Ethical Issues in Counseling Practices

EthicalIssues in Counseling Practices

ACACode of Ethics is a comprehensive list of professional regulationsthat counselors observe in order to maintain a professionalrelationship with clients. According to the code of ethics document,informed consent is a customer’s right to choose whether he or shelikes to stay in a professional relationship with a givenprofessional. Besides, the section provides a client power to revisethe agreement to the counselling relationship (ACA Governing Council,2014, p. 4). In my view, informed consent ethical code is valuable incounselling as it ensures that therapists consult patients beforethey embark on any form of treatment. Besides, a counselor is obligedto prove his or her qualifications, charges and other importantinformation that a customer would like to know prior to accepting theservice. It minimizes misunderstanding that can cause conflictbetween a customer and a counselor.

Thecode of counseling ethics obliges therapists to keep clients’information confidential. In fact, the confidentiality level is amongthe main objectives clients analyze when evaluating the informedconsent. However, therapists can break confidentiality if theirclients confess that they would either harm other people ofthemselves. Second, if a client acknowledges that he or she isengaged in child abuse or the client is a child abuse victim. Third,therapists may break confidentiality if a court of law orders him orher to testify the information the patient divulged during therapysessions. Fourth, if clients are suffering from a contagious disease.Lastly, if a client’s lawyer uses a patient’s state of mind aspart of evidence or defense towards a given crime (ACA GoverningCouncil, 2014, p. 7). Personally, I believe a law allowing therapiststo break confidentiality is necessary because he or she can help tosave an innocent life or even patients from doing criminal offencesthat may land them into trouble.

Dualrelationships can cause damage in psychotherapy since a therapists orpatient might cross the ethical boundary. In addition, either thetherapist or patients might exploit the other. For instance, a sonseeking counselling therapy from a mother or a wife attendingcounselling session offered by her husband might fail to pay for theservices since they have a dual relationship. In addition, a patientmight find it difficult to reveal some confidential problem to herhusband, mother or a boss offering counselling services thus makingthe service inefficient (ACA Governing Council, 2014, p. 10).However, in my view, dual relationships should not be a problem forindividuals operating under professional standards as it does notwarrant violation of ethics. Besides, professional counselors can puttheir personal relationship with the patients while offering medicalproviding psychotherapy services, which in turn puts ethics violationout of the question.


ACAGoverning Council (2014). 2014 ACA Code of Ethics. AmericanCounselling Association, web. Retrieved on January 13, 2015 from