What are ethical issues and dilemmas in counseling?

first of all, we need to know what is counseling ? according to The American Counseling Association, “Counseling is a professional relationship that empowers diverse individuals, families, and groups to accomplish mental health, wellness, education, and career goals.”

Wilcoxon, Remley, & Gladding, (2013)  pointed out Counselors who are not clear about their values, ethics, and legal responsibilities, as
well as those of their clients, can cause harm despite their best intentions.

What is good and bad? is generally consider as ethical or moral. Kitchener (1986) defined , Ethics as “making decisions of a moral nature about people and their interaction in society”. Ethics is a philosophical discipline that is concerned with human conduct and moral decision making” (Van Hoose & Kottler, 1985,). According to Calley (2009) “Professional ethics are beliefs about behavior and conduct that guide professional practices,” Morality, however, involves judgment or evaluation of action. It is associated with such words as good, bad, right, wrong, ought, and should.

Welfel (2016) has added that the effectiveness of counselors is connected to their ethical knowledge and behavior as well.

Unethical behavior

Welfel & Lipsitz, (1983) They include “physical intimacy, the titillation of gossip, or the opportunity (if the gamble pays off) to advance one’s career”.

American Counseling Association (2014)-Unethical Behavior

• Violation of confidentiality
• Exceeding one’s level of professional competence
• Negligent practice
• Claiming expertise one does not possess
• Imposing one’s values on a client
• Creating dependency in a client
• Sexual activity with a client
• Certain conflicts of interest, such as dual or multiple relationships—in which the role of the counselor is combined with another relationship (either personal or professional) and not monitored for appropriateness of boundaries (Hermann, 2011a; Moleski & Kiselica, 2005)
• Questionable financial arrangements, such as charging excessive fees
• Improper advertising
• Plagiarism

American Counseling Association Code of Ethics for Counselor 

A. Counseling Relationship
B. Confidentially and Privacy in Counseling
C. Professional Responsibility
D. Relationships with Colleagues, Employers, and Employees
E. Evaluation, Assessment, and Interpretation
F. Supervision, Training, and Teaching
G. Research and Publication
H. Distance Counseling, Technology, and Social Media
I. Resolving Ethical Issues


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