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    Counselor Ethics and Responsibilities Assignment Guidelines

    Directions: Follow the directions below to write a paper of 1,750-2,100 words on counselor ethics and responsibilities.

    Provide a thoughtful response to each of the following sections, including specific, concrete examples to illustrate your ideas. Use the section headings provided below to separate each section of your paper.

    Your final deliverable should be one cohesive paper addressing all six sections along with an introduction and conclusion.

    Part One:

    Please note that part one must be written in the third person.


    Section 1: Client Rights

    • Describe how you will incorporate the following five principles of ethical practice in order to maintain your clients’ rights.
      1. Autonomy
      2. Nonmaleficence
      3. Beneficence
      4. Justice
      5. Fidelity


    • Discuss the informed consent process and how it protects client rights including:
      1. Billing
      2. Right to Privacy
      3. HIPAA compliance
      4. Compliance with credentialing board requirements for incorporating informed consent into practice


    Section 2: Responsibility to Warn and Protect

    Identify the factors that you will consider in order to determine your “duty to warn” and “duty to protect” responsibilities as a counselor. Be sure to consider ethical guidelines as well as the laws pertaining to the “duty to warn” and “duty to protect” in the state in which you plan to practice.


    Section 3: Client Record-Keeping

    Discuss the role of client record keeping in protecting the following:

    1. a client’s right to a professional standard of care
    2. the counselor from liability


    Part Two:

    Please note this section can be written in the first person.


    Section 4: Self-care

    After reading the introduction of Section C “Professional Responsibility” in the ACA Code of Ethics discuss the following:

    1. What does the ACA Code of Ethics say about self-care?
    2. How do you plan on maintaining a healthy balance between your professional and personal life?
    3. What healthy self-care activities have you engaged in in the past or present?


    1. What healthy self-care activities have you considered but haven’t yet implemented?
    2. What are some red-flags suggesting that you may need to address personal issues to avoid personal impairment?
    3. How do you feel about counselors being counseled? Some programs require it.  Do you agree with that concept?

    Section 5: Advocacy

    Go to the American Counseling Association (Government Affairs > Take Action) (https://www.counseling.org/government-affairs/actioncenter) to find a way to advocate for the counselors and the counseling profession at the governmental level.  Summarize how you can get involved (approx. 100 words).

    Section 6: Counselor Values

    • Select two of the following issues you feel strongest about from the following:
      1. (A 19-year-old rape victim wants an abortion, but her parents are vehemently opposed to abortion on religious grounds and have stated that they will no longer consider her their daughter if she proceeds. The young woman is firm in her plans, but wants your help in changing her parents’ attitudes.)
      2. Gay adoption. (John and Bill, after living in a committed relationship for 7 years, decide that they want to begin a family. They have differing opinions about whether to use a surrogate mother or adopt a child.)
      3. Assisted suicide. (Eleanor, an 87-year-old with terminal cancer, has decided to end her life but is undecided about how to discuss this with her family, or if she should discuss it with them at all. She seeks your guidance in this decision, but is not interested in revisiting her decision to end her life.)
      4. Extramarital affairs. (Both spouses in a couple you are counseling are having affairs, which they claim are not contributing in any way to their current marital difficulties. They want your help in strengthening their marriage but they are both committed to the “open marriage” concept that does not require sexual monogamy.)
    • Describe your personal values and attitudes towards the selected issues as well as how you would counsel the client in each situation you selected. HINT: Make sure you reference ethical codes from ACA, NBCC, or NAADAC.



Subject Ethics Pages 12 Style APA


Counselor Ethics and Responsibilities Assignment Guidelines

Part One

Counselors are often encounters circumstances that necessitate sound and moral decisions making skills. Determining the suitable approach to apply when encountered with complex moral dilemmas can be complicated. To overcome these challenges, the members of the American Counseling Association Ethics Committee (ACAEC) have formed the Practitioner’s Guide to Ethical Decision Making. The rationale of this manuscript is to provide qualified counselors a structure for sound moral decision making. This paper discusses both guiding ideologies that are internationally important in moral decision making and a framework which experts can use to deal with moral concerns in their line of work.  According to Zummy (2019), there are five ethical principles that are perceived as the backbone of counselor’s guidelines. These include autonomy, nonmaleficence, beneficence, justice and fidelity.

Section 1: Client Rights

(Question 1)

Autonomy is the theory that tackles the perception of self-rule. According to Oramas (2017), the core of autonomy is providing a person the liberty of alternative and action. This principle oversees the obligation of the therapist to hearten clients, when necessary, to formulate their resolutions and take steps on their principles. Zummy (2019) indicates that there two significant considerations while heartening clients to be self-directed. The first consideration is assisting the client to comprehend how their resolutions and principles can or cannot be acknowledged within the perspective of the community in which they reside, and how they can encroach on other individual’s civil liberties. The second deliberation is associated to the client’s capability to make capable and rationale resolutions. Individuals not cable of developing knowledgeable decisions, including children and people with psychological conditions, are often not permitted to take steps on choices that could hurt them or people around.

Nonmaleficence is the model centering on not presenting impairment to others. It is frequently described as “above all do no harm.” According to the National Society of Genetic Counselors (2018), this theory is thought by some counselors as the most vital moral code, although hypothetically all principles are equivalent. The nonmaleficence model mirrors both the notion of not causing impairment, and participating in activities that jeopardize hurting others.  The Beneficence principle mirrors the counselor’s obligation to enhance the client’s wellbeing. This principle often centers in doing good, being proactive and able to prevent harm when necessary. Zummy (2019) indicates that justice does not signify treating all people equally. Instead, it is treating contemporaries evenly and disproportionate disproportionately but in ratio to their significant divergence.  According to the National Society of Genetic Counselors (2018), if a person is to be equally treated, the therapist is obliged to proffer a justification that elaborates the need and significance of handing this person in a different way. Lastly, fidelity incorporates the idea of devotion, authenticity, and honoring loyalty. Oramas (2017) indicates that clients are obliged to believe the therapist and encompass faith in the therapeutic associations if progress is to be expected. Thus, the counselor should ensure they do not threaten the therapeutic relationship or to leave the responsibilities unfinished.

(Question 2)

According to Bowers and Hamlet (2020), when clients enter into a psychotherapy affiliation, the therapist is obliged to present information essential for the client’s informed consent. The principles in psychotherapy morals often necessitate informed authority and various nation practice decree authorize it.  The informed consent is often necessary since it advices the clients about the counselor’s guidelines, state and national laws, and the client’s liberties. A psychotherapist is mandated by HIPAA to present a manuscript that elaborates to possible clients how their practice will address the release of private information.  Informed consent is designed to protect the client’s rights to privacy. Bowers and Hamlet (2020) indicates that counselor’s are obliged to provide their discretion rule concerning vocal communication, medical catalogs, and psychoanalysis remarks as required to be conventional to federal and states laws. Most confidential segments suggest that client information share with counselors is classified, except in situations vital occasions. Moreover, informed consent address billing concerns. For instance, this section in counselor’s informed consent document should be clear and straightforward. Either way, clients should be advised about the counselor’s charging rates and how it paid or collected in writing before counseling starts given that some clinicians prefer “out of pocket” only, while others use bill insurance (Oramas, 2017). The informed consent documents not only update the client, it also acknowledges and introduces the clients to the counselor and their activities.

Section 2: Responsibility to Warn and Protect

The responsibility to warn is described as the therapist’s responsibility to warn specialized victims. On the other hand, the obligation to protect is a therapist’s obligation to disclose personal client information in situations that a psychotherapist has a cause to consider that a third party can be at risk of harm (Oramas, 2017). The comprehension of the psychotherapist’s responsibility to caution starts with the acceptance of the differences between the moral obligation of discretion and the lawful phrase of advantaged communication. Confidentiality is an expression of admiration conferred on the client by the therapist in which information amid the two will not be disclosed by the psychotherapist (Bowers & Hamlet, 2020). On the other hand, advantaged communication is an officially permitted doctrine which asserts client-therapist remedial interactions are to be reserved privately by the therapist.

The responsibility to caution and protect can emerge in the context other than risk of harm or killing of certain victims. According to Christian and Brown (2018), counselors are obliged to be aware of responsibilities to counsel and protect against client’s threat of peril to uncertain or anticipated victims of child cruelty or desert, incest, violence and HIV/AID. Zummy (2019) indicates that there not a straightforward strategy to establish when the responsibility to caution and protect emerges, given that every incident is diverse and policies alter amongst nations. In general, therapists are expected to approach possible perilous clients with compassion, concentrate to detail and degree of care in remedial involvements, and implement a practice for evaluating dangerous aspects and record-keeping (National Society of Genetic Counselors, 2018).  Furthermore, there are substantial beneficial considerations related with responsibility to caution and protect including client’s wellbeing, autonomy and informing the client the outcomes of their intent and the counselor’s need to protect others.  

Section 3: Client Record-Keeping

The procedure of writing records incorporates counselors in organizing their sentiments and thoughts. According to Christian and Brown (2018), this is essential since is enables counselors to reflect systematically on events that previously happened and plan for future sessions. In simple terms, the process record keeping improved the quality the counseling. A systematic record-keeping makes any alterations in the client’s material over episodes of sessions more apparent. The procedure of recalling by memory inevitably incorporates a level of rewriting the past events in terms of a perceptive founded on the present.  Senter et al. (2018) indicates that record keeping alters what happened during the counseling more clear. As a result, providing essential information to the counselor, who may decide to share the information with the client when necessary.

Client’s record keeping provides evidence of the level of care taken by the counselor in their role, which can be essential if the client makes a complaint against a counselor to a professional entity or starts legal action against a counselor. Moreover, record-keeping protects against differences in memory between counselor and client. According to Bowers and Hamlet (2020), as a counselor seeks to be professionals and credible with other professional services, they are obliged to develop record-keeping approaches that support them in conducting their obligations and meet the community anticipations of any professional for quality of service and responsibility.

Part Two

Section Four: Self-Care

According to Section C “Professional Responsibility” in the American Counseling Association Code of Ethics regarding self-care, psychotherapist should participate in self-care actions to uphold and endorse their emotional, mental, physical, and divine wellness to best address their specialized obligations. According to Senter et al. (2018), meeting this moral level is call for counselors to daily reflect on their actions and the level to which their characters are operating. Self-care can be considered a set of practices that prevent burnout and emotional depletion. Counselors are often expected to be prepared with approaches maintain the well-being of their physical and mental health.  Attaining work-life balance is easier said than implemented in various respects (Senter et al., 2018). Counselors feel an experience significant sense of responsibility and professional obligation to their clients, and the time to rest and be with their family can be interrupted. In my line of work as a counselor I plan to use different approaches to maintain work-life balance. These include identifying the signs of burnout, setting boundaries but maintain flexibility, exercise and meditate, take vacations, have a support network and practice time management.

I have participated in different self-care activities including emotional care activities such as conversing with close friends and relatives concerning my feelings and engaging in leisure activities that help in processing my emotions.  I also engage in physical self-care activities including getting enough rest, fueling my body, taking control of my health, and getting enough exercise. I also use socialization as an approach of self-care, given that close connections are essential in an individual’s wellbeing (Zummy, 2019). The strategy of self-care that I have considered but yet to apply is spiritual self-care. According to my understanding and perspective, nurturing my spirit does not have to incorporate religion. It can include anything that assists me develop a deeper sense of understanding, meaning, and connecting with the universe (Christian & Brown, 2018). Some of the red-flags signifying that I may require addressing personal concerns to prevent personal harm include distress, therapist burnout, and vicarious traumatization.

According to Zummy (2019), if distress is left unattained it may lead to impaired ability to effectively use and apply knowledge and abilities.  On the other hand, therapist burnout may incorporate emotional exhaustion and decreased sense of achievement. According to my understanding and perspective, counselors are human are any other person with a family, mortgage, and responsibility to address. The practice of counseling can be highly gratifying and rewarding.  Senter et al. (2018) indicates that counselors often make considerable impact in the lives of other individuals. However, this endeavor can be emotionally demanding and challenging. Thus, if counselors do not attend to their wellness and functioning, they can be a risk of developing issues with their professional capability. 

Section Five: Advocacy

American Counseling Association members make a significant difference in ACA’s endeavors to advocate for counseling. Legislators significantly concentrate when they hear from their constituents. If they fail to hear from anyone concerning issues that affect counseling, they may not focus to those concerns.  American Counseling Association utilizes VoterVoice to simplify the procedure for members to reach their representatives on state and federal concerns. Individual scan scroll down the current VoterVoice campaigns, legislations, or reach information for their representatives through entering their Zip Code to reach them themselves.

Section Six: Counselor Values

  1. (A 19-year-old rape victim wants an abortion, but her parents are vehemently opposed to abortion on religious grounds and have stated that they will no longer consider her their daughter if she proceeds. The young woman is firm in her plans, but wants your help in changing her parents’ attitudes.)
  1. Extramarital affairs. (Both spouses in a couple you are counseling are having affairs, which they claim are not contributing in any way to their current marital difficulties. They want your help in strengthening their marriage but they are both committed to the “open marriage” concept that does not require sexual monogamy.)

According to my perfective, the first case extremely sad and complicated given that it involves the life of the unborn child and the young girl. In my understanding I would advise the girl not consider abortion regardless of the baby being the result of rape. Although the girl can be considered old enough to exercise autonomy, I will consider the ACA principle of Nonmaleficence, often described as “above all do no harm.”  In the second case I will consider the principle of justice; treating equals equally and unequal inequitably but in fraction to their significant disparities. I would also consider fidelity, which incorporates the idea of loyalty, faithfulness, and honoring commitments. I would advise the spouse to consider fidelity and be faithful to each other. It will take both their efforts to attain fidelity and justice in their marriage.


The Five ethical principles that are perceived as the backbone of counselor’s guidelines include autonomy, nonmaleficence, beneficence, justice and fidelity.  Counselors should consider these principles in different incidents in addition to using client informed consent. Moreover, counselors should consider developing approaches that will enhance self-care to ensure they are fit to address the client’s concerns. 


Bowers, R., & Hamlet, H. (2020). The Development of Professional Responsibility in Counselor Training. International Journal on Responsibility3(2), 7. https://commons.lib.jmu.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1031&context=ijr#page=67

Christian, D. D., & Brown, C. L. (2018). Recommendations for the role and responsibilities of school-based mental health counselors. Journal of School-Based Counseling Policy and Evaluation1(1), 26-39. https://scholarworks.wm.edu/jscpe/vol1/iss1/6/

National Society of Genetic Counselors. (2018). National society of genetic counselors code of ethics. Journal of genetic counseling27(1), 6-8. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1007/s10897-017-0166-8

Oramas, J. E. (2017). Counseling ethics: Overview of challenges, responsibilities and recommended practices. Journal of Multidisciplinary Research9(3), 47-58. https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Huyen-Van/publication/335960625_Review_of_Air_light_time_space_How_successful_academics_write_by_HSword/links/5d859512299bf1996f830445/Review-of-Air-light-time-space-How-successful-academics-write-by-HSword.pdf#page=49

Senter, L., Bennett, R. L., Madeo, A. C., Noblin, S., Ormond, K. E., Schneider, K. W., … & National Society of Genetic Counselors Code of Ethics Review Task Force (COERTF). (2018). National society of genetic counselors code of ethics: Explication of 2017 revisions. Journal of genetic counseling27(1), 9-15. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1007/s10897-017-0165-9

Zummy, Z. A. D. (2019). The Contribution of Levinas’ Conception of Responsibility to Ethical Encounter Counselor-Counselee. https://philpapers.org/rec/ZUMTCO






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