Work environments are cultures that create particular ethical climates that influence the quality of service provided to clients. This chapter addresses how organizations influence ethical practice. It defines “Organizational culture”, “organizational climate”, and “ethical climate”; each term represents factors unique to the work environment that affect ethical behavior. The chapter also addresses several work-place issues, such as dealing with impaired colleagues, mobbing, “burn-out”, whistle blowing, boundary issues at the work-place (e.g., sexual harassment) and substance abuse affecting worker performance. It defines “impaired professional” and describes the effects of impairment on professional practice. Counselors are profoundly influenced by the environments and work cultures in which they practice. Work environments are cultures that create a particular ethical climate that influences the quality of services provided to clients. Ethical and unethical colleagues influence their coworkers to behave ethically and unethically.
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The focus of career counseling has been on helping individuals successfully enter the world of work. This chapter provides a description of the career counseling specialty, defining the roles and functions, employment settings, and clients of career counselors. It provides a brief history of the professional specialty, with information on historic and current credentialing. The chapter outlines professional credentialing and licensure matters for career counselors. It describes ethical and legal issues specific to the practice of career counseling and explains diversity issues and ethical decision making. It differentiates the roles and functions of practitioners of career counseling from those of practitioners of other counseling specialties. The chapter reviews the assessment issues of career counseling. Career counselors practice in a variety of settings and render services to diverse individuals, corporations, and organizations. They must have sufficient knowledge and training to assess clients and administer tests.
Counselors must exercise their ethical and professional judgment responsibly. This chapter reviews decision making models applied in mental health contexts. It classifies past models based on theory and/or practice. The chapter describes in detail the Tarvydas Integrative Decision Making Model of Ethical Behavior and how it is applied to mental health practice. It is a model that brings together the best of ethical theory to date in one comprehensive model. The chapter presents the Cottone Social Constructivism Model of Ethical Decision Making as a theory driven approach. The model is built on radical social constructivism, a unique philosophy that purports that decisions are not made psychologically by a person; rather decisions are an outcome of the relational matrix within which a decision maker finds him or herself. Three intellectual movements are defined: principle ethics, virtue ethics, and relational ethics.
Aside from the study of theories of counseling and psychotherapy, there is probably no other area of study that is more related to the everyday practice of counseling that than the area of professional ethics. This chapter defines terms related to the ethical practice of counseling and psychotherapy such as an “ethics”, “morality”, and an “ethical dilemma”. It differentiates professional versus philosophical ethics. The chapter outlines mandatory versus inspirational standards of practice. It also addresses professional credentialing issues, along with the need for ethical sensitivity in decision making. The chapter explains the system of ethics governance in counseling and defines skills necessary to become a professional decision maker. Decision making is a cornerstone of professionalism. Counselors must be viewed, and must view themselves, as intellectuals. They must also invest in their profession and be actively engaged in professional activities that better the profession and those served by the profession.
Group counseling raises some interesting ethical dilemmas because treatment involves more than one client. Because of the presence of individuals other than a counselor and one client, group counseling poses some interesting ethical dilemmas. This chapter discusses the origins, standards and specializations that characterize the area of group counseling, and issues related to its status as a formal specialty of counseling. It provides an overview of ethical and legal issues related to the practice of group counseling. The issues of confidentiality and privileged communication, informed consent, roles and responsibilities with clients and responsibilities of the group leader are addressed. The role and importance of group counselor values and competence are discussed, particularly in the context of issues of multicultural diversity. Counselors must be culturally sensitive and provide culturally competent services. They should develop comfort applying decision-making principles to dilemmas as they arise.
Rehabilitation counseling as a specialty area of counseling has been at the forefront of advocating for disability rights and the employment, inclusion, and integration of individuals with disabilities. The ethical and professional practice of rehabilitation counseling is similar to other counselors, yet with additional ethical responsibilities and considerations related to disability rights. The ethics of rehabilitation counseling have a more explicit emphasis on client autonomy, advocacy, and accessibility. The chapter describes the specialty of rehabilitation counseling, the historic trends in its evolution, and the sociopolitical issues of importance to the field. It helps the readers differentiate the roles and functions of rehabilitation counselors from those of other counseling specialties. The chapter discusses multiculturalism and diversity in rehabilitation counseling. Rehabilitation counseling has had a complex evolution. With such a diverse scope of practice, it is imperative that rehabilitation counselors only practice within their individual training, education, and supervised experience.
The study of ethics is like a journey. This chapter provides a synopsis of responses to allegations of unethical or illegal practice. It defines prevention measures and ways to avoid breaches of ethics. The chapter describes ethical practice in counseling and psychotherapy. It outlines the consequences for victims of unethical conduct. The chapter defines the ethical professional counselor and describes the counselor’s response to an ethical challenge in the context of potential legal and professional scrutiny. It discusses what a counselor should do when confronted with an allegation of ethical misconduct. No professional is immune to ethical dilemmas—no matter how ethically sensitive counselors may be circumstances will always arise that place them in a quandary. It is important, however, that counselors recognize when they are facing a serious ethical challenge. With such recognition, wise counselors protect themselves from a naive decision and a possible breach of ethical standards.
The use of counseling technology and electronic communication between clients and counselors has received increasing attention. While there is great potential in using the internet to deliver counseling services, it is critical that counselors are aware of the ethical implications whenever they use technology to interact with clients. The chapter focuses on the ethical use of counseling technology and provision of distance counseling services. It identifies common ethical tensions underlying the decision to use technology when providing counseling services. The chapter promotes the critical-evaluative thinking underlying e-professionalism and technology ethics as necessary habits in the digital age. A focus on accessibility is critical because we are all dependent on digital technology as a necessary form of assistive technology to function in a digital society. Social media has become the way people communicate, and thus counselors need to inform clients about the inherent threats to privacy and confidentiality.
School Counselors are uniquely positioned to work as individuals in educational settings to support children and their families, teachers, administrators, and other invested educators. This chapter reviews the school setting which presents distinctive legal and ethical challenges related to counseling minors. It discussed the various roles of school counselors’ within the school setting, as well as ethical challenges and considerations for practice. The chapter compares the ethical codes applicable to the practice of school counseling. It identifies strategies to maintain ethical school counseling practice. School counselors make significant contributions to the educational and personal development of students. When the law and ethics conflict or they cannot be clearly applied in the specific circumstances, school counselors seek consultation, consider ethical implications, apply an ethical decision-making model, and stay apprised of societal changes to make decisions ethically.