5.1. Understanding Treatment Challenges
Professional values and biases significantly influence group and family therapy. When engaged in treatment, professionals must be careful to act competently. Counsellors and therapists in the community and private practice settings must wrestle with conflict-of-interest dilemmas. The ethical and legal issues significantly with those who are facing community counsellors. Acting ethically means being an as competent professional, recognizing the well-being of the client as dominant, responsible for exercising power and acting to raise the reputation of the profession.
Review what the codes of ethics have to say about this topic and incorporate this into your discussions:
Robert Haines was discharged from the hospital following treatment for chronic schizophrenia under multidisciplinary team care that included Dr. Bellissimo, a psychologist. A short time later, Mrs. Haines discovered the shotgun in their garage and telephoned Dr. Bellissimo, who then asked Mr. Haines to return to the hospital, which he did. Dr. Bellissimo assessed M. Haines’s risk of suicide as not imminent, and they arranged to accompany him home to take possession of the gun. However, when they arrived, it took more than three hours for Dr. Bellissimo to persuade Mr. Haines to surrender the gun. Later that night, Dr. Bellissimo telephoned Mr. Haines to check on his mental status and deemed him to be “all right.” The next day, Mr. Haines purchased another gun and fatally shot himself. Mrs. Haines sued Dr. Bellissimo for malpractice.
- What ethical obligations do you think Dr. Bellissimo owed Mr. Haines’s wife in relation to her husband’s suicide?
- Do you think Mr. Bellissimo should have done anything different to prevent Mr. Haines’s suicide? Explain.
5.2. Counselling Ethics for the 21st Century
The course introduced you to the information and fundamental skills required in your journey and development towards becoming professional helpers. With online counselling, there is a range of ethical issues which must be considered in order to develop the best practices. The formation of your professional identity and practice will be a lifelong process, with new concepts and constructs constantly challenging your values and beliefs.
- What do you think about online counselling? What specific ethical issues do you think should be raised? How convenient would it be for you to use this form of technology in your counselling practice?
- Search for articles in the media relating to unethical practices by mental health professionals. Choose one article (cannot be older than 12 months) on a present-day ethical dilemma and discuss how the issue could affect you personally and your future profession as a counsellor.