6 Ethical Principles in Counseling
(Commission on Rehabilitation Counselor Certification)
Beneficence“To do good to others”
Acting in a manner that promotes the welfare of the client
Beneficence Factors and Risks
- Will your action assist the person in achieving his/her employment goals?
- Has the person assessed the benefits vs the harm, costs, or burdens that may occur?
- Taken to the extreme, beneficence becomes paternalism – not partnership and collaboration.
Autonomy“To honor the right to make individual decisions”
Acting in a manner that respects a person’s freedom to control his or her own life.
Autonomy Factors and Risks
- Competency to make specific decisions
- Autonomous choice may be limited by restrictions of agency policy and/or state law
- Autonomy, taken to its extreme, may compromise other ethical principles.
Non-Maleficence“To do no harm to others”
Acting in a manner that does not cause harm or prevents harm to clients
Non-Maleficence Factors and Risks
- Levels of risk can be idiosyncratic
- Your action has to be based on the scope of your expertise and knowledge
- The need to protect society – or the person - can compromise other ethical principles like Autonomy (confidentiality)
Fidelity“To be loyal and honest”
Keeping promises or commitments, both stated and implied.
Fidelity Factors and Risks
- You must understand your organization’s and the profession’s standards, principles, policies, and procedures.
- It can be tough to:
- Live up to a plan you inherit
- Be loyal to a policy you don’t agree with
- Stay current with developments in the field when you already have full hands
Justice“To be fair and give equally to others”
Treating people fairly, especially in allocation of resources
People must be treated individually and fairly
Professionals must advocate for the fair treatment of people with disabilities
Your method of allocating scarce resources may be perceived as unfair – no matter what it is
Justice Factors and Risks
Allocating Scarce Resources
- Equal shares – everyone gets the same
- Needs – each according to his/her needs
- Effort – people who put forth more get more resources
- Payback (before or after services)
- Free market
- Cost effectiveness
Veracity“To be honest”
Not engaging in an act or omission of a dishonest, deceitful or fradulent nature
Veracity of Electronic
Assisting clients in determining the validity and reliability of information found on the Internet and/or other technology applications.