ACA Code of Ethics
Complying with foundational ethical principles is imperative for a counselor; otherwise, the effects of their services are bound to be deplorable (Davis, 2014). Serving as the set of guidelines that counsels are supposed to use when addressing ethical concerns, the ACA Code of Ethics is represented by a series of principles that help improve the quality of people’s lives. The issue associated with the process of retrieving the patient’s informed consent (A.2.a) is especially interesting as it needs to reflect the changes in the IT area that have been occurring over the past few decades. Addressing the differences in counseling approaches adequately (D.1.a) is another issue of interest for me since I could use improvement in negotiation skills.
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It should be borne in mind that changes in the current ethical standards are inevitable. With the emergence of new ideas, phenomena, and means of social interaction, new ethical issues are bound to be spotted. Consequently, it will be necessary to make sure that ethical problems should be addressed successfully. To remain up-to-date with the latest changes in the ethical Code, one will have to consider online subscriptions for news and updates.
ASCA Ethical Standards for School Counselors
Another collection of ethical principles that counselors should take into account the ASCA ethical standards put a very heavy emphasis on the significance of ethical behavior among counselors. Creating and promoting a peer support program in the school setting (A.8.b) is also of great interest to me. Similarly, I am willing to understand the needs of underserviced members of the population in accordance with the A.10.e point of the guide. Similarly to the case of ACA, using e-mail subscriptions as the primary means of keeping updated on the changes to the Code seems reasonable.
Ohio Laws Regulating the Practice of Counseling
Meeting the legal standards of the state is crucial to make sure that the needs of all stakeholders involved are met successfully. Therefore, when carrying out counseling services, I will have to consider the ethical and legal standards of Ohio. Most of the information concerning the ethical standards of counseling can be found at http://codes.ohio.gov, which is a rather trustworthy governmental resource. In Ohio, updates on the crucial changes to the current ethical standards and regulations can be provided to counselors via subscription. Furthermore, local journals and newsletters can be used to retrieve crucial information about the most recent changes to the ethical principles and regulations by which the decision-making processes of the Ohio counselors are guided.
Case 1: a former client. A case in point is a graphic representation of an agreement between two essential points of the ACA Code of Ethics. Particularly, the A.5.c paragraph of the ACA Code of Ethics states that at least five years must pass before a legal advisor may start personal interactions with a former client. Indeed, according to the Code, any form of the romantic relationship is “prohibited for a period of 5 years following the last professional contact” (ACA Code of Ethics, 2014, p. 5). Similarly, the Ohio Standards of Ethical Practice indicate that close relationships between a counselor and their former client are only acceptable after five years since the last encounter of the two (Ohio laws and rules, 2016). Seeing that an affair with a former customer is likely to entail significant legal issues along with ethical ones, it will be necessary to consider the legal implications first and then identify the ethics-related priorities.
Case 2: personal records. The case under analysis is covered by the ACA Code of Ethics. To be more specific, paragraph B.5.c states explicitly that the process of providing the customer’s personal data must be sanctioned by the customer in question. Therefore, it will be necessary to request the permission to retrieve the relevant data from the client before proceeding with the further data management: “When counseling minor clients or adult clients who lack the capacity to give voluntary consent to release confidential information, counselors seek permission from an appropriate third party to disclose information” (ACA Code of Ethics, 2014, p. 7). The specified instructions coincide with the ones that the Ohio ethical standards suggest as the primary course of action in the specified case. It should be noted, though, that, according to the Ohio ethical standards, the permission to use the available personal data should be submitted in written form:
The licensee shall ask the client or legal guardian to provide written authorization that describes the purpose and need for the third party to join the session and describes the circumstances and extent to which confidential information may be disclosed to the third party. (Chapter 4757-5 code of ethics, 2014, para. 7)
Therefore, it will be necessary to request the customer to fill in the form that will give the counselor permission to use the stated data. Seeing that the unwarranted disclosure of personal information is a punishable offense, the legal regulations will be the primary guidelines for the decision-making process.
Case 3: a threat to the teachers. When interviewing a student to retrieve personal information in order to assure her well-being, a counselor will have to create an environment in which the premises for complete confidentiality should be created. According to the ASCA Code of Ethics (A.1.b), a counselor must maintain the student’s privacy and make sure that the data acquired in the course of counseling should not be disclosed to a third party. Unless the student is willing to tell the parents about her issues, the counselor will not be eligible for providing the parents with the specified data.
In the case under analysis, a partial or complete disclosure of the student’s information, however, may be a necessity in case withholding the data any further will mean jeopardizing her well-being or threatening her life. In other words, the counselor must “recognize their primary ethical obligation for confidentiality is to the students but balance that obligation with an understanding of parents’/guardians’ legal and inherent rights to be the guiding voice in their children’s lives” (ASCA ethical standards for school counselors, 2016, p. 2). In any other instance, the counselor must make sure that the student’s personal data should remain in secrecy (Stone & Dahir, 2015). Therefore, it will be necessary to provide counseling services to the concerned parents and educate them about the need to respect their child’s privacy. At the same time, the counselor should seek ways of promoting openness and trust among the girl and her parents. The case under analysis is quite complicated due to the clash of ethical and legal issues that it includes. However, when addressing the needs of the student mentioned above, one will have to focus on ethical standards and principles in order to facilitate the complete safety and security of the teenager.
ACA Code of Ethics. (2014). Web.
ASCA ethical standards for school counselors. (2016). Web.
Chapter 4757-5 code of ethics. (2014). Web.
Davis, T. E. (2014). Exploring school counseling. Stamford, CT: Cengage Learning.
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Ohio laws and rules. (2016). Web.
Stone, C., & Dahir, C. A. (2015). The transformed school counselor. Stamford, CT: Cengage Learning.