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Counseling Ethics and Practical IssuesJournal

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¶ … ethical aspects of combining counselor supervision and counseling.

Supervision is integral to promoting professionalism and ongoing skills development in counselors. Ideally, supervision offers learning experiences for both supervisor and supervised, as both encounter alternative points-of-view and approaches and therefore grow as counselors. In some settings, supervision offers the opportunity for less experienced counselors to clarify concerns related to anything from legal and ethical concerns to techniques or how to avoid occupational burnout (Herlihy, n.d.). Yet supervision entails tremendous responsibility on the part of the supervisor. The American Counseling Association and other professional organizations stress the importance of boundaries, respect, and consistency in all supervisory relationships (Zur, 2015). The ethical aspects of combining counselor supervision and counseling include issues related to cultural competency, informed consent and other client-centered ethical concerns, and issues related to supervisor comportment.

Cultural competency is a key concern, particularly given the power differential between supervisor and the less experienced counselor. Respect for diversity and different worldviews needs to temper the supervisor's predilection for what might be outmoded means of intervention. As Zur (2015) points out, the American Mental Health Counselors Association code of ethics specifically points out the supervisors to only offer their services, guidance, and advice in accordance with their own level of training and expertise.

When combined with counseling, the client must always be informed of the supervisory status of the counselor. Informed consent is necessary as in other situations. Issues related to confidentiality and privacy may arise when combining counselor supervision and counseling, which is why the supervisory relationship presents ethical issues unique to that situation. Therefore, the supervisor needs to disclose all professional credentials for review (Zur, 2015). Finally, the supervisor is in a position of hierarchal power relative to the less experienced counselor, but this does not mean that the supervisor can treat the supervised with disrespect or cross any boundaries such as those related to sexual harassment.

References

Herlihy, B. (n.d.). Legal and ethical issues in school counselor supervision - Special issue: legal and ethical issues in school counseling. Retrieved online: http://education.missouristate.edu/assets/counseling/Legal_and_ethical_issues_in_school_counselor_supervision.doc

Zur, O. (2015). Professional organizations' codes of ethics on supervision in psychotherapy and counseling. Zur Institute. Retrieved online: http://www.zurinstitute.com/ethics_of_supervision.html#ACA

Explain the practice of using tests in counseling.

The most common use of tests in counseling includes the assessment of the client, gleaning information that may be used for proper and evidence-based client placement, and information related to further professional guidance such as the need to refer the client to other practitioners if necessary. Some assessments measure specific issues such as anxiety, whereas others provide broader personality assessments or assessments of goals. Assessments may also directly "assist clients to increase their self-knowledge, practice decision making, and acquire new behaviors," (Hoover, 1988). In other words, assessments provide information that can be shared between the counselor and the client. Information learned from the assessment can be transformed into exercises for the client or worked into the therapeutic setting. Multiple theoretical orientations support, and some may even necessitate, the use of tests in counseling in the therapeutic process. Testing can help counselors understand specific issues, and can also help initiate discussions with the client about the issues an assessment raised.

Testing frequently raises ethical concerns including confidentiality and the intended purpose of the test, the validity of the test instrument and process of delivery, and disclosure to the client about the history, nature, and purpose of the assessment as well as the significance of the results. Test results cannot be shared with third parties to uphold confidentiality agreements, for example. There are also ethical issues associated with misuse or misinterpretation of the assessment results, overreliance on assessments and other concerns. Some of those concerns center on the use of testing in human resources contexts. There may also be gender and cultural biases embedded in some tests and how they are interpreted and used. Hoover (1988) also suggests that counselors take the test themselves before administering it to clients to improve their ethical integrity. Counselors should of course possess the necessary education and training to administer the tests they use.

References

Hoover, R.M. (1988). Counselors' use of tests. Retrieved online: http://www.ericdigests.org/pre-9211/tests.htm

Explain the themes involved in gender-sensitive couples and family therapy. 1 page

Gender-sensitive couples and family therapy recognizes the power and status differential between males and females evident in almost all societies, while also retaining awareness of cultural differences that might have a bearing on gender identity and gender role normativity. Moreover, gender-sensitive couples and family therapy validates the different and often conflicting perspectives of both men and women in couples and family therapy. Gender-sensitive couples and family therapy acknowledges both similarities and differences between genders in terms of emotionality, interpersonal communication styles, moral reasoning, self-esteem, and verbal abilities (David, n.d.; Philpot, 1991). Essentially, a gender-sensitive approach does not deny that gender role socialization and gender identity have strong bearings on one's self-concept and on one's interpersonal relationships.

Because couples and family therapy often assume a systems approach that acknowledges that relationship problems are often connected with external issues and events, it makes sense that gender sensitivity would be important to the success of these therapies. Recognizing the way gender impacts social, political, and economic realities and structures helps the therapist to better understand all parties regardless of their genders.

Primary themes that might emerge during gender-sensitive therapy include roles within the household and family versus roles outside the domestic environment; the intersections between ethnicity, class, status, age, and gender; and the ways gender identity have impacted personal psychology for all individuals involved. Gender-sensitivity may occasionally enable discussions related to sexuality in couples' therapy. A gender-sensitive approach recognizes that status in relationships is sometimes linked to gender, and that conflict between family members can often be traced to different concepts of gender roles and norms. Goals of gender-sensitive counseling are not necessarily different than they are for other couples and family approaches, but in some cases therapeutic goals might include greater awareness of the ways gender has impacted communication.

References

David, P. (n.d.). Gender sensitivity in couple therapy. Retrieved online: http://pauldavidphd.com/wp-content/uploads/Gender-Sensitivity-in-Couple-Therapy1.pdf

Philpot, C.L. (1991). Gender sensitive couples' therapy. Journal of Family Psychotherapy 2(3): 19-40.

Delineate some psychological risks involved in group participation.

Before commencing a group therapy session, the counselor should ascertain the client's knowledge about the experience, prior experience in group therapy, and goals. Moreover, the counselor should field any questions and hear any concerns the client might have regarding group therapy. As there are many different types and models of group therapy, the counselor should offer full disclosure regarding the nature, purpose, size, and leader of the group. The counselor should also provide clear outlines of expected behaviors in the group such as level of verbal participation expected from the client.

Other ethical issues relate more to individual client experiences. Care must be taken with clients who have a history of brain damage, antisocial personality disorder, paranoid tendencies, and other issues that might impede the group ("Ethical Issues in Group Work," n.d.). Minors might also require special consideration and parental consent. The counselor might also need to discuss issues that might come up in the group therapy sessions such as fears, risks, anxieties, and resistance to the process. Additionally, group therapy presents obvious privacy and confidentiality concerns, The counselor needs to discuss these concerns with the client, and let the client know about their rights to refrain from sharing or decline to participate in certain group activities because usually legal rights to confidentiality do not apply as much to the group setting ("Ethical Issues in Group Work," n.d.). Finally, the counselor might need to tell the client that their participation in the group could have a bearing on their social lives outside the group if other group members also end up being a part of the client's life in some other way ("Ethical Issues in Group Work," n.d.). Procedures and guidelines for leaving the group should also be outlined or printed if possible for maximum clarity.

Ethical concerns with group leaders include social interactions leading to scapegoating, prejudice, peer pressure, and confrontation. The counselor needs to be aware of their own personal responsibility as moderator, who must protect clients while also promoting the goals of the group.

References

"Ethical Issues in Group Work," (n.d.). University of Idaho. Retrieved online: http://www.webpages.uidaho.edu/psyc475/pdf/chapter_12.pdf

Articulate why a community perspective is important to the counselor.

A community perspective links the needs of the community with the needs of the individuals living within it. Fusing social work and psychology in critical ways, a community perspective takes into account racial, ethnic, and cultural diversity within the community and recognizes that community has a strong bearing on individual psychology. The person's role in the community might impact the person's self-image, self-concept, and self-esteem, for example. Gender issues will also become highly relevant when viewed from a community perspective. The community perspective recognizes that individuals do not exist in isolation of others, and that psychological issues are best understood from a systemic approach.

The community perspective can be… [END OF PREVIEW]

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