Counseling Theory and Practices
The course on counseling theory and practices has greatly helped me to improve on my personal development and as a counseling student. The principle values taught in the wellness ability self-management skill level five would enable me to engage in relationship that is more professional with my clients so that I empower them to accomplish the various goals they may have. The paper discusses how each value has helped me improve on professional abilities.
Autonomy refers to the self-rule, which is free from external entities and from boundaries, which hinder making of free choices. In counseling, I have understood that autonomy is very important in ensuring an effective relationship with my clients. Autonomy would allow my clients to act intentionally, and with more understanding without feeling as if I am controlling or influencing their actions (“2014 ACA code of ethics,” 2014). Respect for my clients’ autonomy would not be as result of the need for my clients to make their own choices, but because it is my obligation to create an environment that would encourage autonomous choice making. It would include right of the client’s self-determination (Corey, G. Corey, M. Corey, C & Callana, P.2015, 17)
It would be my obligation to promote development and growth of my clients in a manner that that would advance their welfare and lead to creation of healthy relationships. I understood that trust is very essential in a counseling session and it would by my duty to safeguard and respect the rights of my clients to confidentiality and privacy (“2014 ACA code of ethics,” 2014). It would be advisable that I do my best to understand the diverse cultural backgrounds of my clients and explore my own cultural identity and find out how it might affect my beliefs and values in the counseling process.
Acknowledging the different cultural backgrounds would help me avoid handling of the counseling relationship as a rigid yardstick, whereby counselors apply the same intervention measures for problems that seem similar to each other (Pedro, 2012). I have understood that various cultures prefer different paths when it comes to counseling, western cultures are more to the side of individual counseling while other cultures prefer group counseling.
The term non-maleficence refers to the principle of avoiding any activity that might cause harm to other people. It mainly used in the medical arena but is also found in the counseling psychology. In autonomy, it is clear that it points at the client, but non-maleficence points to the counselor’s abilities. It is the duty of every counselor to avoid any intervention measure that might cause harm or be of potential harm to the client (“2014 ACA code of ethics,” 2014). As a counseling practioner, the course has enabled me to realize that I should carryout careful evaluation of all the concerns of my clients, recommend the most appropriate, and clearly explain the suggested intervention to my clients (Corey, G. Corey, M. Corey, C & Callana, P.2015, 17). Professional counselor would have the obligation of ensuring that risks and practices that may cause harm or have the potential of causing harm are minimized or eliminated.
This is the responsibility of every counselor to do well and make positive contributions in the lives of their clients. As a counselor, I would therefore strive to do my best for my clients and when am genuinely unable to offer the best help, I would offer the best alternative available, including referral to experienced counselors(Corey, G. Corey, M. Corey, C & Callana,P.2015,18). The principle also enabled me to learn that as a practicing counselor, I must only get involved in the professional practices that would lead to improved welfare to the public. As a counselor, it is my duty to make positive contributions in the lives of my clients through prevention of harm and being proactive in the deciding practices that would benefit my clients(“2014 ACA code of ethics”,2014).
The relationship between my clients and I would therefore expect me to remove and prevent any harm that my client is vulnerable to and also to balance and weight the benefits of all the available intervention measures and then choose one that adequately caters for the improvement of my client’s welfare(Barker, P, 2011). It would also be my duty as a counselor to ensure that the rights of my client are protected and help families and individuals who are in danger and have sought my help.
Beneficence has inculcated the virtue of humanity in me and I realized that my clients should be handled with a lot of care and kindness so that I contribute in promoting their well-being. When a client has a goal of which he or she hopes to achieve, it would be my moral obligation to do my best help them reach their goals and also prevent and remove possible challenges and harm that may stop or ham them(Corey, G. Corey, M. Corey, C & Callana, P, 2015,17).
I have also understood that my role as a counselor is to do good for other people and promote the well-being of my clients (Gladding, S. T., Newsome, D. W., & Gladding, S. T. 2010, 63). Counseling also requires that I do good to the society and should use the counseling profession to contribute towards positive development and growth of my clients within the standards acceptable by their various cultural backgrounds.
The ACA’s code of ethics states that it is the duty of every counselor to respect her client’s dignity and to promote welfare of her clients (“2014 ACA code of ethics,” 2014). All must be within the context of the client’s cultural background, for example, I should not encourage a client from Vietnam to speak firmly to his father as this may make the father to regard the child as disrespectful and refuse to listen to his son.
The principle of justice refers to the act of being fair and just in all manners. The course has enable me understand that as a practicing counselor, I would be expected to be non-discriminatory in all my undertakings in counseling profession (“Ethics for Counselors,” 2013). It was also clarified that the fact that justice demands for counselors to be fair, it does not necessarily mean that I should treat all my clients the same manner, but I should ensure equity on my dealing with all my clients.
Counseling profession requires that each client is considered unique from others, but equity should be observed in all the counseling sessions (“2014 ACA code of ethics,” 2014). As a counselor, I should be able to identify scenarios where incidences of inequity are and the make the necessary changes to get a suitable intervention measure.
The principle also expects me as a counselor to help in promoting social justice within the community. As good counselor, I should end oppression and seek equity so that clients are able to solve the injustices that they face in their lives. The course therefore has armed me with the knowledge and skills that would enable me confront systems of oppressions in the society and help in the efforts that create positive changes in our society (Corey, G. Corey, M. Corey, C & Callana, P.2015, 19). It would also be my responsibility to promote humanity by addressing some of the challenges that affect individuals and groups. Justice in counseling would require that all my clients leave my office with a feeling of empowerment and I should also help them confront any form of injustice that they have faced in their lives.
As a counseling practitioner, it would be advisable for me to provide appropriate and equal service to all my clients (Gerig, M. 2007, 21). I would treat everyone equal without favoring others because of their religion, sex, race, socioeconomic status, cultural backgrounds, ethnicity, or even their sexual orientation.
The course emphasized that as a practicing counselor, I must engage in commitments, which are realistic and strive to fulfill all the promises a make to my clients. This would mean that I fulfill all my responsibilities needed to maintain trust in the counseling relationship. The ACA’s code (2014) emphasizes that counselors should develop the motivation of informing the client earlier about everything they should know in counseling relationship (Corey, G., Corey, M. S., & Callanan, P. 2009, 271).
I would therefore inform all my clients about our counseling relationship and then remain faithful to any commitment that I make to my clients. I have learned that all my clients must have that freedom to choose whether they want to have a counseling relationship with me or not (Koocher, G. P., & Keith-Spiegel, P. 2008, 40). I would therefore let them make that choice independently after I have told them everything about the counseling relationship and the things that would be involved in the relationship.
It would be my duty to carry out both oral and verbal review with my client on their rights and what is expected from both of us. This would enable clients to make an informed decision based on the provided detailed information (Corey, G. Corey, M. Corey, C & Callana, P.2015, 18). The principle of fidelity would mean that I create trust and an effective relationship, which would enable the clients and I to search for the solutions to the challenges, which the clients are facing.
This is the principle of being truthful. It would be my obligation as the counselor to remain honest with my clients (“Code of Professional Ethics for Rehabilitation Counselors,” 2009). This would be the best way to develop trust, which is very essential for the creation of an effective counseling relationship. The course allowed me to understand that counseling profession works best when the counselor is able to create trust in all the counseling relationships (Corey, G. Corey, M. Corey, C & Callana, P.2015, 18). As a counselor, I would therefore try best to fulfill all my commitments, both personal and professional to maintain a therapeutic relationship characterized of truth and honesty.
It would be my responsibility to ensure that my clients get all the information that is relevant to their case. The information would be clear and easily understandable to all my clients (Lakhan, S. E., Hamlat, E., McNamee, T., & Laird, C. 2009, 4). The course has taught me not to make any deliberate error in the process of passing information to my client or to lie to them. No information shall be withheld deliberately from my clients, as this would lead to violation of truth through deliberate omission of important piece of information would ensure that I do not violate this principle by cloaking information in a language that my clients do not understand or through jargons (Palmo, A. J., Weikel, W. J., & Borsos, D. P. 2011, 14).
Clear information is important because it would enable my clients to make informed consent on choices that affect their lives. As a practitioner, I would ensure integrity in all the activities related to my profession such as documentation, peer relationships, certification, billing and overall compliance.
It is stated that the main mission of the association of the American counselors is to help improve the welfare of the people and enhance the quality of their lives by promoting professional development of counselors through the use of counseling practices, which encourage counselors to have respect to the diversity and human dignity.
The code of ethics gives the counselors detailed information on the things that must be observed to ensure that human dignity is upheld and that the diversity of humanity is respected. The course has played a huge role in ensuring that the counseling graduates would leave the college with the knowledge that would make them join the world as qualified counselors who have respect for diversity and dignity of the humanity
The course also motivates counseling trainees to develop into counseling professionals who are motivated to do activities that satisfy the needs of their clients’ needs. The professional behavior would enable the counselors to identify the best counseling practices that would promote the general well-being of the clients and also promote their development and growth in various manners. The course was important and I believe that every counselor who has gone through the course would be able to handle client well while also respecting his or her cultural believes.
Lastly, it is very important that all counseling students and practicing counselors become conversant with code of ethics laid out by the American counseling association and that any counselor who violates the ethics be given an appropriate punishment so that the profession remains focused in helping humanity.
2014 ACA code of ethics: As approved by the ACA governing council.2014. American Counseling Association. Retrieved from < http://www.counseling.org/resources/aca-code-of-ethics.pdf>
Corey, G. Corey, M. Corey, C & Callana, P. (2015). Issues and Ethics in the Helping Professions with 2014 ACA Codes. Boston: USA. Cengage publishers
Pedro. (2012). “Ethical Principles in Counseling.” CE_Tuesday. Retrieved from < http://www.cetuesday.com/ethical-principles-in-counseling-2/>
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Barker, P. J. (2011). Mental health ethics: The human context. Abingdon, Oxon: Routledge.
Gerig, M. S. (2007). Foundations for mental health and community counseling: An introduction to the profession. Upper Saddle River, N.J: Pearson, Merrill Prentice Hall.
Gladding, S. T., Newsome, D. W., & Gladding, S. T. (2010). Clinical mental health counseling in community and agency settings. Upper Saddle River, N.J: Pearson Education.
Koocher, G. P., & Keith-Spiegel, P. (2008). Ethics in psychology and the mental health professions: Standards and cases. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Lakhan, S. E., Hamlat, E., McNamee, T., & Laird, C. (2009). Time for a unified approach to medical ethics. Philosophy, Ethics, and Humanities in Medicine: Pehm.
Palmo, A. J., Weikel, W. J., & Borsos, D. P. (2011). Foundations of mental health counseling. Springfield, Ill: Charles C. Thomas.
Corey, G., Corey, M. S., & Callanan, P. (2009). Managing multiple relationships in a small community. InDobrin, S. & Martinez, J. (Eds.).Issues and Ethics in the Helping Professions United States of America: Brooks/Cole, Cengage Learning
Code of Professional Ethics for Rehabilitation Counselors. (2009). Commission on Rehabilitation Counselor Certification. Retrieved from < http://www.oregon.gov/dhs/vr/docs/crc-code-ethics.pdf>
Ethics for Counselors. (2013). NETCE. Retrieved from < http://www.netce.com/coursecontent.php?courseid=922>
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