision of fair or just treatment does not necessarily mean the same treatment, but it relates to equity. It involves the task for the counselors to identify inequity and have an intervention to the suit.
Fidelity involves the trust responsibility between the counselor and the client. The counselor puts the interest of clients before their interest, even where loyalty is uncomfortable or inconvenient for the counselor. The counselor should win the trust of the client such that they consider their words as the truth. However, the counselor does not necessarily need to share the same sentiments.
Question 2: Informed consent
Billing requires documentation for the processes and the duration based on the counselor’s policies, state and federal rules, and the client’s rights. It is the responsibility of the counselor to keep the billing of a client confidential. The counselor should put into consideration the locality and the financial status of the clients when billing to avoid unnecessary hardship. The counselor may also adjust the prices where applicable or help the client in choosing alternative and affordable services.
HIPPA compliance focuses on the privacy of the patient’s electronic information. The counselor and the health professionals should know the rights of the clients to electronic data and information on health being put in jeopardy. The compliance to the rule will ensure the safeguarding of the clients’ medical records and the other health information.
Compliance with credentialing board requirements for incorporating informed consent into practice gives an attempt to ensure all professional counselors have the same adherence to the ethics and compliance to those ethics and standards. The compliance takes into account both the rights of the client and the clinician. To comply with the National Board of Credentials will mean that the work ethics incorporates the compliance in the informed consent process with signatures from the client and the counselor.
Section 2: Responsibility to Warn and Protect
The duty to warn involves the obligation of the counselor to warn the identifiable victims. Duty to protect requires counselors’ obligation to reveal confidential information where they believe the third party will be harmed. Counselors’ duty to warn starts with the acknowledgment of the difference in ethical responsibility of confidentiality and the privileged communication legal terms. Confidentiality is the respect demonstration on the client by the counselor, where the information between them will not be divulged (Doyle,2011). Privileged communication is a legal doctrine that indicates that the counselor has the responsibility to keep the client-counselor therapeutic communication private. The legal doctrine bestows the client with the power of releasing the information from the relationship. Privileged communication is nonexistent in some states and has the exception where the client threatens to harm themselves or others. ACA codes of ethics recognize the exceptions and give the right to the counselors to breach the code of confidentiality where the client poses a threat or risk to the identifiable other.
The duty to warn and protect come into play in cases of clear evidence of imminent and foreseeable danger, exclusive relationship, and client’s communication of the threat or danger, and the victim is identifiable. The best example is in the wrongful death case of Tarasoff v. Regents of the University of California. In the ruling, the court declared that danger to the public supersedes the therapeutic relationship privilege.
Section 3: Client Record-Keeping
a) A client’s right to a professional standard of care
Client’s record-keeping serves many purposes, including the counselor’s protection of clients’ rights documentation and administrative or clinical accountability. The records also contain the information on the counselor’s informed guidance on rejecting liabilities in incompetency and misconduct. The counselor’s responsibility for clients’ rights is always documented in the records, including informed consent, treatment forms, treatment files, fee agreement, and treatment staffing (Wheeler, & Bertram, 2019). The documents can be used in defense of the client or the counselor in case of legal actions on misconduct. ACA provides the record on the counselors’ obligation in creating records and the maintenance of the record on the services rendered. With the documents, the clients have the right to privacy and the right to access their records. They also have the rights to record seeking permission and to observe. The records held to allow them the right to respect and trusting care having the updated records.
b) The counselor from liability
The primary purpose of the record-keeping is to help the clinician liability and protects them from lawsuits and legal issues. ACA code of conduct documents on the disclosure or transfer expectation of a counselor, allowing the transfer of confidential information and the disposal of the information that would be sensitive in the court proceedings. It also provides reasonable precautions, which gives the counselors the right to choose the custodian of the records in case of incapacity, termination, or death.
Section 4: Self Care
ACA Code of ethics stipulates counselors have a responsibility to the public engaging in counseling practices. They also have an obligation for self-care activities to maintain and promote their physical, emotional, spiritual, and mental well-being to be competent in their professional responsibilities.
I have a responsibility to make the best out of myself. I will not try to counsel myself based on my counseling knowledge but will always seek help from other professionals in case of a breakdown. The engagement with other professionals will work for me. I will also try to work with a schedule to meet the demand and demands of my clients when I am at my peak. I need to be my best when I am required, which would require working on my exercise as well as my diet to maintain my health.
We formed a group of professionals where we can share and help each other on the daily hardships that we face in our profession. At first, before forming the group, I had a counselor to whom I still have some sessions with who helped me build upon my emotions. I also joined the gym sessions, which is flexible because I can attend any time of the day or night. The gym instructors are always on standby to help where necessary.
I have thought of the better nutritional combination that would keep my body active without the use of energizers. I contemplate on working without energizers one thing that I am yet to implement. My diet is also a problem to implement, given my favorite food is always junked. My family is my biggest fortress, but at times, I do not know how to explain a thing to them. I had planned on seeking help in helping them understand the situation, but with my profession, they always see me as the most reliable person among them.
Counseling occupation has several risks. There is a high demand for the clients that are difficult to predict, the documentation that requires broad research and time and the administrative constituents. These are some of the red flags when I cannot communicate effectively on them. Where I have stress from distress, more extensive resources to complete in time, the more profound feeling with the client on their case, and an impaired behavior indicate the red flags that I need to address the matter.
Counselors getting counseled are appropriate. We are all humans, and at one point, some activities limit one’s activities. We may also face the situation in which we need help more than the clients. We have our emotions. Therefore, getting counseling from other counselors helps a lot.
Section 5: Advocacy
At the government level, I will advocate for the bill on the Mental Health Access Improvement Act of 2019. Professional counselors need to have reimbursement from Medicare-like the other care providers. They are the only mental health providers and have the same training, education, and practice right to other healthcare providers or even more. Currently, the state has the payment of the other healthcare providers through Medicare. At the same time, licensed professional counselors are not covered. Medicare reimburses for the elderly and other disabilities. I believe mental health can be classified as a disability.
Section 6: Counselor Values
According to NADAAC (2017), an addiction professional understands and supports actions that are beneficial to the client to have a quality life, greater freedom, and true independence. The 19-year-old has positive morals and values that should not conflict with personal viewpoints and values. I believe from my point of view and some experiences that I have had with friends that abortion is wrong, however, with some exceptions. The exceptions create dissonance with my beliefs, but they are just a personal viewpoint. The real question here is with the teenage preparedness to have the child and living with the scar for all the years that would make you hate yourself and the child. It will also be bad for the child to live with the guilt of being a product of rape. I would advise the parents that they can choose their friends but not their family. Irrespective of whether they accept or disown their child, they will remain to be a family. Though the statement would be emotional, it will be worth it.
Gays are considered unholy by some of the heterosexual. However, I would not be concerned about their cases since “the primary responsibility of a counselor is to respect the dignity and promote the welfare of the clients (ACA, 2014 A.1a). I will help them sort the issue with surrogate or adoption with a few sessions. I will also reflect on the NBCC code of ethics (2005) on which national counselors will only handle issues in which they are qualified by education and supervised experience. I will help them believe in what they are to do and warn them of the unfavorable stigma and how to go about them. A follow up would be appropriate after the child and offer a conducive environment in which they can visit in case of any change.
Counselors have the responsibility and morals to the public and themselves. The responsibilities are broad and complex, and although there are times they have to go against the societal belief, they also should maintain their morals. The ethical knowledge and the experience to give better counseling comes with practice and being healthy for others and oneself.
American Counseling Association. (2014). 2014 ACA code of ethics. Alexandria, VA: American Counseling Association.
Doyle, M. W. (2011). International ethics and the responsibility to protect. International Studies Review, 13(1), 72-84.
Harriss, D. J., & Atkinson, G. (2015). Ethical standards in sport and exercise science research: 2016 update. International journal of sports medicine, 36(14), 1121-1124.
NAADAC. (2017, January). NAADAC code of ethics. Retrieved from http://www.naadac.org/assets/2416/naadac_code_of_ethics_part_1_webinar_slides.pdf
NBCC, N. (2005). National building code of Canada. Ottawa, Canada: National Research Council of Canada (NRCC).
Wheeler, A. M., & Bertram, B. (2019). The counselor and the law: A guide to legal and ethical practice. John Wiley & Sons.
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