During my Practicum I experienced several ethical issues but the one that stood out the most was concerning a client that I had to work with. After working with her for several days I learned that she had been sexually abused by her stepfather I was told to help her deal with being able to take baths on the daily basis. During the fourth session she asked me how I knew about her being sexually assaulted by her father and she wanted to talk to my supervisor because they had told me her personal information and she felt like it was not right. I explained to her that she had told me about it and I then consulted with my supervisor to help straighten the situation out.
The client attempted to tell my supervisor that she had a case and she could report us because she did not appreciate us telling her business to each other. My supervisor immediately pulled her file and showed her that she had signed an informed consent and a confidentiality paper voluntarily. My supervisor then sat down with her and explained that I was just doing my job with helping her. She showed and assisted the client with understanding the agreements and the client peacefully apologized to me and we were able to move on.
My supervisor explained to me that working with clients with Mental Health issues can sometimes be overwhelming due to them believing that their rights are being misused. She expressed that they have to be reinforced and redirected sometimes to make them feel comfortable. According to the standards of ethics (2009) “it is an articulation of the ever-changing relationship between counseling professionals and society. It provides clear parameters of behaviors to meet the changing needs of the people counselors are called to serve.” (p.2) The ACA code of ethics states that “counselors assist others entering the profession by serving as counselor educators or supervisors. In those roles, counselors model the values they are teaching as they interact with students, namely, justice, equality, competence, and caring. Furthermore, counselors expect those who are preparing to be counselors to maintain the professional covenant with their clients and society” (Ponton & Duba, 2009 p. 3).
Human Growth and Development
The client population that I dealt with during my practicum was adults with Mental Health issues like depression, schizophrenia and bi-polar. When dealing with the mental health population building rapport with clients is vital to the helping relationship. If you are not able to succeed in the first two to three sessions then you need to consult with your supervisor to find out more strategies to use. Patterns of communication between a counselor and client are ideally characterized by openness and honesty. To increase open communications, counselors should consistently check with the clients to ensure they are accurately interpreting and understanding client’s verbal and nonverbal messages (Mitrousi, 2013). Finding commonalities between the client and you could help build rapport. Sharing with the client that you are not a perfect person and you have faults just like anyone else could, also be helpful.
Being self-aware is vital to helping clients meet their goals because if you are not aware of your own triggers then how can you help someone else. Counseling can help people discover their inner self. It can help them see blind areas of their lives. Through counseling, people can discover the deep-rooted beliefs, attitudes, and expectations that drive their behavior (Hansen, 2009). We as helpers can provide new ways of looking at behaviors and promoting the development of necessary skills that the clients are lacking.
“Hope is critical to satisfying and abundant life” (Prov. 13:12). Clients who deal with a painful past are a lot of times scared to face the future. “Hope begins with the client believing that it is possible for their future to…