The code of ethics and the counseling relationshipThe code of ethics as it pertains to the counseling relationshipis meant to define and guide the therapeutic relationship. Clinicians work hardto create and sustain a relationship with their clients based on trust.
It isimportant to obtain informed consent from clients when entering any type ofcounseling relationship. The code of ethics aims to ensure clinicianrespect client’s confidentiality andprivacy rights. The importance of informing the client of counselingexpectations including rules, sessions, group work, and cost is stressed. It isalso important to be cognizant of clients cultural backgrounds and beliefsystems. “The primary responsibility of counselors is to respect the dignityand promote the welfare of clients. Counselors create, safeguard, and maintaindocumentation necessary for rendering professional services (ACA 2014)”.
” Counselorsrecognize that support networks hold various meanings in the lives of clientsand consider enlisting the support, understanding, and involvement of others(ACA 2014)”. While counselors like other individuals hold their own beliefsand values it is important to respect the boundaries, beliefs and values of ourclients. “Counselors are aware of—and avoid imposing—their own values,attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors. Counselors respect the diversity of clients,trainees, and research participants and seek training in areas in which they areat risk of imposing their values onto clients, especially when the counselor’svalues are inconsistent with the client’s goals or are discriminatory innature.
(ACA 2014).” ConfidentialityCounselors are responsible for educating clients on the conceptof confidentiality, and informingclients about the limitations of confidentiality regarding what situationsinformation must be disclosed and in what situations. Clinicians should also discussif and how client information could or must be shared with others and aintainand store records in a way that maintains confidentiality standards. “Counselorsprotect the confidential information of prospective and current clients.Counselors disclose information only with appropriate consent or with soundlegal or ethical justification.
To the extent possible, clients are informedbefore confidential information is disclosed and are involved in the disclosuredecision-making process. When circumstances require the disclosure ofconfidential information, only essential information is revealed. (ACA 2014).” Professional responsibilityClinicians must be compliant with the ACA Code of Ethics.
It isimportant to stay within one’s own scope of practice. Practice counseling based on scientificfoundations, and proven methods or framework. It is also recommended that clinicians engage in self-care activities sothey can work effectively with clients and minimize risk of burnout. Consultation and referralsClinicians should develop relationships with colleagues whosescope of practice is different than their own and be respectful of those whohave different theoretical approaches. It is important to only provideconsultation within one’s scope of practice. Counselors are tasked withproviding appropriate consultation or referrals when requested or necessary.Assessment and interpretationCounselors must understand the use of evaluations and assessmentsas an important part of information gathering and to assist in conductingclients’ treatment planning.
Clinicians must diagnose clients and interpretassessments accurately and in a culturally sensitive manner.Resolving ethical dilemmas Counselorsmust behave in a manner that is both ethical and legal and recognize when thereis a conflict between ethics codes and laws. Counselors should be able toutilize and document an ethical decision-making process when faced with anethical dilemma .It is important to seek supervision or legal consultation whennecessary.
Mental health law”Accordingto the National Alliance on Mental Illness, there are certain types of mentalhealth laws, and each state is different. Comprehensive parity provides equal coverage to individuals formental health issues and substance abuse or addiction. A limited parity means that a plan limits equal coverage basedon diagnosed mental health conditions or restricts coverage to a set limit,either financially or in terms of care duration. A broad-based parity law, on the other hand, is a mix betweenthe two. While some limitations to coverage may apply, the coverage itself isencompassing of all mental health conditions.
There are a few types of mandatesin regards to coverage offerings. These may help you better understand MHPAEAand other parity-related laws. A mandatedoffering requires an insurance plan to include an option on mentalhealth, in which coverage benefits will be equal to other care. If the planalready offers mental health care treatment, a mandate if offered law states that coverage will be equal toother medical care. And, on the other end of the spectrum, a minimum mandated benefit law does notstress the equality between types of health care coverage.
Like mandated care,benefits also fall into the same category. Minimum benefit if offered works similarly to the above mandatedbenefit only there is not specifically a mandate. If a plan offers healthcoverage, the minimum benefit need only apply. And such, a minimum benefit is just that – aminimum benefit. (U.S 2018).” Onelimitation of mental health laws are that they vary state to state, and thatnot all counties have laws governing mental health services and practices.
Risk management Risk managementis an important and integral part in the counseling profession. “The purpose ofrisk management is to identify potential problems before they occur, allowingthe worker and agency to make choices to avoid, minimize, or mitigate potentialharm. Although avoiding harm to clients, workers, and others may be a validethical goal, at least part of the rationale for risk management is to avoidthe legal consequences of causing harm—for instance, being sued formalpractice, having to pay compensation, losing one’s license to practice, orputting the agency’s legal status at risk.
By pre-empting and managing risks,workers and agencies can make strategic choices about which types of risks toaccept and which to avoid. Some agencies have designated officials whose roleis to help the agency manage risk. Other agencies leave it up to practitionersand their supervisors to manage risks.(Barksy 2015).”