In “How Good People Make Tough Choices: Resolving the Dilemmas of Ethical Living,” author Rushworth M. Kidder defined ethics as: "The capacity to recognize the nature of moral challenges and respond with a will tuned conscience." Counselors are continually faced with the realization that ethical decision-making is an evolutionary process that requires continual open mindedness and an ability to be self-critical. They must possess the ability to recognize their own issues including, counter-transference, the limits of their multi-cultural competence, informed consent and the possible pit-falls associated with multiple relationships; while keeping the best interest of the client as the most central issue. They are not always given a blueprint on how to handle situations and sometimes are forced to rely on instincts and an internal value system.
Professional ethics in my mind is the ability to do what is in the best interest of the client despite the level of difficulty or personal conflict with one’s belief system. In the text, there were several examples where the counselor’s value system were in direct conflict with the problem being framed by the client and they were forced rely on their own level of ethical fitness. In chapter 3 of the Kidder text, Kidder defines Ethical Fitness as “the self-awareness, development and habits of behavior that help people do the harder right even under stressful pressure.” He asserted that ethical fitness is a lifestyle and something you have to practice regularly; in order to have it become second nature.
Though I fully understand that there are laws governing the actions of a counselor and the manner in which he/she can advise a client, what is deemed as reportable or the level of confidentiality that should be assessed to what a client reveals to you as a counselor; I encountered several instances in which I believe I would really have a hard stifling personal feeling and executing my duties in a manner commensurate with the governing rules of counseling.
I personally might have somewhat of a difficult time separating personal feelings in regard to counseling pregnant teenagers, abusive spouses or adulterers. I believe that some counselors might be tempted to act in an unethical manner when faced with a situation that hits close to home; something that is similar to a situation or incident that they have experienced in their own lives. One such example is a client confessing to a counselor that he/she might be an adulterer or a kleptomaniac. Might be difficult for a counselor with deep seeded religious beliefs or very law-abiding to put aside his/her personal beliefs and treat the client’s issue. To someone with a deep seeded belief that stealing is morally wrong, it might be difficult to put aside personal feelings about someone habitually stealing vice taking the holistic view that kleptomania as an uncontrollable problem.
Dealing with the issue of adultery...