The importance of knowing the contents of professional codes of conduct and the purposes and limitations of such codes is essential to the understanding of ethical and legal issues in counseling. school counselors should have at least a basic understanding of their ethical responsibilities , necessarily provide answers to the many specific dilemmas that practitioners will face. When the standards do not provide enough direction counselors are encouraged to consult with colleagues, professional experts, and perhaps their administrative supervisors before taking action.
Almost all professionals, at some point in their career, suspect or become aware of a colleague's unethical behavior. School counselors are obligated to address any conduct by a colleague that could cause harm to clients. Counselors should: (a) try to resolve the issue by confronting the colleague directly, if possible; (b) report the behavior to a superior, professional association, or credentialing authority if a direct confrontation is not possible or is not effective; and (c) take steps to protect any vulnerable clients
Confidentiality and privileged communication are two related issues Information clients relate to counselors should be kept confidential with the following general exceptions: (a) the client is a danger to self or others; (b) the client or parent requests that information be related to a third party; or, (c) a court orders a counselor to disclose information. Although all school counselors have a confidentiality responsibility, very few relationships with students are considered privileged.
Privileged communication is granted only by statute and guarantees clients that a court cannot compel a counselor to disclose information related in confidence. Such statutory privileges belong to clients rather than to counselors LEGAL ISSUES Legal standards of practice are different from ethical standards. Generally, legal standards are related to accepted professional practices in the community while ethical standards tend to be idealistic.
Many schools have policies that differentiate between the rights of custodial and no custodial parents, and school counselors are often required to implement such policies. The law is clear that, barring a specific court order to the contrary, no custodial parents have all rights regarding their children except the right to have custody of the children permanently in their homes. School counselors often play a major role in administering the school's testing program.
School counselors should provide expert advice to school policymakers regarding the appropriate use of tests. Counselors should assist in evaluating each test to determine whether it: (1) discriminates in any way against any segment of the school population(2) is valid and reliable(3) is appropriate for the purposes for which it is being used and (4) is necessary to achieve the school's objectives. Moreover, the counselor is responsible for interpreting test results for students in a clear and understandable manner. ETHICAL ISSUES IN GROUP COUNSELING
Group counseling presents ethical issues not found in individual interventions with clients. The advantages of a comprehensive group counseling program are numerous,however, school counselors who direct such programs need to be familiar with potential ethical problems. SPECIAL ISSUES Computers. School counseling offices are increasingly utilizing computers and computer products. School counselors have made attempts to understand and utilize this modern technology, but many counselors are still unaware of the ethical issues involved in the use of computers.
Professional associations develop ethical standards regarding computer use, The importance of direct counselor-client contact in conjunction with the use of computers must be stressed. Cultural diversity. School counselors have a responsibility to provide services for all students, including those from other cultures. The counseling profession is a Western culture phenomenon however, school counselors constantly interact with families and children who speak languages other than english. Values different from those of the counselor and conform to social expectations that may seem odd to the school environment.
The unique ethical issues involved in counseling multi-cultural populations need to be addressed. Research. There is an increasing demand for school counselors to engage in field-based research. Documenting program effectiveness can do more to promote school counseling than all public relations efforts combined. But even if school counselors never conduct research themselves, they need to know the rights of students involved in research projects, the responsibilities of researchers, and other research-related ethical issues.
Sexual intimacy. Perhaps the most pressing ethical problem in the counseling profession is sexual intimacy with clients. School counselors are involved less often in sexual relationships with clients than are their colleagues who counsel adults. Nevertheless, clients, no matter what their age, often introduce sexual dimensions into the counseling relationship. Counselors who are faced with sex and intimacy boundary issues in their professional counseling roles must respond in a manner that Multicultural Issues Quality Indicators
The doctoral candidate understands and demonstrates multicultural competencies and applies these competencies to a wide range of professional activities. Performance Indicators 1. articulates an integrated conceptualization of multicultural competencies that guides professional activities. 2. demonstrates awareness of her/his personal values and beliefs related to own and other cultural groups and how this awareness influences her/his professional activities, such as practice, research, advocacy/consultation and professional relationships. 3. nderstands key theories within multicultural psychology and applies this knowledge to her/his professional activities related to practice, research, and professional relationships.