Ethical and Legal Aspects of Counseling

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Ethical or Unethical. 1.) You are a successful counselor. One of your clients tells you that you have been very, very helpful to him, and in order to show his appreciation to you, he gives you a $10,000 diamond ring as a gift. You accept the ring.2.) A client cannot afford to pay for one of her cou
Ethical and Legal Aspects of Counseling

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1. Ethical and Legal Aspects of Counseling Chapter 3

2. Ethical or Unethical 1.) You are a successful counselor. One of your clients tells you that you have been very, very helpful to him, and in order to show his appreciation to you, he gives you a $10,000 diamond ring as a gift. You accept the ring. 2.) A client cannot afford to pay for one of her counseling sessions with you. In lieu of payment, you ask her to babysit your 2-year-old son at your home a few times. 3.) One of your clients feels sexually attracted to you, and tells you this. Immediately following the termination of counseling, you and the client mutually agree to start a dating relationship.

3. Ethical or Unethical 4.) You and your friends have a dinner at your home. One of your friends tells you that he is emotionally disturbed by some conflict in his marriage. You take your friend into the next room and provide him with a brief counseling session there. 5.) You go to lunch with another counselor. In the restaurant, you each talk about some of your cases to learn from each other. Neither of you mentions the names of any of your clients.

4. Definitions Ethics ?Making decisions of a moral nature about people and their interactions with society? ?A philosophical discipline that is concerned with human conduct and moral decision making? Professional behavior Morality ?Judgment or evaluation of action? Right and wrong behavior Law ?The precise codification of governing standards that are established to ensure legal and moral justice? Government behavior Ethics is a philosophical discipline concerned with human conduct and decision-making. It governs relationships between counselors and clients. Ethics is a philosophical discipline concerned with human conduct and decision-making. It governs relationships between counselors and clients.

5. Common Unethical Behaviors of Counselors Violation of confidentiality Exceeding one?s level of professional competence Negligent practice Claiming expertise one does not possess Imposing one?s values on a client Violation of confidentiality ? the counselor releases the client?s information without the client?s prior consent Exceeding one?s level of professional competence ? the counselor applies an intervention (e.g., hypnosis) that the counselor has not been trained on that intervention before Negligent practice ? the counselor fails to protect third parties of a dangerous client Claiming expertise one does not possess Imposing one?s values on a client ? e.g., a 14-year-old female client tells the counselor that she has sexual relations with her boyfriend and she has opposed to use any birth-control devices. She assures the counselor that she will not be the one to get pregnant. Should the counselor respond to the client?s decision not to use birth-control measures? Violation of confidentiality ? the counselor releases the client?s information without the client?s prior consent Exceeding one?s level of professional competence ? the counselor applies an intervention (e.g., hypnosis) that the counselor has not been trained on that intervention before Negligent practice ? the counselor fails to protect third parties of a dangerous client Claiming expertise one does not possess Imposing one?s values on a client ? e.g., a 14-year-old female client tells the counselor that she has sexual relations with her boyfriend and she has opposed to use any birth-control devices. She assures the counselor that she will not be the one to get pregnant. Should the counselor respond to the client?s decision not to use birth-control measures?

6. Common Unethical Behaviors of Counselors Creating dependency in a client Sexual activity with a client Dual relationships Questionable financial arrangements (i.e., charging excessive fees) Improper advertising Creating dependence in a client ? e.g., the counselor encourages the client to talk about the problems to the counselor instead of sharing with someone whom the client can trust Creating dependence in a client ? e.g., the counselor encourages the client to talk about the problems to the counselor instead of sharing with someone whom the client can trust

7. Professional Codes of Ethics and Standards Why should counseling professionals abide by ethical codes and standards? Good for clients? Good for counselors?

8. Reasons to Abide by Ethical Codes To protect client?s rights while identifying expectations of practitioners. To professionalize organization. To allow a profession to regulate itself and function autonomously.

9. Reasons to Abide by Ethical Codes To control internal disagreements and thus promote stability of a profession. To protect practitioners from the public (i.e., malpractice lawsuits). To promote public trust toward the profession. If Clinicians behave in accordance with ethics code, behavior judged to be in compliance with acceptance standards If Clinicians behave in accordance with ethics code, behavior judged to be in compliance with acceptance standards

10. ACA Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice (ACA, 1995) Section 1: The Counseling Relationship Section 2: Confidentiality Section 3: Professional Responsibility Section 4: Relationships with Other Professionals Section 5: Evaluation, Assessment, and interpretation Section 6: Teaching, Training, and Supervision Section 7: Research and Publications Section 8: Resolving Ethical Issues First ethical code of conduct developed by ACA. Most current code arranged under eight topical sectional headings. APA also has an ethics code.First ethical code of conduct developed by ACA. Most current code arranged under eight topical sectional headings. APA also has an ethics code.

11. Limitations of Ethical Codes Do not address every possible situation Conflicts within ethical codes Applicability of the code in today?s society? Insensitivity to cultural diversity Some conflicts between ethical and legal codes Difficult to differentiate ethical dilemmas with other dilemmas Difficult to differentiate ethical dilemmas with other dilemmas

12. Making Ethical Decisions Ethical Principles: Beneficence Nonmaleficence Autonomy Justice Fidelity Beneficence ? doing good and preventing harm Nonmaleficence ? not inflicting harm Autonomy ? respecting freedom of choice and self-determination Justice?fairness Fidelity?faithfulness or honoring commitments In making ethical decisions, counselors should take actions that they think are right professionally often based on these principlesBeneficence ? doing good and preventing harm Nonmaleficence ? not inflicting harm Autonomy ? respecting freedom of choice and self-determination Justice?fairness Fidelity?faithfulness or honoring commitments In making ethical decisions, counselors should take actions that they think are right professionally often based on these principles

13. Other Guidelines for Acting Ethically Act with personal and professional honesty Act in the best interest of clients Act without malice or personal gain Justify an action ?as the best judgment of what should be done based upon the current state of the profession? (Swanson, 1983, p. 59)

14. Ethical Decision-Making Models Pgs. 66-67

15. Use Corey, Corey, & Callanan?s model to solve the problem 1. Identify the problem 2. Identify potential issues involved 3. Review relevant ethical guidelines 4. Review law 5. Obtain consultation 6. Consider possible course of action 7. Enumerate consequences of various decisions 8. Decide on best course of action

16. Case study: A client with a previous history of child abuse reported that she recently went through a great deal of stress from work. She revealed that she felt she was losing control and got angry easily with her 10 year old daughter at home. She indicated that on those occasions, she was on the verge of exploding on her daughter.

17. Case Study: An elderly male client with a history of chronic pain reports feeling down and no friends or family to talk to. He discussed feeling as though life isn?t worth living with his constant pain and that no one would miss him anyway. He stated that he has a full bottle of prescription pain medication at home, which would be the easiest way to commit suicide.

18. Dual Relationships Having sexual or romantic relations with a client during therapy Having sexual or romantic relations with a member of the client?s immediate family during therapy Having sexual or romantic relations with a client or a member of the client?s immediate family after the termination of therapy Buying goods or services from a client, or entering into a business agreement with a client (in addition to counseling) Employing a client, or providing therapy to an employee Providing therapy to a friend or relative Going out to eat with a client after a session Inviting clients to a personal party or social event Providing counseling to a supervisee or student Being a part of the same organization as a client, or going to the same church/temple

19. Working with Counselors who may act unethically Prevention: 1. Identify the problem 2. Apply ACA/APA ethical code to problem 3. Approach informally 3. File an ethical complaint In these situations, counselor must take action in order to avoid the Slippery Slope Effect?ignoring situations that call for ethical warnings will lead future ethical breaches In these situations, counselor must take action in order to avoid the Slippery Slope Effect?ignoring situations that call for ethical warnings will lead future ethical breaches

20. The Law and Counseling Iowa Law Review Note (1971) Counselors are legally-recognized professionals Weldon v. Virginia State Board of Psychologists Examiners (1974) Counseling is a distinct profession from psychology Tarasoff v. Board of Regents of the University of California (1976) Counselors have a duty to warn if an identifiable person is in danger Ramona trial (1993) Counselors have a duty to care ? a legal obligation not to act negligently Jaffee v. Redmond (1996) Communications between licensed psychotherapists and their clients are privileged and do not have to be disclosed in cases held in federal court

21. Civil and Criminal Liability Liability: 1. Civil liability ?Acting wrongly toward another or?failing to act when there [is] a recognized duty to do so? person ? person 2. Criminal liability Acting ?in a way the law does not allow? state ? person Liability involves issues concerned with whether counselors have caused harm to clients. 1. Civil liability ? one can be sued for acting wrongly toward another or for failing to act when there is a recognized duty to do so. 2. Criminal liability ? involves a counselor working with a client in a way that the law does not allow. Counselors are most likely to face civil liability suits for malpractice in the following situations: (1) malpractice in particular situations (birth control, abortion, prescribing and administering drugs, treatment), (2) illegal search, (3) defamation, (4) invasion of privacy, and (5) breach of contact. Three situations in which counselors risk criminal liability are (1) accessory to a crime, (2) civil disobedience, and (3) contribution to the delinquency of a minor.Liability involves issues concerned with whether counselors have caused harm to clients. 1. Civil liability ? one can be sued for acting wrongly toward another or for failing to act when there is a recognized duty to do so. 2. Criminal liability ? involves a counselor working with a client in a way that the law does not allow. Counselors are most likely to face civil liability suits for malpractice in the following situations: (1) malpractice in particular situations (birth control, abortion, prescribing and administering drugs, treatment), (2) illegal search, (3) defamation, (4) invasion of privacy, and (5) breach of contact. Three situations in which counselors risk criminal liability are (1) accessory to a crime, (2) civil disobedience, and (3) contribution to the delinquency of a minor.

22. Civil and criminal liability Negligence the departure from acceptable professional standards Malpractice the harm to a client resulting from negligence

23. The Law and Counseling Confidentiality is the ethical duty to fulfill a contract or promise to clients that the information revealed during therapy will be protected from unauthorized disclosure. Privacy is a legal concept that recognizes individuals? rights to choose the time, circumstances, and extent to which they wish to share or withhold personal information. Privileged communication regulates privacy protection and confidentiality by protecting clients from having their confidential communications disclosed in court without permission.

24. Exceptions to Confidentiality When a client is a danger to self or others In cases of child abuse or neglect When vulnerable adults are being abused When a client is considering committing a crime When a client has been a victim of a crime During court-ordered psychological evaluations For the purposes of involuntary hospitalization When a client raises the issue of mental condition in legal proceedings In client-counselor disputes

25. Tarasoff v. Board of Regents of the University of California (1976)


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