That which is not practical can not be theoritcal either. Meaning, every theory must stand the test of practicability. What is theory after all? Theory is other man’s experience. This is the basic point a counsellor has to remember in his day to day practice. The difference between the individual sitting before the counsellor and the counsellor himself is that he has the problem which you don’t have and you are supposed to know how to treat him. The client is generally an individual, but it could be a couple,family, group or an organization.
In counselling, ethical principles are well-suited, but reliance on any single ethical principle, may not lead to the correct solution. For, each individual comes from a different background in relation to values and culture. The referral is done with the knowledge and consent of the client. You are making a referral, because you are convinced about its necessity . You have cerain information about the client and you need to confirm certain additional issues.
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Referral always discloses certain special infromaton about the client. You need to ensure that the person to whom you are making the referral has the necessary skill to provide the needed service. You also need to make sure that the secrecy of any confidential issues mentioned in the referral are adequately protected and you are making the referral for the sole benefit of the client. Receiving the referrals also involves certan important considerations.
The questions that you need to ponder are, whether the referral will be beneficial to the client; whether the client has given equivocal consent for the referral, and whether it is legally protective, should anything go wrong with the client, in the course of counselling/treatment. The main legal considerations relevant to practise. When the going gets tough, the tough gets going—but this is not aways the case. It may be true of your individual approach. But here, your client is involved. He may not be mentally ready or tough, when you are going to discuss certain issues with him and his reacions are not bound to please you.
It is the client’s problem. Your agency policy and procedures should be responsive to the needs and apprehensions of the client. You are there because of the goodwill of the clients. You don’t cause harm to the clients delibeately, but for those harms caused inadvertanly, some times you may not let off the legal hook. An apology may not be always accepted by the client, if the harm caused to him is severe. Firstly, you need to take immediate steps to stop further harm. The mistake should not be repeated again. From the legal angle, adequate insurance for professional indemnity and liability is required.
If the mistake has happened inspite of your acting in good faith and without negligence, an independent dispute resolution method should be adopted and such an arrangement should form part of accepting the referral. The practical method adopted are mediation, seeking a second opinion, or conciliation, as befitting the circumstances of the case. Maximum possible information should be provided to the client before the commencement of the treatment, and the client shoud be in the perfect know that you are governed by the Professional Conduct Procedure of BACP.
The client should have a clear picture about your duties and responsibilities. The main features of the BACP framework for ethical practice. The main features of BACP framework for ethical practice is the comprehensive approach to the essential human dignity. Here you are not performing a surgery to the patient by anaesthesia. The patient is lying on the bed and you can use your skills and the patient is not going to protest, because your medication has made him unconsicous, for the duration of the operation. Your profession is mostly to deal with the problems of the mind.
Your each question and the answers that you provide are going to affect his sensitivity. Therefore, the dignity and rights of the patient are of utmost importance and it is your duty to protect them. This is what is emphasized in the BACP framework for ethical practice. “Ensuring the integrity of practitioner-client relationships Enhancing the quality of professional knowledge and its application Alleviating personal distress and suffering Fostering a sense of self that is meaningful to the person(s) concerned
Increasing personal effectiveness Enhancing the quality of relationships between people Appreciating the variety of human experience and culture Striving for the fair and adequate provision of counselling and psychotherapy services Values inform principles”(BACP, 2007) Factors affecting adherence to the BACP framework. The principles and guidelines of the BACP framework, are like the laws of waves in an ocean; they are not like the law of gravitation. The guidelines are subject to constant review. The practitioner has many practical problems.
Sometimes, the clash beween the two principles are inevitable and you need to use your discriminating power to come to a conclusion, as to what is good and fair in a particular case. You may have to set precedents and you may have to break precedents. Ethical rules are not mandatory; they are there to assist you to assist your patient. Sometimes, to give up ethics altogether may be useful. Judgements vary from court to court and similar is the case with the counsellor. You can not make a client suffer, just because you need to stick to a particular ethical concept.
“ By accepting this statement of ethics, members of the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy are committing themselves to engaging with the challenge of striving to be ethical, even when doing so involves making difficult decisions or acting courageously. ”…. “ This statement therefore responds to the complexity of delivering counselling and psychotherapy services in contemporary society by directing attention to essential issues that practitioners ought to consider and resolve in the specific circumstances of their work. ” (BACP, 2007)
Evaluate the benefits and shortcomings of the BACP framework. As many human beings are,so many minds exist. Counselling is mind-related. Each individual is a special patient, and his problems can never be identical. The emphasis and thrust of the issue varies from person to person. The BACP framework, is the well-researched outcome of more than three decades of exerience, surveys and experiments of thousands of counsellors who must have dealt with millions of clients. But even the mass of experience may prove inadequae to treat a particular patient.
The various ethical principles are complimentary to each other, they are like the various steps of the ladder, each supporting the other for the growth and ascendancy of the individual, but sometimes, they fail to reconcile with each other. In this situation, the judgement of the counsellor palys an important role. That is the test of the counselling practice. It is also the test of your application of the theoritical knowledge. Whether a particular devision is ethical or not, is a highly subjective matter. You can not pinpoint a particular clause of the BACP Ethical framework and say that it is wrong.
It may be wrong in a particular case of the particular individual. With the advancement of the modern materialistic civilization, the ethical framework is consantly under pressure. What were ethical values a decade ago, may not be so now, and they need not be! Explore and evaluate professional issues for the practising counsellor: The main professional issue for the counsellor is that he must look like the counsellor. He must have the mental toughness and ability to change the client, whose referral he has accepted. As the wise saying goes, when the thoughts are changed, the mind is changed; when the mind is changed, the man is changed.
The client has come to you because he is thinkig in the way, he should not think . You need to explore the possibilities in that individual and be sure about the outcome. You have to teach him the new ways of looking at the life and tell him what is positive confrontation is all about. Your objective is to switch on the light-button; when that is done, the negativities will go away, automatically. Darkness and light can not remain in the same place simutaneously. The end-objective is to make the client re-discover himself and help him to recoup his original mental health.
What is life and precisely what is mind which is the cause of your present unfriendly state of affairs? Mind is, minding! It is a bundle of thoughts. You are continuously being influenced and impacted by the happenings and sourroundings of your childhood, the world around you and the society. They may be cruel to you, for no fault of yours. You have lost proper connectivity with the society and you worry deeply over non-issues. Therefore, the job of the counsellor is to find new thought patterns. The psychological wound has to be healed and if possible even the traces of it need to be removed. This is the challenge in front of the counsellor.
In fine, a practising counsellor need to know some of these important values: To accept, love and nurture everyone uncondtionally, the value of consensus decisions, to remember always that you can learn from anyone the process of learning, even from your patient, fun and celebrations are important, the style of your communication is all-important, give-respect and take-respect is the most appropriate policy, paying compliment and recognizing one’s abilities are very important in the growth of an indvidual. Whatever words we utter should be chosen with care, for patients will hear them and be influenced by them for good or evil.
Your steps and procedures should help the physical,mental,intellectual and spiritual growth of the individual. Only such a system can pave way for the complete growth of the patient. As the counsellor, you need to constantly update your knowledge about the latest techniques, research in the field of counselling: Some of them are, Art therapy, Psycho synthesis, The Enneagram, Gestalt Therapy, Logos Therapy, Neuro Linguistic Programming, Transactonal Analaysis, etc. Your final objective is to find out where your patient is stuck. Where the blocade is.
Why he is behaving in a particular way and reacts thus? Your motivation has to demolish many unwanted structures within him. Mere indirect help is not enough. The counsellor has to initate a process of rediscovery in him and help him to restore his own lost treasure-the original personality! ---------------------------- References British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (2007). Ethical Framework for Good Practice in Counselling and Psychotherapy. BACP. 21 April 2007. <http://www. bacp. co. uk/ethical_framework>. See Reference BACP: see British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy
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