Professional Counseling Orientation & Ethics
October 30, 2013
The beliefs and values of an individual are formed from birth to adulthood through personal, cultural, and social experiences. Determining what is right from wrong depends on our own personal value system and what we choose to let influence our attitudes and behaviors. Without values we would be incapable of identifying areas in our lives that need changing. Change can come easy to some, while others can’t easily identify their destructive behaviors and need the guidance of a professional to discover their thought patterns. A Professional Counselor is someone who can assist with the therapeutic process of change and self-discovery. During training counselors also self-discover and have to be willing to promote growth in their own lives. When counselors are aware of their own personal values, beliefs, and unresolved conflicts they can effectively treat their clients without losing focus on the needs of the client. They also should be sure to stay within their scope of practice, be aware of the boundaries of their professional competence, attend necessary trainings/continue education, seek qualified supervision, use their own judgment, and recognize when referrals should be made. Very often counselors are faced with difficulty remaining value neutral when controversial issues arise. What are the appropriate actions counselors can take when ethical dilemmas arise, can they remain value neutral about controversial issues presented by a client and when is it appropriate for a counselor to express moral judgment?
The ACA Code of Ethics (2005) section A.4.b. Personal Values states, “Counselors are aware of their own values, attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors and avoid imposing values that are inconsistent with counseling goals.” During the course of the therapeutic process counselors may not be able to avoid presenting...
References: American Counseling Association (2005). ACA Code of Ethics. Alexandria, VA: Author. Retrieved from: http://www.counseling.org/Resources/aca-code-of-ethics.pdf
Barnes, F.P., Murdin, L. (2001) Values and Ethics in the Practice of Psychotherapy and Counseling. Buckingham, PA: Open University Press.
Corey, G, Corey, M, & Callanan, P. (2011). Issues and Ethics in the Helping Professional (8th ed.). Belmont, CA: Brooks/Cole, Cenage Learning.
Foster-Miller, H, Davis, T. (1996) American Counseling Association: A Practitioner’s Guide to
Ethical Decision Making. Retrieved from: http://alabamacounseling.org/pdf/ACAguide.pdf
National Association of Alcohol and Drug Abuse Counselors (2013). NAADAC Code of Ethics. Retrieved from: http://www.naadac.org/membership/code-of-ethics
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