Reflection paper on ethics in mental health counseling
Students will be required to write a five-page reflection paper that focus on ethics. The reflection paper should be a typed, double-spaced, thoughtful, in depth, reflection to class discussion and/or readings. To receive full credit, papers must integrate content with affective and reactive experiences. Paper that simply describe or summarize the classes or readings, without personal exploration will only receive half credit.
Reflection papers might consider some of the following questions:
How did discussions about ethics make you feel?
How might your individual experiences and identities affect your reactions to the material?
How did you learn to develop your ethical values?
You don’t have to summarize all of the following notes and readings. Most importantly, you have to describe how you feel and your thoughts on ethics in mental health counseling.
The following is what we discussed in class. I’m also attaching my e-textbook, you have to read through Chapter 1-8.
1.The differences between ethical, legal, and moral obligations: Ethical obligation has to do with your profession or specific professional organizations. Legal obligation has to do with what the law says. Moral is what you think; it has do with your family value and your culture value, religion, and personality; it is how you think about things.
The whole point of ethics is for you to make the best ethical decisions (or the least unethical decisions) when approached with difficult situations. It means that following your ethical codes, understanding legal and moral things, also think about what would get you in the least amount of trouble.
2.Conflicts among the three: ethical vs legal vs moral
Morally right but legally wrong: same sex marriage, marijuana.
Legally right but ethically wrong: confidentiality. For instance, ethically therapists should keep clients records confidential but in forensic settings such as prisons, there is no such thing as confidentiality. Another e.g. is the therapist’s notes about a client gets subpoena, the therapist has to hand in the notes to the court.
Legally right but ethically and morally wrong: The head of the ethics office at American Psychological Association (APA) was commissioned by President Bush to employ torture tactics to prisoners of war for information post 911 during Afghanistan and Iraq.
When your client is a domestic survivor, you are not required to do anything both ethically and legally. It is not ethical to report this to the police even though morally you want to do something.
When your client tells you that he is going to rape a random woman tomorrow, the least unethical thing is to do nothing because you have no identifiable information(he might rape a random woman but you don’t know who might be raped; maybe he changed his mind and he doesn’t want to rape anybody any more) and if you report to the police it will break confidentiality and harm the rapport and relationship between you and your client.
If your client is HIV positive and your client has unprotective sex what would you do? Ethically you cannot tell your client’s partner because according to the ethics, the client has no intention to kill, and HIV is not life threatening disease, so you cannot do anything even though morally you want to tell the partner.
3. Clients’ rights
Clients have right to be informed of what is happening in the session. Clients have freedom to choose whether or not to enter and remain in the counseling relationship. Clients cannot be forced into a counseling relationship unless she/he is a mandated client. Mandated clients cannot be forced into a specific relationship but legally they are required to do this but they have right to choose another counselor.
4. Informed consent
When giving informed consent to the client, the therapist must let the client read it and sign it and the counselor also has to read it to the client.
The counselor will tell the client that counselor will provide safe space and confidentiality in the therapy. The counselor is going to tell the client about his/her credential, e.g., education, level of training, etc. Also going to tell the client the process of counseling. The counselor will also inform the client of the potential risks that may happen in the therapy.
Show up on time.
Be truthful and take it seriously.
6. Who cannot give informed consent
Adult with intellectual disabilities
People who is experience psychosis
Elders who have cognitive dis-functioning
7. Normally, counselor need to have both parents’ consent to give minors therapy. However when one of the parents disagrees to give consent, the counselor can consult his/her supervisor and legal aid to see if one consent is enough to proceed to therapy. At least the counselor has to document this issue to stay away from legal troubles.
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