Ethics Of Counseling For The Disabled

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Ethics of Counseling the for Disabled

Ethics of Counseling for the Disabled


In counseling, two types of confidentiality are commonly recognized: content confidentiality and contact confidentiality. Content confidentiality requires that the substance or content of the client's discussion with a counselor not be revealed by the professional. Disclosures of confidential client information to individuals with no right to that information are called content breaches. Such breaches of confidentiality may result in civil liability to the therapist or licensure revocation. Contact confidentiality requires that the professional not reveal the fact that the client is being seen by the professional. Beauchamp & Childress (2001) mention disclosures to an unauthorized party that the client is seeing the therapist are referred to as contact breaches. Although therapists often make strenuous efforts to avoid disclosures of the identities of their clients, the law generally does not address matters of contact confidentiality. This paper discusses ethics of counseling for the disabled in a concise and comprehensive way.

Ethics of Counseling for the Disabled: A Discussion

In words of Beauchamp & Childress (2001) the ethics codes of the American Counseling Association, the American Psychological Association, and the National Association of Social Workers are relevant to those providing professional counseling. Generally, the codes for disabled address three important domains: (1) responsibilities to clients (or the recipients of professional counseling services), (2) responsibilities to other professionals, and (3) responsibilities to society at large (Beauchamp & Childress, 2001).

Responsibilities to Clients

The welfare of the client is the predominant ethical concern of the helping professions. Ethics codes emphasize this reality by delineating the domains considered to be essential to a healthy counseling relationship. Most importantly, clients are entitled to an informed consent process that allows them to understand the helping (or therapeutic) process, make decisions regarding their participation, and have a reasonable understanding of the expected process and outcome of counseling. Clients have a right to know the theories and techniques that guide their counselor, the price of the services they will receive, the limits of confidentiality, the training and professional memberships of their counselor, and the likelihood that the counseling they will receive will be helpful. Even when counseling is involuntary, counseling ethics codes encourage practitioners to find ways to empower clients and assist them in making small informed choices.

Pope & Vasquez (1998) mention because the professional counseling relationship involves an inherent power imbalance, the responsibility to the client is absolute. Clients are never to be exploited for the betterment of the counselor. Anything that might threaten the counselor's objectivity and impartiality is ethically questionable (Pope & Vasquez, 1998). Therefore, counselors must avoid engaging in or carefully manage other roles in their clients' lives.

Responsibilities to Other Professionals

Counselors interact with other mental health professionals, school or hospital personnel, law enforcement professionals, healthcare professionals, and administrators of public or private organizations. Counselors have an ethical duty to work for the welfare of their clients while maintaining mutually respectful relationships with colleagues and employers. When policies or other professional expectations conflict with client welfare, ...
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