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Suicide: What Therapists Need to Know, Essay Example

Pages: 3

Words: 890

Essay

Today, educators and counselors face a challenging task of being both compliant and effective. I personally think that the risk of being sued for misconduct and unethical behavior is great, and nobody can neglect the regulations.

While I would always research and read related rules, industry recommendations, ethical standards, and policies, judging one’s professionalism is subjective. As ethics are based on personal preferences, they it is hard to match one’s behavior with other individuals’ norms.

Razzhavaikina (18) states that the relationship between the counselor and the patient is crucial for the success of the therapy. When dealing with a group of people who voluntarily attend counseling, trust already exists on a level. However, many people who participate on a compulsory basis would have misconceptions and negative attitudes towards the sessions. This means that the counselor needs to work on building trust when dealing with people who were assigned to the group.

Working with a group of people who voluntarily participate also has one advantage: these individuals have already realized that they have a problem and attend counseling to get solutions. Some individuals in the compulsory group would not admit that they need counseling at all. Further, Code 1.3 d of the ethical code for social workers states that “ in instances when clients are receiving services involuntarily, social workers should provide information about the nature and extent of services and about the extent of clients’ right to refuse service”.

Firestone (2) clearly states that counselors and therapist need to be aware of suicide warning signs. While some patients verbally indicate that they are thinking about taking their own lives, others would keep these feelings a secret. The main sources of suicidal thoughts are self-hate, low self-esteem, self-blame, and isolation. The effective therapies listed by Firestone (5) for dealing with patients who express their suicidal thoughts are cognitive therapy, dialectical development therapy focusing on distress tolerance, mentalizing treatment, and transference-focused therapy, strengthening and building positive counselor-patient relationships.

In the case of the child, it would be important to explain that it is not his fault, and that his parents can still love him. It is also possible that family counseling is needed in order to rebuild and strengthen the relationship between the parents and the child. According to Firestone (5),  patients reported developing autonomy and identity, relationship verification, and working with emotions as the most successful therapies to prevent suicide. This method could be effectively used in the case of the 79-year old patient, who would need support to strengthen his relationships and autonomy.

Five important common principles of the two codes compared (American Counseling Association Ethics and Professional Standards, and National Association of Social Workers Code of Ethics)  are: informed consent, cultural and social diversity competence, confidentiality, respect and integrity, and professional responsibility. The National Association of Social Workers Code of Ethics (8) signifies counselors’ and social workers’ responsibility not only for providing adequate and high quality services, but also taking training and research seriously. The document states that those who practice in specialty areas need to seek adequate training and information. Further, counselors have to monitor their own effectiveness. In the ACA Code of Ethics, this is described as continuing education.

Confidentiality of records and documentation is also detailed in both ethical codes: there are different recommendations related to managing records, providing access, granting observation rights, and transfer disclosure. Records need to be maintained for a certain time. Informed consent is mentioned by both documents, as a compulsory document to be signed before counseling is started.

Respect is only mentioned in the “Social Workers’ Ethical Responsibilities to Colleagues” section of the Code of Ethics of the National Association of Social Workers.  It is, however, an integral part of the APA Code of Ethics. Similarly developmental and cultural sensitivity is mentioned by the APA, however, the code of the National Association of Social Workers only mentions discrimination as an unethical practice. The document, however, mentions cultural competence and social diversity as an ethical code,  and focuses on obtaining knowledge about different diverse groups, such as ethnic minorities, sexual minorities, or disabled individuals.

Julie needs to consider the ethical codes related to disclosure of records and professional relationships mentioned in the ethical code. First of all, in order to discuss the case with third parties, according to Code 1.07 h, she needs to seek authorization from the client or their representative. In this case, that would be the caregiver or parent. Section p of the same code also states that identifying information should not be disclosed for training or support.

Further, Section 1.14 states that clients who lack decision-making capacity require more protection. This is clearly relevant to Julie’s job, who works with children. Another relevant point is that social workers need to avoid derogatory language. In case of children, this is a challenging task, as it is hard to determine children’s adequate cognitive development level and match the language to their needs. She also needs to consider the Child Abuse Reporting Rules, relevant to her practice to identify, deal with, and report cases when children are neglected, abused, or in danger.

Works Cited

2014 ACA Code of Ethics.  2014. Web. <http://www.counseling.org/knowledge-center/ethics>

Firestone, L.  “Suicide: What Therapists Need To Know” Web. <http://www.apa.org/education/ce/suicide.pdf>

Razzhavaikina, T. “Mandatory Counseling: A Mixed Methods Study of Factors that Contribute to the Development of the Working Alliance”. 2007. Print.

Code of Ethics of the National Association of Social Workers. Revised 2008. Web. <http://www.socialworkers.org/pubs/code/default.asp>

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