Ethics in Human Services: Counseling Agency

Introduction

Counseling is a rewarding field that is concerned with empowering and addressing the emotional and psychological challenges facing clients. Having completed the coursework successfully, I have acquired and developed superior competencies that can make it easier for me to meet the needs of different groups. This is the reason why my counseling agency is dedicated to empowering more clients. This discussion offers a detailed analysis of the issues associated with my professional practice. The topics described include the type of agency, area of specialization, code of ethics, best practices, and counseling styles that will be put in place to address the needs of different clients.

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Thesis Statement

The intended counseling agency will have competent professionals who are guided by an effective code of ethics to offer evidence-based services to couples using humanistic and interpersonal styles.

Agency and Population

My agency will deliver counseling and guidance services to couples and divorcees. The venture will be established in an urban setting in order to ensure that more clients are able to receive superior support. The target population includes persons who are having difficulties in their marriages. Those in romantic relationships will also benefit from the agency (Corey, Corey, Corey, & Callanan, 2015). The rationale behind this kind of counseling agency is that more people are unable to achieve their potential due to the challenges associated with relationships and marriages.

Area of Specializing

As described earlier, my area of specialization is that of marriage counseling. Statistics indicate that around fifty percent of marriages in the developed world end prematurely or in divorce (Honari & Shamoli, 2017). Experts have also acknowledged that the situation might get out of hand due to emotional problems and the use of social media platforms (Honari & Shamoli, 2017). Since couples tend to come from diverse racial, religious, and cultural backgrounds, it becomes impossible for them to relate positively. More often than not, disagreements arise and eventually affect the entire family.

The demand for counseling and guidance services among married people has continued to swell. The current number of agencies providing such services is quite small (Corey et al., 2015). My venture will, therefore, address this challenge and make it easier for more couples to lead better lives and achieve their potential. The agency will also make me successful and expand my competencies as a counselor.

Code of Ethics

A powerful “code of ethics” is essential if my agency is to achieve its aims without undermining the rights of different clients. The selected code for this venture is that of the National Association of Social Workers (NASW). In terms of history, this code was established in 1960 after NASW’s Delegate Assembly analyzed and approved it (“History of the NASW,” n.d.). From that period, it became a standard for dictating the practices, behaviors, and values of social workers. Although my field is in counseling, I believe that the NASW code resonates with my goals and expectations.

The code focuses on various areas that must be taken seriously. For instance, counselors and social workers must be professional and address their clients’ needs. They should also offer the right care or attention to them. They should not establish romantic relationships with their clients. Informed consent must always be sought whenever collecting data. Values and attributes such as integrity, justice, autonomy, benevolence, and transparency must always be upheld (“History of the NASW,” n.d.). Counselors should not share private information with other individuals. These unique attributes will dictate the performance, behaviors, and actions of every employee in the agency.

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The code will be implemented in such a way that different workers are aware of every outlined principle. Individuals will also be encouraged to revisit or read it frequently. The above areas are applicable or fit for my agency. Acceptable behaviors include promoting the idea of professionalism and focusing on clients’ needs. Concepts such as client autonomy and benevolence will always be taken seriously. Workers must relate with their clients positively (Garcia & Gómez, 2014). They should support them and address the issues facing them. Unacceptable behaviors include dishonoring the rights and freedoms of different clients, exposing their information to unauthorized people, and establishing romantic relationships with them.

Several ethical concepts might arise with my agency. The first one is that of collecting information. This means that the concept of informed consent will always be taken seriously. The second concern is that of guardians, couples, and children. When dealing with different clients, specific issues must be shared with children or their partners. These concerns have to be taken into consideration whenever providing counseling services to different clients. Another ethical issue is when a specific worker is required to share a client’s information with another counselor (Mahaffey & Wubbolding, 2016). The most important thing will be to encourage different individuals to act in a professional manner and deal with such ethical issues efficiently.

Some problems might arise when crafting the most appropriate code of ethics. The first one is that every aspect of the borrowed NASW model might not be applicable in a counseling environment. However, it will be necessary to consider the most appropriate attributes to make the code effective (Mahaffey & Wubbolding, 2016). Some stakeholders might also be against it. Such problems are capable of affecting the agency’s effectiveness and efficiency.

Best Practices

In order to deliver positive results, a number of best practices will be introduced and made part of the intended agency. Such aspects will act as guiding principles for addressing the changing needs of different clients. The first one is that of patient rights. Every person has specific liberties and freedoms that must be identified and fulfilled by counselors and social workers. I will ensure that my employees focus on the expectations and desires of every client. The second issue is that of diagnosis and assessment (Garcia & Gómez, 2014). As a professional, I understand that some of the disagreements encountered in marriages are attributable to psychological disorders. Such conditions will be diagnosed after getting the consent of the targeted client. The information will also not be shared with other people without the knowledge or approval of the patient.

The third aspect revolves around the concept of diversity. The model of my agency must be designed in such a way that every initiative meets the diverse needs of different clients. This means that professionals who can communicate in different languages and who are aware of the diversity experienced in the surrounding community are hired. This best practice will ensure that more people have their marital challenges addressed. The concept of cultural competence will be considered as another best practice (Honari & Shamoli, 2017). This initiative will ensure that different people in the community (and those from diverse backgrounds) have their challenges met. The religious and cultural attributes of the people will always be taken into consideration.

Counseling Styles

Since the targeted clients are affected by different issues or concerns, it will be appropriate to use different counseling styles to deliver positive results. The first one is the humanistic approach. This kind of therapy happens to be client-centered. The counselor guides the client or patient to accept his or her situation. The existing problems are shared, thereby making it possible for the therapist or counselor to formulate a powerful model to achieve positive outcomes. New meaning can be achieved through emotional understanding and self-actualization. In terms of history, this style borrows a lot from gestalt therapy. It emerged in the 1940s after Frederick (Fritz) and Laura Perls came up with the idea (Jenkins, 2016). It is currently used to improve people’s awareness and acceptance.

The second style will be interpersonal therapy. This kind of initiative makes it possible for counselors to identify the unique issues arising from ineffective communication. The ultimate objective is to identify how inappropriate interpersonal communication among couples can result in poor outcomes. Malpractice is also associated with emotional struggles. According to the proponents of the style, improved interpersonal communication can result in acceptance. This means that the emotional issues or challenges affecting two or more individuals in a given family will be addressed (Garcia & Gómez, 2014). In terms of history, this style has been in use within the past century. It has been informed by concepts of human communication and relationship. It is used to re-pattern communication models and empowers people to share their pains.

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I believe that the application of these two counseling styles will empower me to help more clients. The humanistic approach will make it easier for me to examine the predicaments facing my clients. This will then result in a re-patterning experience whereby different persons will be empowered to focus on new beginnings. They will forgive their spouses and embrace positive outcomes (Mahaffey & Wubbolding, 2016). The second style will be used to promote better communication models between spouses. They will be encouraged to share their pains and promote a sense of understanding.

Professional development is an issue that will be taken seriously. This means that every employee will be encouraged to engage in lifelong learning. These practices will empower more counselors and equip them with superior concepts, styles, and ideas that can improve their clients’ experiences (Jenkins, 2016). Emerging evidence-based notions and ideas in counseling will also be introduced to deliver positive results.

Employee Empowerment

The concept of lifelong learning is what will be considered to help my employees maintain and develop their talents. This concept will be implemented in such a way that the workers embrace new ideas and attributes that can maximize clients’ outcomes. They will embrace the power of evidence-based practice and follow the formulated code of ethics (Corey et al., 2015). Additionally, several organizations will be identified and recommended to the employees. These include the American Counseling Association (ASA) and the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy (AAMFT). These agencies offer timely updates and concepts that can empower and make it easier for counselors to support individuals in troubled relationships or marriages.

Conclusion

My counseling agency will have competent professionals who can offer high-quality and timely services to different clients. The implemented code of ethics will dictate the behaviors and actions undertaken by every counselor. The use of humanistic and interpersonal therapies will ensure that the needs of more clients are met. My workers will also be empowered to embrace the power of lifelong learning.

References

Corey, G., Corey, M. S., Corey, C., & Callanan, P. (2015). Issues and ethics in the helping professions (9th ed.). Cengage Publishing.

Garcia, V. C., & Gómez, V. A. (2014). Limitations of evolutionary theory in explaining marital satisfaction and stability of couple relationships. International Journal of Psychological Research, 7(1), 81-93.

History of the NASW code of ethics. (n.d.). Web.

Honari, A., & Shamoli, L. (2017). The effectiveness of cognitive behavioural couple therapy on marital stress and emotional skills of infidel couples in Shiraz. International Journal of Medical Research & Health Sciences, 6(2), 83-90.

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Jenkins, P. (2016). Gestalt couples therapy in the field of trauma. Psychology, 7, 695-708. Web.

Mahaffey, B. A., & Wubbolding, R. (2016). Applying reality therapy’s WDEP tenets to assist couples in creating new communication strategies. The Family Journal: Counseling and Therapy for Couples and Families, 24(1), 38-43. Web.

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StudyCorgi. 2021. "Ethics in Human Services: Counseling Agency." June 24, 2021. https://studycorgi.com/ethics-in-human-services-counseling-agency/.

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