Ethics and Law in the Field of Counseling

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Ethics is the judgement and the moral actions used in interactions with cultures and society and its focus is on the client well-being. Ethics is defined by Remley and Herlihy (2010) in the counseling field as “professional behavioral and interactions” (p.4). Counselors do rely and are guide by Codes of Ethics. The role and relevance of the ethical principals, the ACA and AMHCA Code of Ethics are the base of the counseling profession. Without them this career would not have a guide on how the professionals should act and react professionally in all the different situations that are faced in this field.

However, there are some cases that professionals have to rely on the Law. The Law is different from moral principles and Code of Ethics and its focus is on the legal perspective to protect the professional. The Law is defined by Remley and Herlihy (2010) as “general or specific regarding both what is required and what is allowed of individuals who from a governmental entity” (p.4). One major example is the Tarasoff and the Duty to Protect which is a law that was created after the case that happened with a university student, Tatiana Tarasoff and her boyfriend. Tarasoff’s parents sue the psychotherapists alleging that the professionals should have warned the student. Because of this case, the law raised a major concern that the confidentiality that professionals should follow according to the ACA and AMHCA Code of Ethics has to be broken when there is an issue that can affect a third party in the situation. Like the AMHCA refers to confidentiality as “a right granted to all clients of mental health counseling services. From the onset of the counseling relationship, mental health counselors inform clients of these rights inclu...

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.... Also following a guideline pointed by Saddler (1986 -retrive from Forester-Miller, H., & Davis, T., 1996) counselors should apply the three test in their practice. The test of justice which determines if you would treat others the same in this situation, the publicity test, if you would want your behavior to be known and reported to the public, and the test of universality to ask yourself if you would administer the same action to another counselor in the same situation. With that in mind the professional has to believe that after all of this is achieved the professional is capable to perform the career with an outstanding background and knowledge on how and when to act and perform the social and personal changes that relies on the profession and always having in mind what is more beneficial to the patient in resolving and responding to their ethical conflicts.
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