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Lecture 2

PSYC 3406 Lecture 2: PSYC 3406 – Lecture 2 Notes – Ethical Issues in Counselling Practice

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Mount Royal University
PSYC 3406
John Streukens

PSYC 3406 – Lecture 2 Notes – Ethical Issues in Counselling Practice Professional Ethics • Ethics codes are a fundamental component of effective counselling: o They act as guidelines that outline professional standards of behaviour and practice o Codes do not make decisions for counsellors o Counsellors must interpret and apply ethical codes to their decision-making Types of Ethics • Mandatory ethics deals with the minimum level of professional practice • Aspirational ethics involves the highest standard of thinking and conduct • Positive ethics is an approach taken by practitioners who want to do their best for clients rather than simply meet minimum standards to stay out of trouble Ethical Decision Making • The principles that underlie our professional codes: o Benefit others, do no harm, respect other's autonomy, be just, fair, and faithful • The role of ethical codes: o They educate us about responsibilities, are a basis for accountability and improving professional practice, and protect clients • Steps for making ethical decisions: o Identify the problem, review relevant codes and laws, seek consultation, brainstorm, list consequences, decide and document the reasons for your actions o To the degree it is possible, include the client in your decision making process Informed Consent • Clients need enough information about the counselling process to make informed choices • Educate clients about their rights and responsibilities • Address privacy issues with clients, including the implications of using technology to communicate • Informed consent empowers clients and helps to build trust with them • Should include information such as: o Therapeutic procedures and goals o Approximate length of treatment o Risks/benefits and alternatives to treatment o The right to withdraw from treatment at any time o Costs or fees o The counsellor's use of supervision o The limits of confidentiality ➢ Confidentiality is essential but not an absolute; there are exceptions: ▪ Client poses a danger to self or others ▪ Clients who are children/minors, dependent adults, or older adults are victims of abuse ▪ Client needs to be hospitalized ▪ Information is made an issue in a court action ▪ Client requests a release of record Technology and Privacy • Confidentiality and privacy can become more complicated when technology is involved • ACA Code of Ethics (2014) contains a new set of standards with regard to the use of technology, computer-mediated communicated, and social media as a delivery platform Social Media and Boundaries • Social media raises many ethical concerns for practitioners regarding boundaries, dual relationships, confidentiality, and privacy o Counsellors and therapists sh
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