Ethics in Counseling

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Ethical standards are needed in the counseling profession to establish guidelines that counselors can practice within and to protect clients. Hawley agrees, (2007, p.5) stating that it’s imperative for counselors to study and abide by ethical boundaries, otherwise those that are provided care to will suffer. This essay will investigate the professional ethics of counseling by using a hypothetical case study. It will review the case study and the ethical action points with particular consideration to respecting the client, limits of the relationship, responsibility of the counselor, counselor’s competence, referral process, and finally, termination procedures. This essay will then determine the complexities and importance of ethical standards within practice. The case study for the focus of this essay is hypothetical and about the client, David. David, who is Hep C positive, informs his counselor in a drug and alcohol centre, that he has recently shared several needles with other drug users. Later, outside the workplace, the counselor overhears another client of the centre mention that he believes David is HIV positive. This case study highlights the aforementioned ethical considerations and raises questions around confidentiality, autonomy and personal ethical standpoints. Firstly it’s imperative to focus on the client, the therapeutic relationship and eliminate the third party information. In this particular case study the clear distinction is that the information regarding HIV was not given to the counsellor in a therapeutic environment. Therefore mandatory reporting becomes obsolete, and one must not allow personal ethical standpoints to interfere. There are ethical consequences relating to respect for autonomy that can result here, where the health care provider believes that they have the patient’s, or those whom the patient shares needles with, best

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