Counselor Ethics and Responsibilities Essay Paper

Counselor Ethics and Responsibilities Essay Paper


According to the American Counseling Association (2014), “The primary responsibility of counselors is to respect the dignity and promote the welfare of clients” (p.4). In order to uphold this responsibility, counselors must “respect and safeguard the client’s right to privacy and confidentiality” (ACA, 2014, p.4). Counselors are expected to explore and make an effort to understand the various cultural backgrounds of their clients (ACA, 2014, p.4). In addition, it is important for counselor to be aware of “their own cultural identities and how these affect their values and beliefs about the counseling process” (ACA, 2014, p.4).This summary will focus on my personal values, as a counselor and how I plan to incorporate principles of ethical practice in order to maintain clients’ rights. Counselor Ethics and Responsibilities Essay Paper. The responsibilities to warn and protect will also be explored as well as the role of client record keeping.


Counselor Values

            Abortion has been and will always be a world-wide issue in which I strongly disagree. I feel that there are thousands of women that struggle with child-bearing and they would give anything for an opportunity to love and raise an unwanted child. We have all made unwise decisions and I understand that some women feel that abortion is the only option due to their financial, relationship, and socioeconomic statuses. However, if pregnancy is a result of the unwise decisions made, I do not feel that the unborn child should have to suffer. I do believe that no sin is greater than the other but I do not believe that God gave women the gift of bearing children just for it to be abused. After witnessing several women struggle with fertility issues, I have gained a sincere passion for adoption. Counselor Ethics and Responsibilities Essay Paper. Although some women feel that it would be even harder to give up a child once they have went through all the pain and labor, I strongly believe that it would be the best option as opposed to abortion.

Extramarital affairs is another common issue in today’s society. I do not feel that it is morally appropriate for spouses to have affairs outside of their marriages. A sacred vow was made before God and many family and friends. It is impossible for marriages to be perfect and spouses will not always agree with one another. However, a commitment was made to love, honor, and protect until death separates that two. As a child, I watched my mother put up with infidelity from my step-father. I was my mother’s self-esteem slowly deteriorate and she began to blame herself for his behavior. I felt that my step-father should have been an adult and effectively communicated his concerns and issues with my mother. I know that all things happen for a reason and sometimes God places specific people in our lives only for a season. Nonetheless, I feel that the cheating spouse should have enough respect for his/her mate to honestly admit that he/she is not happy so that a decision can be made of whether or not to work on or terminate the marriage.

As a counselor, it is important for me to be aware of my “own values, attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors” and I must “avoid imposing” them on my clients (ACA, 2014, p.5). If I had a 19 year-old client that asked me to help her change her parents’ attitudes about her desire to have an abortion, I would first explain to her that I am not in an appropriate position to attempt to change he parents’ thoughts and beliefs. Counselor Ethics and Responsibilities Essay Paper. I would be willing to offer neutral support in a group session with my client and her parents but I would refrain from forcing my beliefs on either of them. Although I strongly disagree with abortions, I will not discriminate against or treat my client disrespectfully.

If I were counseling a couple where both spouses were having affairs and enjoyed not being monogamous, I would most likely consider referring one of the clients to a different counselor. The American Counseling Association (2014) suggests that a counselor appropriately adjusts or withdraws from a role if “it becomes apparent that the counselor may have to perform potentially conflicting roles” (p.6). In this specific situation, I feel that each spouse should engage in individual counseling sessions in order to focus on the factors that resulted in the marital strain as well as the reason why each of them have a desire to have sexual relations with other people. In order to provide effective and adequate counseling to this couple, I feel that it would be best for them to have their own individual counselor. Counselor Ethics and Responsibilities Essay Paper. This will allow me to protect my client’s privacy as well as minimize or avoid any harm that could arise (ACA, 2014, p.4).

Client Rights

            Counselors must have the responsibility of maintaining clients’ rights. This can be done by following the principles of ethical practice. “These principals are the foundation for ethical behavior and decision making” (ACA, 2014, p.3). Autonomy refers to “the right to control the direction of one’s life” (ACA, 2014, p.3). As a counselor, I must allow my clients to be in control of their own lives and their treatment process. Counselor Ethics and Responsibilities Essay Paper. I will offer support and guidance as each of my clients work towards achieving the goals that they have set for themselves without imposing my thoughts or beliefs on them. Nonmaleficence refers to “avoiding actions that cause harm” (ACA, 2014, p.3). As a counselor, I am aware that my thoughts and opinions can cause more harm than help which is why I will refrain from doing so. I will not discriminate against any of my clients and I am aware that I must terminate the counseling relationship if it is causing harm to the client (ACA, 2014, p.6). Beneficence refers to “working for the good of the individual and society by promoting mental health and well-being” (ACA, 2014, p.3). As a counselor, I will be very involved in my community and will devote some of my time to volunteering and educating those who are unaware of mental health issues and its effects. The American Counseling Association (2014) states that “counselors are encouraged to contribute to society by devoting a portion of their professional activities for little or no financial return” (p.4). I will also keep my clients’ best interest at heart. I understand that I must empower them to independently obtain and maintain a successful life.

Justice refers to “treating individuals equitably and fostering fairness and equality” (ACA, 2014, p.3). According to the American Psychological Association (2010), Counselors “must exercise reasonable judgment and take precautions to ensure that their potential biases, the boundaries of their competence, and the limitations of their expertise do not lead to or condone unjust practices” (p.3-4). Counselor Ethics and Responsibilities Essay Paper. In order to show justice within my practice, I will treat each client with the utmost respect and I will provide equal and quality services to each of them despite our differences in values and beliefs. I will only practice within the scope of my expertise and will respond appropriately if faced with a case that is beyond my level of competence (NAADAC, 2011). Fidelity refers to “honoring commitments and keeping promises, including fulfilling one’s responsibilities of trust in professional relationships” (ACA, 2014, p.3). Counselors must establish relationships of trust with their clients (APA, 2010, p.3). In order to gain their trust, I will “uphold professional standards of conduct, clarify my professional roles and obligations, accept appropriate responsibility for my behavior, and seek to manage conflicts of interest that could lead to exploitation or harm (APA, 2010, p.3).

All counselors “must uphold the same ethical standards” about confidentiality and clients’ rights “even though each state imposes different legal limits” on the counselor’s ability to do so. “The first step in protecting the rights of clients is the informed consent document” (Callanan, Corey, Corey, & Corey, 2015, p.154). Callanan et al. (2015), stated that “informed consent involves the right of clients to be informed about their therapy and to make autonomous decisions pertaining to it” (p.154). Informed consent “is integral to the formation of a balanced and healthy therapeutic relationship” (Fisher & Oransky, 2008, p.576). In addition, it “emphasizes the patient’s role in making treatment decision, increasing a sense of ownership over the process” (Fisher & Oransky, 2008, p.576). Counselor Ethics and Responsibilities Essay Paper. The informed consent process allows counselors to meet the ethical requirements to “disclose to clients the risks, benefits, and alternatives to treatment” (Callanan et. al., 2015, p.155).

Counselors are responsible for discussing information about fees, payment options and plans (APA, 2008, p.582).  Clients should be informed “of the percentage of therapy costs covered by their health insurance and any limitations their health plan may put on the number of sessions it will cover” (APA, 2008, p.582). According to Callanan et. al, (2015), “Informed consent form should state that the managed care company may request a client’s diagnosis, results on any tests given, a wide range of clinical information, treatment plans, and perhaps even the entire clinical record of a client” (p.157). Counselor Ethics and Responsibilities Essay Paper. Clients have a right to privacy and confidentiality and counselors may only disclose information with “appropriate consent or with sound or ethical justification” (ACA, 2014, p.7). Counselors providing services “must include in their informed consent procedure requirements of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA)” (APA, 2008, p.584). “HIPAA regulations cover any clinical practice or healthcare provider that electronically creates or receives protected health information (PHI) from insurance companies” (APA, 2008, p.584). Each client must receive a Notice of Privacy Practices, “which includes a document detailing patients’ rights to access and amend their PHI, restrict uses and disclosures, and to receive an accounting of disclosures made by the provider to others during the past 6 years” (APA, 2008, p.584). All credentialing boards require counselors to incorporate informed consent into their practice. Counselor Ethics and Responsibilities Essay Paper. This allows the boards to ensure that counselors are displaying and maintaining ethical conduct in order to provide competent and quality services.

Responsibility to Warn and Protect

            The duty to warn refers to circumstances that requires counselors to make an effort to contact the identified victim that a client has threatened to seriously harm or notify the law enforcement of the threat (Callanan et al., 2015, p.223). The duty to protect refers to situations where counselors have “a legal obligation to protect an identified third party who is being threatened” (Callanan et al., 2015, p.223). The duty to warn requires disclosure of confidential information to the individual being threatened; the duty to protect provides alternatives in order to maintain the client’s confidentiality (Callanan et al., p.223). Counselors must keep in mind that the utilizing the duty to warn can cause inappropriate breaches of confidentiality that could negatively affect the therapeutic relationship. Counselor Ethics and Responsibilities Essay Paper. In addition, an individual’s safety is not guaranteed (Callanan et al., 2015, p.223). In order to determine my responsibilities to warn and protect, I would thoroughly access the severity of the situation presented. I would also consider the client’s mental state at that particular time. It is important for me to find out if my client has a thought out plan to implement. If I feel that my client is very capable of harming someone or themselves, I would first reach out to my supervisor for further instructions. Counselor Ethics and Responsibilities Essay Paper.


Client Record-Keeping

            Counselors have an important responsibility of keeping adequate records on their clients. Adequate records allow counselors to provide high-quality and effective services for clients. It also allows a client to maintain continuity of care if he/she is transferred from one counselor to another. Counselors are protected by quality documentation because it indicates that adequate care was provided. From a legal perspective, accurate and detailed records can provide exceptional support and defense against certain malpractice or liability claims (Callanan et al., 2015, p.166). Counselor Ethics and Responsibilities Essay Paper.


In conclusion, counselors have important responsibilities in their therapeutic relationships with their clients. They must conduct themselves in an ethical and legal manner. Counselors must keep in mind that “client welfare and trust in the profession depend on a high level of professional conduct” (ACA, 2014, p.19). Counselors are entitled to their values and beliefs but they must respect those of their clients even if they differ (Shallcross, 2010). Counselors must “respect the dignity and worth of all people, and the rights of individuals to privacy, confidentiality, and self-determination” (APA, 2010, p.4). By doing this, counselors are able to provide quality care to their clients and have a powerful impact on their lives. Counselor Ethics and Responsibilities Essay Paper. 


American Counseling Association. (2014). 2014 ACA code of ethics [PDF Document]. Retrieved

on May 31, 2016 from


American Psychological Association. (2010). Ethical principles of psychologists and code of

            Conduct [PDF Document]. Retrieved on May 31, 2016 from


Callanan, P., Corey, C., Corey, G., Corey, M.S. (2015). Issues and ethics in the helping

professions (9th ed.). Stamford, CT: Cengage Learning.

Fisher, C.B., & Oransky, M. (2008). Informed consent to psychotherapy: Protecting the dignity

and respecting the autonomy of patients. Journal of Clinical Psychology, 64(5), 576-588.

doi:10.1002/jclp.20472. Retrieved on May 31, 2016 from


b=a9h&AN=31735126 Counselor Ethics and Responsibilities Essay Paper

Fisher, M. A. (2008). Protecting confidentiality rights: The need for an ethical practice model.

            American Psychologist, 63(1), 1-13. doi:10.1037/0003-006X.63.1.1. Retrieved on May

31, 2016 from



National Association of Alcohol and Drug Abuse Counselors. (2011). Ethical standards of

alcoholism and drug abuse counselors [PDF Document]. Retrieved on May 31, 2016

from http://www.naadac.orgassets/1959/naadac_code_of_ethics_brochure.pdf


Shallcross, L. (2010). Putting clients ahead of personal values. Retrieved on May 31, 2016, from



Putting clients ahead of personal values


Access and review the “Counselor Ethics and Responsibilities   Assignment Guidelines.” Complete the paper according to the   assignment guidelines.

Include at least six scholarly resources in addition to the textbook   in your paper.

Prepare this assignment according to the guidelines found in the APA   Style Guide, located in the Student Success Center.

This assignment uses a rubric. Please review the rubric prior to   beginning the assignment to become familiar with the expectations for   successful completion.

You are required to submit this assignment to Turnitin. Please refer   to the directions in the Student Success Center.

This assignment meets the following CACREP Standards:

2.F.1.b. The multiple professional roles and functions of     counselors across specialty areas, and their relationships with     human service and integrated behavioral health care systems,     including interagency and interorganizational collaboration and consultation.

2.F.1.c. Counselors’ roles and responsibilities as members     of interdisciplinary community outreach and emergency management     response teams.

2.F.1.d. The role and process of the professional counselor     advocating on behalf of the profession.

2.F.1.e. Advocacy processes needed to address institutional and     social barriers that impede access, equity, and success for clients.

2.F.1.l. Self-care strategies appropriate to the     counselor role.

5.C.2.a. Roles and settings of clinical mental health counselors.

This assignment meets the following NASAC Standards:

15) Understand the variety of insurance and health maintenance     options available, and appreciate the importance of helping clients     access those benefits.

Below is textbook (must use for a reference) Attached is a sample assignment of how it should look please do not use.

The template for the assignment and the expectation. 

textbook; Counselor Ethics and Responsibilities Essay Paper.

Open chat
WhatsApp chat +1 908-954-5454
We are online
Our papers are plagiarism-free, and our service is private and confidential. Do you need any writing help?