In this essay I will be looking at Ethics and the importance of using a code of Ethics.

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In this essay I will be looking at Ethics and the importance of using a code of Ethics. I will look at our personal values and also professional values that we as counsellors should use when counselling. I will then go on to explain the ethical principles of counselling. I will then look at a counselling Dilemma which as counsellors we could face at any time. I will then apply the values and principles to this Dilemma.

At the end of this essay I hope to have a clearer understanding of Ethics in counselling.

Why is a code of Ethics so important?

The code of Ethics is not a law it is not something that we MUST adhere to, it is a set of guidelines a framework to help and advise us, ultimately it remains the responsibility of the individual.

Most professions, agencies and organisations follow a code of Ethics, such as Nurses, Solicitors, Doctors, Social workers and we as counsellors.

A code of Ethics is there to protect us as Counsellors and our Clients.

I will explain some of the benefits of adhering to a code of ethics.

The code provides a framework for counsellors to consult when an ethical dilemma occurs, it will provide guidance. This guidance serves also to improve the quality of service given to the client. The framework also helps the counsellor and client to identify malpractice. The code also enhances the image of counselling practise in general. The code has left itself open and can be added to for future improvement. The initiators of the code are self regulating and self governing.

Each counsellor has their own personal moral qualities which are of the utmost importance to the client. I will discuss these qualities but it must be stated that not all counsellors possess all of these qualities. The following are some of the personal qualities to which counsellors are encouraged to aim for by the B.A.C.P

Empathy - To have a deep understanding of the client’s issues and the ability to stay within the client’s frame of reference. Mearns and Thorne describe Empathy as “Empathy is a continuing process whereby the counsellor lays aside her own way of experiencing and perceiving reality, preferring to sense and respond to the experiences and perceptions of the client” (Mearns and Thorne 2001:41)

Confidentiality - The counsellor needs to discuss and clarify confidentiality with the client in the beginning when the contract is set. ”Communication between counsellor and client shall be confidential and treated as privileged information unless the client gives consent to any particular information being disclosed. Exceptions to this principle occur when in the professional judgement of the counsellor, there is clear and imminent danger to the client and others” Turton, J.(2002) Online Counsellor.  viewed 1st December 2002

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Integrity - The counsellor needs to be honest with himself and the client and show a commitment to being moral to others. He also needs to be congruent - genuine

Respect - The counsellor needs to accept the client and there issues being none judgemental and give the client unconditional positive regard.

Trust - The client must have trust in the counsellor thus enabling the therapeutic process to take place. The counsellor must also trust himself.

Competence - The counsellor must have the relevant skills and knowledge and be able to apply these in a beneficial way to the client. The counsellor should also monitor and ...

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