Ethics In Counseling Essay

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Trust and respect define relationships. Without them, there is no foundation to build upon. Much like building a house, those values are the strong base from which the rest of the house is layered on and the stronger the base, the stronger the house. These are the same values on which both the American Counseling Association’s (ACA), and the American Mental Health Counselors Association’s (AMHCA) Codes of Ethics were founded. They were designed to help guide the counseling profession and to serve as what Ponton and Duba (2009) called the “framework for ethical thinking” (p. 119).
The ACA and AMHCA have codes that are similar in nature. However, there are some specific differences between the two. The ACA serves as the primary organization for the entire counseling field. The organization is considered to hold the standard ethical code for professional counselors of all areas. Their focus tends to be broader and farther reaching, whereas the AMHCA specializes solely on mental health counselors and are more detailed to those in that field (Watson, Erford, Tasch, Kaplan, & Eliason, 2010). One main difference between the two codes is that the ACA’s ethical committee will investigate ethical complaints and take action as needed (H.3). The AMHCA’s ethics committee will not investigate ethical complaints (section IV, p.18). Another major difference is that the ACA has developed their code based on the five moral principles of autonomy, justice, beneficence, nonmaleficence, and fidelity which are the standards that are accepted and upheld by most of society (Linde, Erford, & Cheung, 2010). Organizations, such as the AMHCA, have similar codes that follow some of the same basic principles but many of these are “aspirational” and unenforceable (Linde, et al., 2010). They exist to help their members follow the highest possible standards for mental health counselors but many of the codes are simply best practice guidelines and not necessarily ethics (Linde, et al., 2010)....

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