Ethics and Legal Viewpoint

Write, from your future perspective of being an ethical and law-abiding counselor, a 1,000-
1,250-word paper in which you incorporate your ethical and legal view on the following
topics:
Volunteerism-What standards do you need to uphold if you are in a voluntary position or
providing free/pro bono work?
Self-disclosure-Would you disclose personal information to a client? If so, when and how is
it appropriate?
Objectivity-Why is it important to remain objective for your client?
Self-care-How will you balance your life?
Spirituality-How will you maintain your spirituality in and out of practice?
Be sure to cite professional code of ethics and/or articles to support your statements
.

Ethics and Legal Viewpoint
Volunteerism

Those volunteering should be suited, qualified, and trained for the various roles that they
will undertake. The act of volunteering should be based more on the altruistic benefit as opposed
to income. In this case, the income should be a secondary aspect regardless of how beneficial it
might be. Professionals are prohibited from engaging in services which conflict with their
official duties. For instance, it is inappropriate for federal employees to represent parties before
federal governments. Worth noting, every federal agency possesses a set of regulatory conduct
standards that should be adhered to strictly by the employees. for instance, the Department of

ETHICS AND LEGAL VIEWPOINT
Justice attorneys should never offer services involving habeas corpus or criminal matters, despite
of if local, state, or federal (5 C.F.R. 3801, 106) (Neighbors et al., 2014).
A professional can offer services to the political organizations if only in compliance to
the Hatch Act’s restrictions (5 U.S.C., 7234), in addition to the agency’s policies in relation to
political activities by political and high-level appointees. In relation to the US, it is inappropriate
to represent someone against the US, based on 18 U.S.C. 205. People seeking government
benefits can be assisted in limited ways such as providing non-representational assistance.
However, the professional should refrain from contacting a federal agency to influence as stated
in 18 U.S.C. 205.

Self-disclosure

In considering self-disclosure’s ethical aspects, the principles which are most relevant
include beneficence, nonmaleficence, and a fiduciary relationship between patients and clinicians
where the patient’s welfare and interests always predominate. Abstinence from individual
gratification, autonomy, altruism, neutrality, and compassion can also be invoked when resolving
dilemmas related to self-disclosure. However, therapists are prohibited from violating the stated
principles by engaging in self-disclosure which is seductive, excessive, narcissistic or
exhibitionistic, and exploitative (Psychotherapy.net, 2014). Moreover, it is unethical to engage
in self-disclosure if the therapist has the intention of merely unburdening her/ himself of some
concerns, while the patient gets no foreseeable benefit.
Intentional self-disclosures might be therapeutic or clinically-based, alliance-building,
and supportive, but they can also be care-seeking, exhibitionistic, or seductive. In case a patient
appears ambivalent about having individual questions answered, then the therapist has a role of
exploring and determining if the patient actually should hear the answers to avoid a therapeutic

ETHICS AND LEGAL VIEWPOINT
impasse. The healthcare professional has a fiduciary obligation of taking responsibility for
maintaining as well as setting the boundaries, even if the patient is pressuring that they be
transgressed. It is important for the professionals to think through personal views on self-
disclosure ethics in advance. The professionals should be careful that nondisclosure and
disclosure can both impair or foster the therapeutic alliance (Morris, Javier & Herron, 2014).

Objectivity

There is a great need for professionals to promote and protect the law’s rule. When
considering the interests of clients, some of the issues that come up include making proper
decisions regarding when evidence should be disclosed, alleging fraud, witnesses who might
present perjured evidence, and debt instruments’ status. In these matters, there is a heavy
dependence on the objectivity and ethicality of professionals. It is advisable that healthcare
professionals are handling their patients; they should explore the issues being faced from
different angles. This goes a long way in ensuring that the interests of their clients are served
accordingly. As far as objectivity is concerned, professionals are advised to think of the ethical
issues as both individual and systemic problems. This can enable the professionals to handle the
issues effectively. Avoiding bias and prejudice is very necessary.

Self- care

A majority of the ethics codes have provisions on the importance of self-care. For
instance, the 2002 APA ethics version, for instance, instructs the psychologists to remain aware
about the potent impacts of their mental and physical health on the ability of assisting the
colleagues. Therefore, the first fundamental step is awareness, but there are many other things
which are vital. According to standard 2.06 of the Personal Problems and Conflicts assert that
psychologists can refrain from initiating activities which they truly know pose a substantial

ETHICS AND LEGAL VIEWPOINT
likelihood of their individual problems hindering them from carrying out the work-related
activities competently. When professionals become informed of the individual problems which
are likely to interfere with the adequate performance of work-related duties, then taking
appropriate measures is encouraged. These might include terminating, suspending, or limiting
work-related duties, and obtaining professional assistance or consultation. According to the 2005
American Counseling Association’s Code of Ethics, counselors are advised to participate in self-
care activities so as to promote and maintain their physical, emotional, spiritual, and mental well-
being so as to adequately meet professional responsibilities. Therefore, a professional is right to
refrain from providing professional services in case of impairments which are likely to cause
clients and others harm. Self-care is a fundamental prerequisite for there to be competent care.
Therefore, self-care is a moral imperative, ethical necessity, and legal need.

Spirituality

The Ethical Principles of Psychologists and Code of Conduct 2010 clearly address the
issues to do with religion and spirituality in the discussion about individual differences and
diversity. This is in relation to Principle E (Respect of People’s Rights and Dignity). Here, it is
clearly stated that psychologists know about and respect role, individual, and cultural
differences, including those with religion as the basis, and should have a deep regard for these
factors when collaborating with members from these groups (Lee & Nelson, 2014). Moreover, in
Standard 3.01 of the Unfair Discrimination, it is clearly advised that when engaging in work-
related activities, it is important for psychologists to refrain from unfair discrimination as far as
religion is concerned, or any basis that the law proscribes. Therefore, psychologists should be
well informed about these issues so as to avoid bias and prejudice. Moreover, they ought to be

ETHICS AND LEGAL VIEWPOINT
sensitive about their possible meaning and roles to patient’s lives. Hence, it is vital to be
proactive about dealing with them (Bornstein & Wiener, 2014).
Although spiritual and religious issues might not be the principal focus of treatment, they
are relevant to the life of every client and can guide the professional in defining their beliefs,
values, decision making, and lifestyle choices. Therefore, according to the APA Ethics Code
(Principle E), professionals ought to be sensitive to, respect, and aware of all personal
differences, including spiritual and religious beliefs, practices, and values. Overlooking or
intentionally avoiding or ignoring to address every client’s spiritual and religious practices and
beliefs is doing them considerable disservice. The client should be given priority in all these
issues.

ETHICS AND LEGAL VIEWPOINT

References

Bornstein, B. H., & Wiener, R. L. (2014). Justice, conflict and wellbeing: Multidisciplinary
perspectives. New York: Praeger Publishers.
Lee, R. E., & Nelson, T. S. (2014). The contemporary relational supervisor. Hoboken: Taylor
and Francis.
Morris, D. O., Javier, R. A., & Herron, W. G. (2014). Specialty competencies in professional
psychology. Hoboken: Taylor and Francis.
Neighbors, I. A., Chambers, A., Levin, E., Nordman, G., & Tutrone, C. (2014). Social Work and
the Law: Proceedings of the National Organization of Forensic Social Work, 2000.
Hoboken: Taylor and Francis.
Psychotherapy.net. (2014). Legal & ethical issues for mental health professionals: Volume I.
New York: Allen & Unwin.

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