Two ethical and legal challenges related to counseling minors
Two ethical and legal challenges related to counseling minors are understanding confidentiality and reporting abuse & neglect. It’s legally ethical for counselors to maintain confidentiality with clients, but in a counseling setting parents’ usually have a legal right to information regarding their child until the age of 18. Ethical codes advise counselors to maintain confidentiality as specified by federal and state laws, but parental rights are upheld by law in most states. Many times counselors are "caught between allegiance to their minor clients and the legal reality of parental rights" (Herlihy & Corey, 2006, p. 201).
Counselors have the ethical responsibility to protect a minor or vulnerable person from harm. If they "fail to report...
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...c.). Under Standard A.2.a., Clients have the right for informed consent and the freedom to decide to enter and remain in therapy after understanding their rights and responsibilities as well as the responsibilities of the counselor (ACA, 2005). “Counselors must respect clients ' right to privacy unless they disclose an intention to harm self or others or when the client discloses they have a communicable and life-threatening disease (Standard B.1.b., Standard B.1.c., & Standard B.2.d).
The American Counseling Associations, Standard B.2.a., states that “clients require a breach of confidentiality when the counselor believes such disclosure will protect the client from serious and foreseeable harm. In the case of reporting child abuse, federal and state laws require such reporting by mental health counselors and other health professionals” (Herlihy & Corey, 2015).
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