Ethical Principles Essay Sample
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Ethical Principles Essay Sample
This session we were asked to consider the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy ( B.A.C.P ), ethical principles and apply these in counselling practice, in relation to a scenario we had been asked to relate to. I have attempted to cover criteria numbers’ 1.1,1.2 & 6.6 Principles direct attention to important ethical responsibilities, B.A.C.P (2013). A practitioners obligation is to consider all the relevant circumstances with as much care as is reasonably possible. With the emphasis that the counsellor be accountable for any decisions made. Ethical principles include : Being Trustworthy : Honouring the trust placed in the practitioner and the agreements made with the client. Strive to ensure that clients expectations are ones that have reasonable prospects of being met. Acting in accordance with the trust placed in them. Gaining the client’s trust by ensuring and upholding privacy and confidentiality.
To assist in building a therapeutic relationship between client and counsellor. Autonomy : This principle emphasises the clients right to be self governing. To support the client to develop the ability to become independent and make choices. Keeping to the clients agenda. Ensure the client is aware of and understands the services offered by the counsellor. Construct a contract and involve the client as much as possible. Protect privacy, confidentiality. Explain limitations to confidentiality. Gain written consent from client. Be aware of personal limitations and be prepared to refer client to other members of the multi disciplinary team as/when necessary. Keeping the client informed at all times. Beneficence; A commitment to promoting the client’s well-being. Acting in the best interests of the client, based on professional assessment. Working within the counsellors limits of competence/experience. Page 6 Justify actions/decisions made. Referring the client as/when necessary. Monitoring practice. Using research and reflection to inform practice.
Enhancing the quality of the service offered by utilising regular and ongoing supervision. Updating practice by continuing professional development. Acting as the clients advocate when the capacity for them to be autonomous is diminished owing to immaturity, lack of understanding, extreme distress or other significant personal constraints. Non-maleficence : A commitment to avoiding harm to the client. To work ethically/safely. Work within boundaries as set out in the contract to maintain a safe, structured session. Not providing services when unfit to do so owing to illness, personal problems or intoxication. Holding appropriate insurance. Recognising and challenging incompetence or malpractice of others. Reporting any incidences which may discredit the profession. Justice : The fair and impartial treatment of all clients and the provision of adequate services. Consideration of any legal requirements and obligations, and conflicts between legal and ethical obligations. Respecting human rights and dignity.
No discrimination, respecting diversity. A commitment to fairness. A duty to ensure fair provision of services to all clients. Ensuring services offered are appropriate and accessible to the client’s needs. Self respect : Fostering the practitioner’s self knowledge and care for self. To appropriately apply the above mentioned principles to oneself. Working towards self awareness and taking care of the self. Taking time to relax, enjoy hobbies, time with family/friends. Obtaining appropriate insurance to safe guard oneself against financial liabilities which may arise from work. Ensuring up-to-date professional development. Seeking counselling or therapy. Regular supervision for support, to monitor/evaluate practice. The scenario stated that; Page 7 ”Your client is struggling to bring up her eleven year old Daughter after the death of her partner two months ago. You have noticed during the last two sessions that she smells of alcohol, despite your appointments being first thing in the morning.
What might you do” ? Criteria 6.6 I would have addressed the situation by asking the client how things had been since the last session. In an attempt to allow the client to relax, by considering the person-centred approach to counselling as suggested by Carl Rogers ( 1902-1987). During the 1940’s Rogers suggested a non- directive approach to counselling, considering the client’s feelings. That three core conditions are crucial to facilitating therapeutic growth; genuineness, unconditional positive regard, empathic understanding. I feel that by expressing genuineness in relation to Rogers theory to the client I was relating to her in a sincere and non-defensive manner in an attempt to explore with her the reason for the alcohol. Genuineness encourages client self-disclosure ( Sutton and Stewart (2008).
At this point, a colleague stated she would have challenged/confronted the client directly about the fact that they smelt of alcohol and that this was the case the previous week too. I explained that as providing the client was of no immediate risk to herself owing to consuming alcohol and wasn’t acting in a violent or aggressive manner to myself, that I wouldn’t feel compelled to end the session and /or inform my supervisor at that stage. I was showing unconditional positive regard to the client. Acceptance of the client without judgement, as Rogers suggested. In relation to her smelling of alcohol. I was attempting to demonstrate to the client that I was trustworthy and was trying to build a therapeutic relationship with them, that taking a challenging/confronting approach so early in the relationship could damage what I was trying to achieve. The aim of challenging is to provide accurate information and to offer our perspective, Sutton and Stewart (2008). To challenge the strengths of the client rather than the weaknesses.
I feel that if I had challenged the client about her smelling of alcohol this may have been seen as a criticism and may have caused further harm to the client. She may have not returned for further sessions. Wheeler, et al (2004) suggest that Page 8 challenging/confronting is safest when the relationship is well established. Criteria 1.1 Other colleagues raised their concerns regarding child protection issues, surrounding the fact the client’s eleven year old Daughter needed to be considered. I felt that even though the scenario mentioned the client was struggling to look after her Daughter since the death of her partner two months previously, this didn’t necessarily imply to me she was in any immediate risk/danger . I felt at this point I was empathising with the client. Putting myself into her position of caring for her Daughter after the recent death of her partner, as I have had a close bereavement myself and still had children to care for. Expressing empathy is the ability to step into the client’s world , (Saunders 2011), without losing the as if quality.
Therefore, I felt that by ending the session and informing the relevant authorities as the client smelt of alcohol and had an eleven year old Daughter to consider, seemed a little extreme to me. Though the child could be at risk of unintentional neglect , which needed to be kept in mind. ”A decision or course of action does not necessarily become unethical merely because it is contentious or other practitioners would have reached different conclusions in similar circumstances,” B.A.C.P (2013). Criteria 1.2 I wasn’t really feeling 100% this session as I was recovering from a minor operation a couple of days previously and was feeling tired . Therefore felt I really needed longer to consider my response to this situation. I would have explored with the client her difficulties of caring for her Daughter. What if any, support she had at home from family/friends. Considering possible agencies which may be able to offer support to the client such as local bereavement care for herself and her Daughter.
Referral to GP to assess if they could offer any support regarding the clients consumption of alcohol so early in the day. I would have made notes in the session , informing the client that this would be done to enable me to evaluate/monitor my service. That I may discuss this case with my supervisor for support/guidance. Maintaining confidentiality to my client. Explaining limits to Page 9 confidentiality as would have been originally mentioned during the original assessment/first session. Though in hindsight , in relation to the client drinking alcohol, it would have to be considered if the client had the ability to understand the constraints of the contract. Owing to the fact that I wasn’t really feeling completely well, in a real situation I would have taken sick leave from work as a counsellor as my ability to react to this situation may have been compromised. ”A practitioner’s obligation is to consider all the relevant circumstances with as much care as is reasonably possible and to be appropriately accountable for decisions made”. B.A.C.P (2013).
I attempted to apply the Ethical Principles to the scenario by showing the client I was : 1) Trustworthy by attempting to build a therapeutic relationship with them. 2) Demonstrating Autonomy by respecting the the client’s confidentiality when writing notes. Keeping to the client’s agenda. By allowing them privacy and the time/opportunity to explore their concerns. Not challenging their behaviour at that point ( alcohol). 3) Considering Beneficence to the client by realising my own level of competence/experience wouldn’t be sufficient to support the client, by also referring to other members of the multi-disciplinary team such as her GP and other agencies which may be able to offer support. Being aware of research/approaches/skills used to inform counselling skills. ( Carl Rogers 1902-1987), (Saunders 2011), ( Sutton And Stewart 2008), ( Wheeler et al 2004). Seeking supervision/support.
4) Referring to Non-maleficenc I wouldn’t have made myself available for work as a counsellor as I wasn’t feeling fit enough owing to my recent procedure. I would have made other arrangements for my client as I was given previous notice about the procedure and would have informed them I would have been unavailable until the following week. Ensuring they had a suitable appointment with a colleague and/or support until our next appointment. 5) I felt I demonstrated Justice to my client by not discriminating against her owing to her smelling of alcohol. That I considered her ability to understand the limitations to confidentiality and the contract we had made. Being aware that I needed to be mindful of the client’s Daughter and to ensure that she was at no risk owing to her Mother’s drinking of alcohol. 6) I feel that by identify I wouldn’t have been fit to practice, shows Self respect not only for my own needs, but respecting my profession also. By seeking support/guidance from my supervisor.