Why Is the Initial Consultation so Important?

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Why is the initial consultation so important? What factors will an ethical therapist cover at this time? The underlining reasons why ethics are vitally important in therapy are not romantic benevolent ideals concerned with altruism but reasons of practicality. It would simply not be effective and sustainable for any therapeutic profession to allow unethical practices to happen, since this behaviour will damage the reputation of the profession at large. It is therefore in the interests of all practitioners to adhere to some sort of rules of conduct. Indeed Therapy and counselling has always had such rules even before the first official ‘code of ethics & practices for counsellors’ was published in1948. Practical reasons for ethics are also seen at the level of the individual therapy sessions; it would be impossible to create an environment conducive to any effective therapy if the client did not feel protected and safe from the possibility of abuse or exploitation. They must be informed of and reassured by the ethical framework. Since all therapy institutions are required to make their code of ethics public and easily accessible, clients can have a reliable expectation of what behaviour to expect which can greatly reduce anxiety that first-time clients may have. Codes of ethics also benefit the therapist in a number of ways. It can be very difficult to know how best to proceed when presented with a dilemma, and so a system of ethics can inform and help with making these decisions. To be an ethical therapist, a clear understanding of exactly what that means is necessary. Ethics, is concerned with either the philosophical study of morality or, as is more pertinent here, it is defined as ‘a social, religious, or civil code of behaviour considered correct, esp. that of a particular group, profession, or individual’ (Collins English dictionary 2000) ‘ Ethics come
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