Counselling is the provision of guidance and assistance in a professional way that will help the affected people in resolving either personal or psychological related problems. A counsellor on the other hand is a trained and a professional person who guides the affected people on how to deal with both psychological and physical problems (American Counseling Association, 2016 pg.90). The counsellor obtains counselling skills and techniques that help them to listen to their clients empathetically.
To make a counselling session easy, the counsellor should therefore give the person on need of counselling full attention as a sign of valuing them as worthwhile and important individuals (Martz & Kaplan, 2014 pg.152). However, the counsellors experience lots of ethical issues when handling their clients when trying to work within the professionalism context of therapeutic relationship. The experience encountered by the counsellors therefore brings about bias to the counsellor thus making a counselling session unstable.
The American Counselling Association (ACA) and the National Association of Alcoholism and Drug Abuse Counsellors (NAADAC) advocate for ethical codes that counsellors should give their clients. The ACA’s mission is to enhance the qualities of the counselling offered by offering the counsellors with regular trainings. In addition, ACA promotes the development of professional counsellors who have advanced in their relevant profession thus promoting respect for diversity and dignity for human beings (Corey, Corey, Corey & Callanan, 2015 pg. 56). The code of ethics insists on delivery of desired and proper treatment to the clients undergoing the counselling sessions. First, when a counsellor therefore maintains the ethical standards when doing counselling, the client welfare is improved since the counsellor develops professional action that support the client thus improving their lives and giving them freedom and independence in life.
Secondly, when the counsellors perform their counselling duties professionally the client’s self-determination is greatly improved. In addition, ethical counselling greatly helps in maintaining dual relationships between the counsellor and the client. The dual relationship therefore helps the two parties to work together towards achieving a treatment goal thus nurturing a relationship that ensures fairness and protection to both parties. Eventually, counsellors who are professional and ethical prevent harm to their client thus helping the client to overcome their problems (Harris, Randolph & Gordon, 2016 pg.99). Prevention of harm thus ensures that all the decisions made by both the client and the counselor contain ethical implication and cannot harm the client either legally, spiritually, financially, physically or psychologically.
Counselors are usually faced with issues that are challenging and controversial in their line of duty making it hard for them to make the right decisions. Issues like suicide, abortions, domestic violence, abuse of drugs as well as indifference in culture beliefs. It is therefore the duty of a counsellor to foster a healthy relationship with integrity, trust and respect to ensure the welfare of the client is well taken care of (Carkhuff, 2017 pg.205). Sometimes the counsellor is faced with dilemmas making him or her to find it hard to impact positive beliefs and values in the clients. However, the counsellors should always seek guidance from the ACA code of ethics for easy maintenance of professionalism. The major guidelines provided by ACA are avoiding enforcing their personal attitudes, values, behaviors and beliefs onto their clients. In addition, it is necessary for the counselor to apply open mindedness and objectivity towards achieving the help to the client without conflict of interest.
When a counselor is bringing up the crucial topics like suicide, drug abuse, abortion, child, abuse cultural indifferences and domestic violence, an emotional discomfort is created. For example, abortion is a very touchy topic that is perceived with lots of negativity in the society. The society judges the abortion victims and stigmatizes them by considering them unfit in the society. Therefore, any time a counsellor is handling an abortion case they must ensure that self-control is maintained in upholding their personal beliefs and values (Carkhuff, 2017 pg.210). The counselor should majorly focus on respect the client’s dignity as well as promoting their welfare. Whenever a counselor fails to uphold the vales of a client, therapeutic relationship is hindered thus making a client to regress and eventually withdraw from the counselling session.
Counsellors should therefore be professional anytime they deal with clients from different culture, beliefs and worldviews. The counsellors’ should also understand that effective communication is the cornerstone of every counselling session. It is also the counsellor’s duty to give total support to the client by creating a good rapport. Lastly, the counselor should not condone the idea of counselling due to differences created by the values and beliefs of a client.
Some of the legislation and government policies related to clinical mental health counseling are the state and federal role in mental health. Federal governments establish a standard that is expanded upon by the state government. The federal regulations and laws provide an oversight across the state. In addition, the federal government protects the rights of patients undergoing mental health disorders. It is also noted that the federal government offers funding streams to the mental health services that fall under Medicare and Medicaid. Additionally, the funding government creates opportunities for the counselors and mental health specialists to understand the causes and possible treatments for their clients. The state government on the other hand makes the decisions that govern the systems in mental health. In addition, state government make mental health regulations available but they vary from one different state to another. The state government also makes follow up on the protection legislations outlined by the federal government. Besides, the state government funds the state hospitals as well as supporting the federal government where help is needed.
In accordance to the ACA code of ethics, the counsellors should only refer their clients when a lack of competency arises if a client requires more professional assistance. In addition, a counsellor can refer a client who is experiencing difficulties outside their knowledge base. For instance, a counsellor can be handling a client with loss of appetite but may require a nutritionist to give detailed counselling. Besides, a counsellor might offer a type of therapy that does not suit a client making the counsellor to refer the patient to a different counselor with a different and beneficial approach. When a counsellor feels that his or her safety is not guaranteed, they might be forced to refer the client to agency settings where safety is an assurance. Lastly, when a counselor is undergoing emotional stress like divorce or death of a close relative they might refer the clients as they solve their underlying problems.
The key reason for a referral is to ensure the interest of the client is met without pitting into consideration the comfort of the counsellor. The counsellors should only focus on promoting and facilitating the growth of the client be ensuring all the needs of a client are met. A client is sometimes referred to a hospital when medical help is needed. In addition, when a client undergoes several sessions without any change, the counsellor looks for a professional counselor to supplement the previous counselling (Martz & Kaplan, 2014 pg.155). The ACA code of ethics however state that referrals are the last resort a counsellor should think of. It is therefore the responsibility of the counsellor to manage the discomforts the clients go through prior to a referral.
The counselors can manage the discomforts through supervision, consultation and continuous training. The counsellor also applies the bracketing concept where they should set aside the personal values that do not coincide with the legitimate goas in counselling a client. Counselling profession is slowly evolving and changed positively thus helping the clients who are not capable of getting themselves out of a mess. The client majorly depends on the guidance they get from the counsellors for guidance thus managing to control the conditions that get out of hand comfortably. The counsellors should also be at a position to work with a wide range of clients they come across by identifying whether they require counselling. According to Shallcorss (2018 pg.139), the counsellors should avoid being judgmental and should also not condemn their clients. Shallcorss continues, ‘We’re asking them to not use their systems to judge or evaluate the person in front of them but to try and understand and work with that person from his or her worldview and system. We’re seeking to understand and work within the worldview of the client, regardless of what our worldview is.”
American Counseling Association (2016). ACA Code of Ethics. Alexandria, VA: Author. Retrieved from:
Carkhuff, R. (2017). Toward effective counseling and psychotherapy: Training and practice. Routledge. pg.183-325
Corey, G., Corey, M. S., Corey, C. & Callanan, P. (2015). Issues and ethics in the helping professions (9th ed.). Retrieved from (http://www.gcumedia.com/digitalresources/cengage/2014/issues-and-ethics-in-the- helping-professions_ebook_9e.php) pg. 38-78
Harris, K. A., Randolph, B.E., & Gordon, T.D., (2016). What do clients want? Assessing spiritual needs in counseling. A literature review: Spirituality in Clinical Practice,3(4), 250-275.doi:10.1037/scp0000108. pg 56-140
Martz, E., & Kaplan, D., (2014). New Responsibilities When Making Referrals. Retrieved from: (https://www.counseling.org/docs/default-source/ethics/ethics_ocober-2014.pdf) pg.112-176
Shallcorss, L. (2018). Putting clients ahead of personal values. Counseling Today. Retrieved (from: http://ct.counseling.org/2018/11/putting-clients-ahead-of-personal-values) pg. 45- 199
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