Ethical Principles in Clinical Mental Health

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The field of clinical mental health is one of great reward, but also one of grave responsibility. It is the duty of the counselor to provide the client with a safe environment and an open mind, in order to foster a healthy therapeutic relationship. The majority of mental health counselors would never intentionally harm their clients; however; good intentions are not enough to ensure that wrong will not occur. The ethical expectations and boundaries are regulated by both laws and professional codes. When discussing ethics, one must realize there are two categories, mandatory and aspirational. (Corey, Corey & Callanan, 2007) Mandatory ethics is the level of functioning where the counselor is abiding by the basic “do’s and don’ts” of professional counseling. These are definitive codes that will protect a counselor from legal action and professional censure. All mental health professionals will be held accountable by the minimum standards set by state licensure boards and courts of law. Issues addressed by the Code of Conduct of the American Psychological Association (APA) include, but are not limited to, competence, human relations, confidentiality and fees. (American Psychological Association, 2002) Aspirational ethics reach toward higher standards than those of mandatory ethics, requiring the counselor to possess a stronger sense of duty. These principles guide counselors to do more than simply meet the “letter of the law” of the ethics code. The welfare of the client becomes the main focus of the counselor, who takes into consideration not only the interventions, but also the effects on the client. (Kottler & Shepard, 2011) Aspirational ethics include, but are not limited to the following principles. Aut... ... middle of paper ... ...g with veracity include not only the basic expectation that we are honest in our professional interactions, but also in the area of informed consent. Counselors must be honest with clients concerning all areas of treatment, including the responsibilities for reporting certain information to parents or the authorities. The client must be made aware that counselors are accountable to the client, but legally as well. Works Cited American Psychological Association, . (2002, August 21). Ethical principles of psychologists and code of conduct. Retrieved from kttp:// Corey, G., Corey, M., & Callanan, P. (2007). Issues and ethics in the helping professions. Belmont, CA: Brooks/Cole Publishing. Kottler, J., & Shepard, D. (2011). Introduction to counseling voices from the field. Belmont, CA: Brooks/Cole Publishing.

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