Walden Coun6306 Week 6: Boundaries
Walden Coun6306 Week 6: Boundaries
For this Discussion, review the Clinical Mental Health Counseling: Boundary Issues media and consider the population that you are interested in working with as a professional counselor. Then, review the Learning Resources for this week and explore potential boundary issues you may encounter while working with this population. Reflect on potential benefit or harm related to boundary crossing. Finally, consider potential consultants who might be able to address any boundary issues.
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Post by Day 3 a brief description of the population you selected. Then, explain any potential boundary issues you anticipate may be challenging in working with this population and explain why. Explain the potential benefit or harm associated with boundary crossing with this population. Finally, explain who you might consult with to address this boundary issue and why.
Be sure to use the Learning Resources and the current literature to support your response.
Reflective Ethical Autobiography Sample Essay
“Without civic morality communities perish and without personal morality, their survival has no value” (Russell, Egner, & Denonn, 1961). This is true in regards to the counseling profession. Counselors must bind itself to law and ethics, in order to thrive as trustworthy and sustainable profession. Counselors have to bind in regards to their professional values, beliefs and understanding to because successful. As counselors we in engage in development and growth with clients that help contribute to our ability to not only follow law guidelines but to make moral and ethical decisions.
We are all influenced by ethics and values in our life. These two concepts have the ability to determine our development of a sense of right and wrong. As we continue to get older and wiser we are able to obtain information on what ethics and values mean to us as a personal. In our early years we all develop a sense of what is right and what is wrong. We are influenced by experiences in life as we grow up and also the people we spend the most time with. As we continue to grow we have the opportunity to experience values and ethics that affect our personal and professional life, and how we balance them out. We ask ourselves do the equal out? We also reflect on experiences and people in our lives that have influenced our moral and ethical development when gaining our own independence. During this time, we our view on right and wrong is altered and developed further.
For me family, religion, and community issues may a very important role in developing my sense of right and wrong. As a child religion played a role in what I believed was right and wrong because of the bible verse, the messages from the pastor, and what I learned in bible study. As a child my family and I spend a lot of time together at church and the information I learned from there gave me a clear understanding as a child what was spiritual right and wrong. As an adult now, religion has some what of an influence on my logic of right and wrong. Family and issues around the world today, play a vital role in my understanding today.
My idea of right and wrong today is not different from the one I’ve grown up with, but has grown as I reflect on what it is today.
As we continue to age we develop two separate lives; one being our personal life and the other being the professional one. When reflecting on the importance of ethics and values, the question becomes do these lives equal out? When I reflect on my values and beliefs I hold them equally in both my personal and professional life. I think being in the counseling environment and studying the topic creates a boarder understanding on how important vales, moral and belief may a role in every aspect of our lives.
“Learning to become an ethical professional is more than adopting a set of rules” (Handelsman, Gottlieb & Knapp, 2005). Becoming a professional counselor is compared to adapting to a different culture. As a student we all have preexisting notions of what right and wrong professional behaviors are. We are not only influenced by family, but religious and spiritual backgrounds. We use the idea of maintenance; the degree in which people hold onto the values and traditions of their culture or origin in order to develop and add onto our already instilled notions of ethical wrong and right behavior.
As a counselor we will face ethical changes in our professional practice that will pose ethical challenges and dilemmas in our relationship with clients. As a counselor our job is to be as ethical as possible and seek our resources and help if we face a situation where it can be considering a violation of ethics or misconduct. Confidentiality and the duty to warn, boundaries keeping, dual relationships and use record keeping are issues that are talked about highly in the counseling profession and often times have ethical challenges.
In regards to issues that surround counseling, confidentiality and the duty to warn are critical issues. In both the ACA Code of Ethics (2014) standard B.1.c and AMHCA standard I.A.2.a (2010) counselors have an obligation to keep information client disclose confidential. There are times when counselors may have to make exceptions in order to protect clients from foreseeable harm, which at times can be the communication of life threatening illnesses.
There are many ethical and legal implications that come with failure to report a client who has disclosure they are knowingly putting others at risky with a life-threatening illness or disease. Section B.2.c of the ACA Code of Ethics (2014) states that when a client disclose that they have a disease commonly know to be both communicable and life threatening, a counselor disclosure of this information may be justifiable if others are knowing to be at serious and foreseeable risk in contracting the disease. There are many legal implications if a counselor fails to disclosure this information that is harmful to others. There is also a legal issue if a counselor disclosures information that is later found to not be life-threatening and contagious to others. This is a break in confidentiality of a client’s information. ACA Code of Ethics requires a counselor to first assess the intent of the client to inform any third parties about their disease or to engage in any behaviors that may be harmful to an identifiable third party (2014). In the state of Pennsylvania there is a statutory requirement to report if not it can result in a third degree felon (Hernandez, S. 2015)
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As counselors we developed and maintain therapeutic relationships with clients. Boundaries are very important when dealing with clients, but at times boundaries regarding a therapeutic relationship is not always well defined or explained. As a professional counselor we must take steps to care for clients if boundaries are cross, because they can be detrimental to our clients (Remley & Herlihy, 2016). Any boundary crossing may result in legal and ethical violations that have the potential to end in criminal court proceedings
“No ethical and legal issue has caused more controversy among helping professionals than determining the boundaries of the therapeutic relationship” (Remley & Herlihy, 2014). When working with clients there are many potential boundary issues that are to be considered one issue is cross of boundaries when clients want you to accept gifts or items similarly for the work you do. On one hand you don’t want a client to have a feeling of rejection because you can not accept a gift, but you as don’t want to have an ethical issue because you accept any type of gift. Dr. Perepiczka (Laureate Education, 2012) states in the media video you have to let clients know during the discussion of informed consent that even though the relationship they are building is beneficial to helping the client reach their goals, they are paying for a service that helps in their own treatment. Giving or receiving gift is extra. The only thing they should focus on is achieving goals outlined in their treatment.
The ACA (2014) Standard A.5.c. advises counselors avoidance of any non-professional relationships with clients and/or others linked to the client. In cases when relationships have the potentially to be beneficial to a client this is allowed (ACA, 2014). When these relationships are justifiable counselors must document the justification for entering the relationship before initiating.
Relationships for some counselors may began to develop sexual or romantically with formal clients, clients or those closely associated with a formal or present client. As a counselor we want to stay away from entering such relationships. This can create an environment of potential exploitation and/or harm to both client and counselor.
These types of relationships are unethical at nature, the ACA Code of Ethics (2014) excludes counselors from entering or developing any type of intimate relationship for five years after termination or a client around to regulations by the state. Section A.3.a in the AMHCA directs counselors to make every effort to avoid sexual relationships with clients, this can result in impairment of professional judgment and risk of harm. If a counselor believes a therapeutic relationship has crossed bounders, they are to seek consultation and use reasonable decision making prior to acting on the relationship.
Meaningfulness of the Assignment
This assignment has been more meaningful that I imagined. As a student I was able to observe my journey though areas of uncertainty with regards to ethics and law. Its amazing to look back on my childhood experience that laid the foundation, then moving through my early and present adulthood. When I think back on my experiences, I found myself obligated to make decisions that at the time made sense within the scope of right and wrong. I’ve discovered that choices and decisions make at times were not solely from the purity of my fear, but sometimes out of fear of future consequences for either myself or others.
This assignment has helped me to realize being ethical takes deliberate effort and strength within myself that has developed over time. In a helping profession like counseling, we make continuing attempts to implement ethical decision making and moral and valuable judgment on the lives we touch. When I think about ethics, it must be first understood deeply, and remain foundational in our worldview in order to seek change.
As a future professional counselor inspiration and impact is developed and created through experiences, resources, and learning opportunities. When I take a look and reflect on the impact the work we do in this course is amazing. I am able to closely understand how ethics and law form in order to help counselors in the best possible way. During this course we relied heavily on the ACA Code of Ethics (2014) for two reasons, for a resource, but most importantly to understand my ethics and laws are not only important to protect counselors but to help in treatment for clients. For our last assignment when we took a close look into the importance of misconduct and violating ethics can not only put a counselor in trouble, but create a mistrust for a client. We have to impact our clients in the most meaningful way possible to create change in their lives for the good.
When I reflect back on the impact the work I’ve done in this class has contribute to my professional develop, I am able to see I now have the ability to think about, use, and integrate what I’ve learning about myself and the experiences of others in my work later in life. I think as a future counselor is to keep in mind, in order to help clients: take them to a place they have never been and be able to effectively help them, we must a journey to that place as well. As a counselor I can’t expect my client to let go or move on unless I know how to catch them if they fall.
Personal Values Reexamined
As a counselor, our clients put their lives in our hands, we create trusting therapeutic relationships with clients that have the possibility to create social change, understanding, and meaning in both our lives. As a professional counselor we have to be mindful of how our own personal values can have the ability to contribute to our relationships in either a beneficial way or a destructive way.
When examining personal values two concepts I keep in mind that can effect a relationship with a client is how I carry myself, and any biases I may have. A counselor has to be competent in their beliefs, vales, and actions. This means having an understanding our myself and holding myself accountable for my own behaviors, biases and limitations when working with clients or individuals different from myself.
As a future professional counselor to be successful we must take into consideration the seriousness and worth of ethical decision making and the ability to develop a foundation of values and beliefs in which we are able to rely on. These values and beliefs reflect the building blocks of ethics in law for a counselor. I want to develop a sense of respect, awareness and justice for client that will be deliberately and also a lifelong process. As a future counselor I know now that I have a remarkable amount of responsibility to not only my clients but society as a whole, to offer resolutions and the ability to purse happiness and mean in life. Ethical codes and laws we follow as counselors are reference to help ensure our decisions, behaviors, and actions are based on professionalism, moral judgment and social legal standing. Without this sense of foundation counselors could not inspire or contribute to the current crucial need for social change in the world.
American Counseling Association (ACA). (2014). 2014 ACA code of ethics [White Paper]. Retrieved from http://www.counseling.org/docs/ethics/2014-aca-code-of-ethics.pdf?sfvrsn=4
American Mental Health Counselors Association (AMHCA). (2010). 2010 AMHCA code of ethics [White Paper]. Retrieved from
2010 AMHCA Code of Ethics used with permission of The American Mental Health Counselors Association (AMHCA).
Handelsman, M. M., Gottlieb, M. C., & Knapp, S. (2005). Training ethical psychologists: An acculturation model. Professional Psychology: Re- search and Practice, 36, 59–65.
Hernandez, S. (2013). State-By-State: HIV Laws. Retrieved from
Laureate Education, Inc. (Executive Producer). (2012). Clinical mental health counseling: Boundary issues [Video]. Baltimore, MD: Author. Walden Coun6306 Week 6: Boundaries
Remley, T. P., Jr., & Herlihy, B. (2014). Ethical, legal, and professional issues in counseling (4th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson. Walden Coun6306 Week 6: Boundaries
Russell, B., Egner, R. E., & Denonn, L. E. (1961). Basic writings of Bertrand Russell, 1903-1959. New York: Simon and Schuster. Walden Coun6306 Week 6: Boundaries