Essay about Ethical And Legal Challenges Of Counseling Minors

Essay about Ethical And Legal Challenges Of Counseling Minors

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Counselors who counsel children and adolescent under the age of 18 or adults who do not have the legal capacity to care for themselves will more than likely experience conflict between what they consider to be their ethical or more obligations and what they consider to be their ethical or moral obligations and what the law dictates that they must do (Salo, 2015). Counselors provide services to minors, who lack legal competency, are obligated to pay attention to the legal rights of parents and guardians. They protect them from harm and take the steps to prevent abuse or neglect of these clients. According to the American Counseling Association Code of Ethics, any minor under the age of 18 years old, have the right to consent to counseling without consent of the parent or guardian. Balancing the legal rights of parents or guardian and the ethical obligations to their children can be compelling challenging ( Lazovsky, 2008).
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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