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The primary obligations of the counsellor in counselling ethics

The ACA Code of Ethics (ACA, 2005) guides dealing with counselling ethics in a case of illustrated issues. The presented situation depicts a scenario in which a counsellor is forced to make a diagnosis representing a higher level of mental illness to secure extra funding even though the counsellor is sure that there are no mental illness issues. If action is taken as per the supervisor’s instructions, then the virtue of the decision is highly compromised due to falsification. For such difficult situations, the guidelines provided by ACA state to follow an ethical decision-making model. In this case, the moral responsibility of the counsellor is toward the community (service users), the government (for acquiring funding), and the supervisor, as his instructions have to be followed by regulations. When considered from the COE perspective the interest of each stakeholder is to be secured for community development health, and well-being of the society. From this reference, the counsellor’s primary duty is to ensure the health and well-being of a community. Thus, making efforts to protect the clients from harmful effects is necessary. If clients are diagnosed with illness on false grounds not only will it affect the psychological dimension of customers but also the state will be serving an issue which does not exist. Hence, considering the ethical responsibility, the counsellor should reject the instruction of the supervisor and identify the various perspectives of consequences (ACA, 2005; ASCA, 2005; ASCA, 2004). Even though, not complying with instructions is likely to result in a power tussle between counsellor and supervisor. Also, the counsellor could be charged against the claim of non-compliant behaviour. However, the obvious implication of a falsified demeanour contains more serious consequences. Hence, either counsellor should take the support of the whistleblower or should diplomatically refuse abeyance of instruction.


American Counseling Association. (2005). ACA code of Ethics. Alexandria, VA: Author

American School Counselor Association. (2005). The ASCA National Model: A Framework for School Counseling Programs, Second Edition. Alexandria, VA: Author.

American School Counselor Association (2004). Ethical Standards for School Counselors. Alexandria, VA: Author.



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