Professional competence refers to our ability to perform effectively within our professional role. As counselors, we are required to remain aware of our professional strengths and weaknesses and respond accordingly when counseling situations fall outside of our ability to be effective. Professional competence involves working with client populations for which we have been properly trained, maintaining training and education throughout our careers, and identifying and addressing personal experiences or internal problems that can affect our ability to be effective counselors. In this chapter, authors cover what it means to be professionally competent, how to recognize when we are exceeding boundaries of competence, and how to maintain competence throughout a professional career. Professional competence includes a host of complex situations and variables. Much of the research and writings on the topic of competence focuses on multicultural competence. Understanding individual differences in our client population is essential for maintaining professional competence.
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This chapter reviews two ethical issues which authors find challenging for any counselor, given their nuances: (a) understanding how worldviews may collide and (b) what happens when boundaries are crossed. It discusses the role of self-awareness in sound ethical decisions. The chapter reviews each of these dilemmas and walk through how American Psychological Association (APA) and American Counseling Association (ACA) can guide our ethical decisions regarding each of these dilemmas. Counselors cannot make sound ethical decisions devoid of individual and sociocultural contexts. In this chapter the authors reviewed that being culturally competent includes having self-awareness of our biases and assumptions, knowledge of those we work with, and our ability to adapt our skills so they are congruent with the people we serve. It is most important to be aware of our various areas of privilege and biases that may impact our ability to effectively interpret and respond to ethical dilemmas.
Social media is an amazing way to communicate with friends, colleagues, and family members across the world. Counselors have the right to participate in and benefit from this way of relating to others it would be unrealistic to think otherwise. This chapter focuses on counselors’ personal use of social media platforms and how their participation may result in ethical dilemmas. Social media has become, and likely will continue to be, an integral way in which people communicate. The potential to leverage social media for counseling-related purposes is promising. However, given the laws, rules, and ethical guidelines and standards that are still under development, counselors must proceed with caution, even when social media is used for professional purposes, and thoughtfully consider the risks and benefits. Given the interconnected, transparent, and discoverable nature of social media, personal use must also be thoughtful and deliberate.
This chapter reviews multiple vignettes that provide examples of complex ethical dilemmas involving client and colleagues. It focuses on three specific gray areas that pose dilemmas for counselors. First, and perhaps one of the greatest dilemmas, is how to tell the difference between actions that can be addressed informally vs. actions that require reporting to ethics committees. While discussing the importance of addressing colleagues’ behaviors, it is essential to develop the ability to receive feedback ourselves. Therefore, two additional gray areas arise. First, how do we proceed when workplace rules seem to differ from our code of conduct? Second, how should we proceed if the counselor engaging in unethical behavior is a supervisor or someone in a leadership position? The chapter reviews each of these gray areas and walk through how the American Psychological Association (APA) and the American Counseling Association (ACA) can guide sound ethical decisions.
It is not uncommon for children, adolescents, and families to seek counselors’ services when they are in crisis. Despite a growing literature base in school crisis prevention, intervention, and preparedness, there is a relatively scant literature base addressing mental health crisis intervention for professional counselors. This chapter addresses elements pertinent to crisis intervention, including mandated reporting, and associated trauma or grief. Children understand and process grief and trauma differently based on developmental and cognitive ability levels. Unfortunately, it is not uncommon for children to experience traumatic events before reaching adulthood. As an example, international studies document that child sexual abuse, physical abuse, or domestic violence affects approximately 25% of children. War, natural disasters, motor vehicle accidents, violence, terrorist acts, and refugee experiences can all contribute to trauma reactions. Regrettably, if left untreated, complications associated with unresolved trauma or grief can last well into adulthood.
This chapter presents the elements of counseling that can influence self-awareness and growth among children and adolescents. It builds on the basics and offers guidance to enhance counseling effectiveness. Children and adolescents thrive within the context of responsive relationships and these relationships are central to emotional growth. A good counselor balances the child or adolescent’s need for support and the necessity of independence in self-reflection. The fields of motivational interviewing (MI), self-determination theory, and counseling with children and adolescents are filled with specific techniques to encourage growth and change. Accordingly, the chapter highlights key elements of counselor action. Of equal importance, there will be instances in which being present, in absence of action, will create space for the child or adolescent to experience and consequently increase awareness of his or her own self—a critical foundation for growth and change.
There are several misconceptions and assumptions that can reduce the effectiveness of counseling with children and adolescents. New therapists and counselors in training may need to ultimately unlearn assumptions that they carried with them—knowingly or not—before entering professional training programs. This chapter reviews some common misconceptions and assumptions made by counselors at all levels. The field of motivational interviewing has emerged to address the resistance to change and the challenges associated with preparing clients for change. It seems that rational, irrational, positive, and negative thinking are important to untangle when working with children and adolescents. The goal is to help clients to challenge erroneous thinking, distortions, or faulty interpretations that lead them to negative outcomes as well as help them to anchor their academic, interpersonal, and other efforts in an effective understanding of their current abilities, skills, and context.
Everyone has needs and struggles. Awareness is a key step in assuring that the counselor’s needs and struggles do not negatively impact the children and adolescents with whom they work. A counselor should begin by knowing and acknowledging his or her own personal issues, strengths, and vulnerabilities and how these issues might be presenting in their work as a professional counselor. Self-awareness, support, supervision, boundaries, and self-care are the foundations of a sustainable counseling practice. It is not a sign of strength or quality of character to be able to individually suffer through or manage the stressors inherent in counseling work. In fact, independent or isolated management of stress is a liability. The counselors, who experience both effectiveness and well-being, acknowledge stress and the compassion fatigue that is inherent to this work. They show willingness to look at themselves and get the help they need.
This book deals with a number of issues and strategies for counseling people with disabilities. It allows counselors and other related health professionals to learn from the writings of 16 people with disabilities across North America. The book provides information on how other professional disciplines perceive and are trained to view disability. It discusses the medical and psychosocial aspects of caregiving in the country and highlights some of the most difficult decisions individuals and families may have to make in this process. The book is organized into four parts containing sixteen chapters. Part I explores disability from a sociological perspective. The topics covered are: the history of how people with disabilities have been viewed and treated in society; attitude formation, societal attitudes, and myths about disabilities; culturally different issues and attitudes toward disability; and attitudes toward disability by specific special interest and occupational groups. Part II focuses on the psychology of disability surrounding the individual and his or her family. The topics address: theories of adjustment to disability by the individual; family adaptation across cultures toward a loved one who is disabled; sexuality and disability; and the psychosocial world of the injured worker. Part III addresses pertinent topics concerning psychosocial issues of disability. The topics include: disability and quality of life over the life span; implications of social support and caregiving of loved ones with a disability; and thriving versus succumbing to disability: psychosocial factors and positive psychology. Part IV addresses counseling strategies and insights for working with persons with disabilities. The topics discuss: which counseling theories and techniques work best with different disability populations and why; social justice, oppression, and disability; counseling families in the community; ethical responsibilities in working with persons with disabilities and our duty to educate; and basic dos and don’ts in counseling persons with disabilities.
- Go to chapter: Ethical Responsibilities in Working With People With Disabilities and Our Duty to Educate
The topic of ethics is vast and impossible to cover comprehensively in any single work. This chapter presents some of the relevant and controversial topics in this arena. It focuses on common ethical dilemmas, factors that influence counselor ethics, counselor competence, and current and debated ethical issues. Some ethical dilemmas seem inherent in the counseling process and are as likely to be encountered in the present day as they were in earlier generations. Others occur due to societal advancements and trends, new technologies, or catastrophic events or diseases that lead to increases in prejudice and discrimination. The chapter covers current and debated ethical issues related to AIDS/HIV and duty to warn self-injuring clients, biotechnology advances, wrongful birth and wrongful life actions, decisions related to choosing disability, ethics and private sector rehabilitation, online and Internet counseling, end-of-life counseling, and assisted suicide.