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Ethical and Legal Aspects of Counseling. E THICS AND L AW Ethics Are moral principles adopted by an individual or group to provide guidance for appropriate.

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Presentation on theme: "Ethical and Legal Aspects of Counseling. E THICS AND L AW Ethics Are moral principles adopted by an individual or group to provide guidance for appropriate."— Presentation transcript:

1 Ethical and Legal Aspects of Counseling

2 E THICS AND L AW Ethics Are moral principles adopted by an individual or group to provide guidance for appropriate conduct. Ethics codes are ideal standards set by a professional organization

3 E THICS AND L AW Law Laws are rules of behaviour established by courts or legislation that help a society operate in an orderly fashion. Codes of conduct are developed by professional organizations and are the minimum standards of behaviour that members of that profession are held to.

4 CPA C ODE OF E THICS ( WWW. CPA. CA ) Principle 1: Respect for dignity of persons Idea of individual rights; privacy, informed consent, confidentiality Discusses vulnerable people (includes minors) Upholds the value of innate worth of all people, no discrimination, all are equal. People are not to be considered a means to an end. Has strong implications for all aspects of psychology – including both counselling and research. Principle 2: Responsible caring General caring, competence and self knowledge, risk/benefit analysis, maximize benefit, minimize harm, offset/correct harm, care of animals, extended responsibility.

5 CPA C ODE OF E THICS ( WWW. CPA. CA ) Principle 2: Responsible caring Clients and research participants are the psychologist’s first priority, not employers or other third parties Attend to potential for harm – always strive to minimize and/or correct Emphasizes the need for competence and competent practice – calls for self-reflection on the part of psychologists Also outlines behaviour guides for the use of animals in psychology (mostly research)

6 CPA C ODE OF E THICS Principle 3: Integrity in relationships Psychologists are to be open, honest and fair in dealing with others Work to minimize bias and maximize objectivity in your practice – to do this you need to understand yourself rather than strive to be value free which is not possible Avoid conflict of interest situations Reliance on the discipline (consult, be familiar with discipline)

7 CPA C ODE OF E THICS Principle 4: Responsibility for Society Goes beyond the individual to the macro level Develop your knowledge and use it to benefit society Promote the welfare of others Engage in interdisciplinary or cross discipline work Be open to feedback

8 A DVANTAGES OF H AVING A C ODE OF E THICS Protects clients’ rights Provides guidelines for professional behaviors Controls internal disagreement and promote stability Protects practitioners from the public Promotes public trust toward the profession

9 L IMITATIONS OF H AVING A C ODE OF E THICS Too general (do not solve specific dilemmas) Emphasizes rational objectivity, and universality Ethical principles accepted at one time may be considered unethical later Insensitivity to cultural diversity More for the practitioners than the public

10 C OMMON TYPES OF ETHICAL DILEMMAS Violation of confidentiality Role Conflict, dual roles Exceeding one’s level of competence Conflicts with employer or institution Degree of dangerousness to self and others Sexual activity with a client Improper advertising Imposing one’s values on a client

11 E THICAL D ECISION -M AKING M ODELS In an extensive literature review regarding ethical decision-making models, Cottone and Claus (2000) located nine practice-based models of ethical decision making. Corey, Corey, and Callanan’s (2007) seven stage model of ethical decision making appears to be the most comprehensive yet parsimonious.

12 CPA’ S E THICAL DECISION MODEL 1. Identify persons affected 2. Identify ethically relevant issues and practices 3. Consider how personal biases, stresses, or self- interest might influence 4. Develop alternative courses of action 5. Analyze risks and benefits of each option 6. Choose course of action 7. Act 8. Evaluate 9. Assume responsibility for consequences 10. Act to prevent future occurrences

13 E THICS IN SPECIFIC SITUATIONS School Counseling: When dilemmas occur between the counselor and the school administration, the counselor is responsible towards the client first and then the school. Marriage/Family counseling: Family members might have conflicting goals Multicultural counseling: Recognize and work with cultural differences Counseling research: Informed consent, coercion and deception, confidentiality and privacy.

14 M ULTIPLE R ELATIONSHIPS Business deals or friendship Professionals concluded that multiple relationships should be avoided Counselors should not socialize or do business with present of former clients Accepting gifts – a controversial issue Entering into a counseling relationship with a close friend, student, or employee.

15 W HEN ANOTHER COUNSELOR BEHAVES IN AN UNETHICAL WAY Ethically you cannot ignore others’ unethical behavior Identify the problem objectively Apply the CPA code of ethics If action is needed approach the counselor If the counselor does not want to take action you need to decide on the course of action (report to CCA, College of Alberta Psychologists (, or other provincial boards)

16 C IVIL AND C RIMINAL L IABILITY ( CONT.) Ways of improving ethical conduct and protecting oneself Know practice standards Follow professional codes of ethics Obtain liability insurance Education

17 L EGAL I SSUES IN C OUNSELING M INORS Minors —Children under the age of 18 can enter psychosocial treatment in following three ways With parental consent Involuntarily at a parent’s insistence By order of the juvenile court *Informed consent must be obtained from parents

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