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Most counselors usually face situations that require the use of sound ethical decision making abilities and determining the course of action to take, when one is faced with difficult ethical dilemma, it can be a challenge. That is why counselors require reference from the moral principles, which are the cornerstone in most debates on ethical guidelines. These guidelines themselves, however, give the impression that they cannot tackle all of the possible situations that the counselor will be forced to handle during the course of their duties. The five principles are represented as autonomy, beneficence, nonmaleficence, fidelity and justice (Davis, 1996).
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To expound, let us begin with justice. Contrary to popular thought, this does not mean treating all individuals in the same manner. Kitchener, who was the author of the five principles used in the American Counseling Association, terms it as treating equals in the same equal manner and “unequals”, so to speak, in an unequal manner. In this way, if an individual is treated differently from the rest, the counselor needs to offer a rationale that would explain the appropriateness of treating an individual thusly. The next principle for the analysis is fidelity. It usually involves the notions of loyalty and faith that the client has in the counselor for the therapeutic relationship to form fully.
The therapist, therefore, should take care not to jeopardize the link with the client by not fulfilling their obligations (Davis, 1996). The next statute is beneficence, which relates to the counselor’s responsibility of contribution of health towards the patient. In simple terms, this usually means to do well and to be proactive, as health of the concerned individual concerns. If a therapist can stop harm from befalling the patient, then they are obligated to act in a capacity to guarantee the patient’s health in this capacity.
The next guideline relates to nonmaleficence, which is actually the concept of not causing any harm to others. It is often explained by the motto of “above all do not cause any harm.” Some consider this principle as the most important among the lot, even though, in theory they are all supposed to be of equal importance for the therapist. Additionally, the principle reflects both the idea of not inflicting intentional harm as well as not engaging in any activities that might pose a risk on the patient or affect people in the process (Davis, 1996).
Last but not least, autonomy is the last principle to talk about, which addresses the concept of independence. The basis of this principle is to allow an individual to have the freedom of choice as well as action, this addresses the responsibility of the counselor to encourage the client, when he or she deems it appropriate, and to make their own decisions as well as act on values that they believe. However, there are two considerations one must know when encouraging the client to be autonomous. The first thing is to help the client to understand how his actions and decisions may or may not be received in the context of the society he inhabits. They may also cause inconvenience to the rights of others. The second thing is that the therapist should evaluate the rational decision making ability of the patient. They should not be left to make decisions that could impinge on others.
Susie seems like a nice person, however, she has a real problem, though she does not know it. She loves to develop relationships with people, but becomes too dependent upon them as a result and forgets the most important person in the equation, which is she herself. Her dependency on relationships to people manifests in boyfriends and favors that she carries out for friends, both of which relate to the secondary dependency she has on people seeing her in a good light.
Using the DSM IV TR Multi-axial diagnosis, we will attempt to categorize her ailments. The first axis has two possibilities for her position, which are social anxiety disorder, where Susie would have a social phobia of the way people view her as an individual, and depersonalization disorder, where she does not pay attention on her well-being (DSM IV TR, 2012). The second axis relates to the personality disorders that come from these options, and avoidant personality disorder would suit her well, as she does not have a clear idea of the way her problem has affected her.
A psycho-educational group relates to a large population and is for the purposes of enlightenment. Therefore, it is less personalized as compared to a psychotherapeutic group that focuses on individual counseling and would require lesser size and one on one interaction between the client and therapist. In group therapy, the advantage is that one can see his problems in another person and help the patients to view each other as human beings, the feeling of isolation because of a mental problem is routed.
Assessment is crucial to the counseling process as it helps the therapist to draw upon the information collected and make appropriate conclusions upon the health of the client. There are many ways of assessment in the counseling process, such as experimentation of stimuli on the patient to determine the cause of their problems, exposure to certain films, music or light. In the group counseling, this may be through surveys and interviewing to collect the appropriate data. The therapist may also use hypnosis as a way to gauge the diagnosis of a client.
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