Changing demographics have mandated that counselling and its resulting ethical practices be expanded to consider people and situations across various diversities and cultures. The current versions of the codes of ethics and standards of practice place a substantial emphasis on multiculturalism and diversity. The applicability and effectiveness of these principles are based upon the critical analysis, self-reflection, and self-monitoring by the individuals who are bound by them. This expectation allows us to maintain an ethically realistic and sound profession in which no harm is done.
Review what the codes of ethics have to say about this topic and incorporate this into your discussions:
- Review the concepts of providing services across diversity/cultures and discuss how counsellors should respond appropriately to the specific needs of these clients through ethical interventions.
- In their articles, the authors address potential legal and ethical implications of lawsuits that have been brought when counsellors and counselling students have used their religious beliefs as the basis for refusing to counsel lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transexual clients.
What are your thoughts about the implications of these cases? Do you think it is ever ethically appropriate for a counsellor to refer potential clients on the basis of sexual orientation? Why or why not? How might the values you hold either help or hinder you in working effectively in the area of sexual orientation?
Herlihy, B., Hermann, M. A., & Greden, L. R. (2014). Legal and ethical implications of using religious beliefs as the basis for refusing to counsel certain clients. Journal of Counseling & Development, 92(2), 148-153. https://discovery.ebsco.com/c/4ax45t/viewer/pdf/pxzk4ctw3b
Hermann, M. A., & Herlihy, B. R. (2006). Legal and Ethical Implications of Refusing to Counsel Homosexual Clients. Journal of Counseling & Development, 84(4), 414-418. https://discovery.ebsco.com/c/4ax45t/viewer/pdf/2c7c6iepqf
Commentary: The cases illustrate ethical and legal issues related to value imposition and conflict of values between counsellor and client. The authors, using outdated terminology, emphasize the importance of counsellors developing nonjudgmental and accepting attitudes, regardless of their value system, and paying tribute to its history. Words like “homosexual” and “homosexuality” remind the extent to which the language of diverse populations has changed. In the academic world, we should engage and perform discussions based on the historical context and decide how to approach the topic today, considering previous research and articles (Dr. Jack Olszewski – PSYC6203 Course Lead).
Response: Offering counselling services to individuals from various origins and cultures involves wide and complex ethical ramifications (CCPA, 2021). Counsellors who deal with people from different racial and cultural backgrounds must be mindful of the moral and legal implications of their job. This involves contemplating the potential moral and legal fallout from litigation brought about by counsellors and counselling students who declined to consult LGBTQ+ clients on the grounds of their religious views. Due to one’s own religious beliefs, refusing to give counselling to LGBTQ+ clients might have major ethical and legal ramifications (Hermann et al., 2006).
The rules of conduct and code of ethics place a strong emphasis on the ideals of multiculturalism and diversity (CCPA, 2020). The guiding principles of these rules come from the self-reflection, self-evaluation, and self-awareness of those who are subject to them. These moral principles provide assurance that the client won’t suffer damage and that the counsellor is providing them with services that are suitable for their culture (Herlihy et al., 2014). Counsellors are required under the codes to act morally and professionally, maintain and defend the client’s rights, and behave themselves in a professional and upstanding way.
Question for you: “What are your thoughts about being culturally informed versus those who may not be able to hide their bias and should refer out for the well-being of the client?”