Research Paper: Ethical Dilemas in Counseling Liberty University Abstract Ethical dilemmas will be a constant as we embark into the field of counseling. Whenever human beings are involved there are a range of personality types, beliefs and characteristics that are involved. There are many views of counseling but it is very important to have a world view which captures the gamet of individuals. To be a professional counselor it is important to first know who you are, what your motivations are and morals. A counselor has many roles; they provide guidance, structure, spiritual guidance and counseling.
The counselor has a huge respionsibility which includes making clear unbiased judgements, listening without persuading, acountability for the treatment of our clients and guiding without making decisions for them. In short, we are in control of the clients life for a brief or long period of time. We are there to guide the client but who’s guiding us as counselors? The American Association for Counselors is put in place as a code of conduct for the everyday counselor. It was put in place to outline the many moral issues that may come about in the counseling profession.
Primarily based on scientific theory and the counselors respinsibility to the client. The American Association of Christian Counselors is s guideline for Christian Counselors put in place to outline the many moral issues that may come about but in contrast its primary focus is the counselor’s responsibility to God. To be a professional, effective counselor it is important to first know who you are, what your motivations are and morals. A counselor has many roles; they provide guidance, structure, spiritual guidance and counseling.
A major component of counseling deals with the thinking patterns of the mind that directly leads to behavioral, emotional, spiritual, and relationship changes. A counselor must attempt to become familiar with a client to solve their problems while demonstrating a genuine concern and compassion for the client’s dilemmas. The counselor must be able to make individualized plans for dealing with each client separately, as every client will be different. In summary, the ultimate goal as a counselor is to help others understand themselves and heir existence so they both may reach their full potential. The Webster’s dictionary defines counseling as “professional guidance of the individual by utilizing psychological methods especially in collecting case history data, using various techniques of the personal interview, and testing interests and aptitudes”. The word counseling has multiple meanings, including offering advice and encouragement, sharing wisdom and skills, setting goals, resolving conflict, etc. Counselors usually probe the past in an attempt to repair the present.
A major part of counseling is resolving and restoring conflicts between people. A counselor has many responsibilities which include teaching, advocating, counseling the client, making clear unbiased judgments, listening without persuading, accountability for the treatment of our clients and guiding without making decisions for them. To be an effective counselor, the Counselor must first believe in the client’s ability to change, they must have the ability to empathize and listen; they also have to believe in themselves and methods and last but not least, believe in a “greater good” of mankind.
Other characteristics of a “good counselor” would be tolerance for intimacy, comfort with power emotional insightfulness and energetic. Other personal qualities that would be helpful are problem centered, creative, flexible, ethical, stable, consistent, self awareness and the ability to control their own lives. There is also essential engaging listening because counseling proper involves speech. Therefore, the major issues surrounding counseling are about the worldviews that inform the conversation.
The use of language is very important in counseling because almost all counseling is talk. There are many reasons why one may become a counselor. Some of the main reason being; excitement and satisfaction for helping people change, opportunity for evaluating one’s own life, desire to nurture others, or even joy of seeing others become in control of their lives vs. “victims”. This job is not for everyone; for instance a person with anger, unresolved issues and habitual relationship conflicts may not fit the role of a “good counselor”.
A counselor would be one with inner peace, spirituality, unselfishness, and stable Frank Parson is considered to be the “father of counseling”. In the early 1900’s this profession was introduced. It was primarily a “vocational” development profession that assisted in employment assistance and employment education. It slowly evolved with the help of Carl Rogers and other theorists as a more humanitarian side was explored. Most Counselors were school counselors, teachers and seen as disciplinarians.
In the 1970’s the first mental health counselors emerged. In 1989 twenty two states recognized mental health counselors and by 2003 forty eight states recognized the field. From this phenomenon came specialized fields of counseling: marriage and family counseling, psychiatry, clinical psychology, counseling psychology and clinical social work. In the year 2000 on, a new emphasis was on “counselors dealing with crises”. Trauma and tragedies emerged with heightened violence in the schools and terrorist attacks.
Following the growth of counselors came professional organizations in support of this human service field like the American Counseling association, the American Mental Health Counseling Association and the American Association of Christian Counselors. These organizations gave birth to licensure requirements and ethical guidelines to hold the counselors job at a higher standard and to hold the counselor’s accountable for their work. The term Ethics is used to refer to “standards of conduct that indicate how a person should behave based on moral duties and virtues, which are derived from principles of right and wrong”.
Ethics; also known as morality philosophy addresses human morality and issues like how moral values are determined, how a moral outcome can be achieved in specific situations, how moral capacity or moral agency develops and what its nature is , and what moral values people actually abide by. Christian counseling and psychological counseling has its’ comparisons but distinct differences. The goals and motivations of both branches of counseling are also different Christian counseling has many goals, but the primary goal is to help you develop a inherent love for God and people around you.
Some Christian counselors believe that the integration of secular psychology and The Bible is a rejection of the Bible’s claim to be “sufficient for us”. Believing this approach to counseling only leads to confusion by blurring the lines between human behavior modification and genuine spiritual sanctity. The Christian counselor’s purpose is to not only help us feel better” or “find happiness, but to help us grow spiritually for service in God. The Christian counselor also believes that counseling has to be practiced by a person who has a healthy awareness of his own emotions.
Christian counselors have to feel appropriate feelings and know when their emotions are over bearing in a given situation. They have to be in touch to what others are feeling and know how to empathize and be sympathetic. Another goal of Christian counseling is to help us face the numerous challenges of life in a way that will always please and glorify the Lord Jesus Christ. The Bible is the counselor’s main tool. The Holy Spirit gives gifts to the counselor to guide and give hope through the Scripture. Prayer and dependence upon God are essential parts of Christian counseling.
Christian counselors have resources for helping you that others do not have; resources that are unique and sufficient. Christian counseling recognizes the importance of the past, the present, and the future in your life. Both walking with God in this life and knowing “Him”, God in eternity is the Christian counselor’s concern. Using the Scripture in Christian counseling is important and requires understanding your problems from a biblical perspective and then applying steps to biblical solutions to those problems.
It will help us get through some of our ethical dilemmas by trusting in a higher power to resolve issues and break down barriers while working with our clients. The counselors who serve in the Christian Counseling know how to bring the Word of God to bear on sinful and hopeless situations. Teaching that hope can be found and change can be accomplished as the Word of God is spoken in the power and working of the Holy Spirit. The Scriptures of both the Old and the New Testaments addresses all the issues facing a person in life.
In Christian counseling change takes place first in your heart and mind. Your thinking must be brought into alignment with the Word of God. Biblical counseling focuses on a genuine change of heart not just a change of circumstances or behavior . The Christian counselor believes that Holy Spirit works to sanctify or change the problem in your life . God can change your thinking and behaviors bringing you into complete conformity to Christ. The Christian counselor teaches that as a believer in Christ you have the ability and to glorify God and to live pleasing to Him.
Counseling, when blessed by the Holy Spirit, helps you to become pure in heart, to have a peaceful conscience, and to trust God making for a better counselor and a better relationship with him. Christian counseling involves an approach where we have to identify the problem, identify the biblical principle that applies and apply the principle to the problem. The ultimate goal is for an individual to grow closer to God. Understanding the nature and causes of our conflictswill include understanding ways in which stray from the cross in our values, desire, thought, attitudes, actions and choices.
Resolving those conflicts, or sin will lead to redemption through Christ. The bible references many Christian counseling principles and characteristics; very similar to the characteristics and principles outlined in the course. The Christian counselor has to be central to God; centered (1 Corinthians 10:31) “So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God”. The Christian counselor will treat God as central to all of life’s interactions without minimizing the influence of God or treating him as irrelevant or unnecessary; it directly ties all issues to God.
All counseling issues are related to God at all levels, and counseling that tries to lead toward healing without dealing with God isn’t helpful. The Christian counselor must also exalt God; exalt (John 16:14) “How be it when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will show you things to come”. There is no true gratification in counseling if a person becomes functional or reaches their goals without becoming spiritually filled in Jesus Christ because it will not be long lasting.
A person will not reach complete self awareness without understanding the condition we would be in without the cross, and without feeling the joy of deliverance. When one is not dependent on the spirit, the counselor knows and knows that it is worthless to attempt to counsel without consulting with the spirit; spirit dependent (Romans 8:13) “for if you are living according to the flesh, you must die; but if by the Spirit you are putting to death the deeds of the body, you will live”.
According to the scripture, the counselor must also be emotionally in touch as stated earlier;(Deuteronomy 32:2) “Let my teaching fall like rain and my words descend like dew, like showers on new grass, like abundant rain on tender plants”. Self-efficacy and motivation is also important in counseling. Self efficacy is defined as “self-perceived” ability to successfully complete or perform a particular task. Motivation is directly related to self-efficacy in that if someone perceives themselves as able to handle a situation (high self-efficacy); they will be more motivated to work hard at successfully handling the situation.
Someone who has low self-efficacy, or self esteem they will not be very motivated to engage in the task because they fear failure. Secular counseling was created from humanism, and seeks to help a person adjust in difficult and times in their lives. The process may include client education, behavioral techniques, and cognitive restructuring. The result will most likely be some type of adaptation that provides symptom relief. In secular counseling, the problem is often the main focus.
With Christian counseling, God remains the focus; one important goal is helping the person to grow a rich and accurate view of God1 specific to that person’s life. This form of counseling, (secular) is big on the person independently finding their way to self awareness through inner qualities. It is opposite of Christian counseling because it doesn’t stress the reliance on Christ of the Holy Spirit. If a client has negative self-views and low expectations in their ability to handle stressful situations, this client will be unmotivated and frustrated not only in therapy to achieve therapeutic change, but also in everyday situations.
The Counselor believes that it would be the therapist’s goal to help the client raise their self-view to achieve certain degree of self efficacy to handle stressful and challenging situations. Motivation would then increase directly with more positive self esteem , promoting the client’s belief in themselves and abilities. The counselor focuses on wellness and personal growth and work on helping people to enhance the quality of their relationships. Many clients are in search of meaning and direction in numerous life settings;school, family, and career all of which involve relationships.
Empowerment in secular counseling comes through thinking clearly and making wise choices. Unfortunately, problems can become so overwhelming it is difficult to accomplish either one of these without a higher power. The “secular” counselor will equip individuals with life strategies to help them think, feel, and act differently in order to enhance the quality of your life without God or the spirit. This class has taught me the importance of self awareness, stability in my own life and learning the bible in order to become an effective Christian counselor.
The job of counseling involves a great deal of responsibility, patience and education. Since there are so many different versions of therapy and counseling it’s important for people who consider their faith to be a big part of their lives to feel comfortable with the counselor. Christians seeking therapy will probably have a difficult time with the methods of secular counselors, especially if their advice goes against the principals taught in the Bible.
In a world filled with so many challenges and opportunities, Chrisitan counseling is a choice for individuals, couples, and families who wish to grow to the next level of faith and well-being. People from all walks of life will be able to learn the benefits of becoming closer to God and learn how to walk by faith in the Glory of God. It is open to everyone of all races, beliefs and views and it is our job to offer mankind a closer relationship with Godd and to show them God. A big issue that is up for great surfacing in the US is the “homosexual” community.
Do we allow openness on campuses, do we allow people of the same sex to marry, to adopt, to join the military. Among college campuses the homosexual population is growing and there are many people afraid to address the issues of the homosexual community or even acknowledge the group. Vermont is the only state on the verge of allowing the union between gay and lesbian couples. In the rest of the country there is great opposition to same sex marriage. Other gay rights measures are gaining support despite copposition from the conservatives.
Eleven states and 124 municipalities have anti discrimination legislation and some school districtcs allowed high school students to form gay-straight alliance clubs. On the military front, the Defense Department is working towards a decline of anti gay harassment but still they defend the don’t ask don’t tell policy. Democrat Al Gore backs anti gay rights measures openly and Georg Bush opposed these measures while in office. Opposition refers to causes that goes against the granting of certain rights and privileges to lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people that are typically granted to heterosexual people.
Such opposition can be motivated by religious belief, political ideology, and homophobia. The rights and privileges that are opposed are those that do not conform to a heterosexual perspective and include government recognition of rights to civil unions or partnerships, adoption by same-sex couples, access to assisted reproductive technology and access to sex reassignment surgery. People who do not identify with their biological sex are a small group of the population, but the issues they post for law medicine and society are significant.
Trans gendered people say they experience wide spread discrimination in employment, housing and other areas. Transgender people are often targeted for hate violence based on their non-conformity with gender norms and/or their perceived sexual orientation. Hate crimes against transgender people tend to be particularly violent. Our best estimates indicate that one out of every 1,000 homicides in the U. S. is an anti-transgender hate crime. This estimation is based on data collected by the national organizers of the Transgender Day of Remembrance and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
Organizers of the Transgender Day of Remembrance track the number of transgender people killed each year in hate-based attacks using media articles, community reports and other publically available data. They estimate that at least 15 transgender people are killed each year in hate-based attacks, although we believe the number to be higher based on transgender people’s common fear of going to the police and widespread misreporting. The Federal Bureau of Investigation estimates approximately 14,000 homicides in the country each year.
Based on these figures, we can conclude that approximately one out of every 1000 homicides in the U. S. is an anti-transgender hate-based crime. Discrimination rooted in prejudice is a refusal to allow a person of a particular race, religion or sexual orientation to participate in our existing institutions or enjoy the same activities others do. The Bible references homosexuality and same sex relations numerous times; “If a man lies with a man as one lies with a woman, both of them have done what is detestable. They must be put to death; their blood will be on their own heads. (Leviticus 20:13) and “Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural ones. In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed indecent acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their perversion”. (Romans 1:26-27). People use Biblical references to justify the maltreatment of certain groups and to cast it out as sin; a practice that has been going on for centuries. Biblical ignorance is an epidemic in the United States.
Over the centuries people who misinterpreted the Bible have done bad things justifying it with verses from the Bible. The Bible has been misused to justify hateful crusades throughout history; to support slavery, apartheid, and segregation; to persecute Jews and other non-Christian people of faith; to support the Holocaust; to oppose medical science; to condemn interracial marriage; to execute women as witches; and to support the Ku Klux Klan. Shakespeare said it this way: “Even the devil can cite Scripture for his purpose. We’d like to believe that no one of good will would misuse the Bible to support his or her prejudice.
But time and time again it has happened with tragic results. Even when we believe the Scriptures are written without error or we take it verbatim it’s terribly dangerous to think that our understanding of every biblical text is also without error. We are human and we can misunderstand and misinterpret the ancient words of the bible, often with tragic results. On the night he was betrayed, Jesus told his disciples he was going away from them for a while, but that the Father would send them a “Comforter,” an “Advocate,” the “Holy Spirit” who would “teach them all things. Christian counselors have a big job to incorporate secular counseling into world view counseling and to tackle these big issues that most people are afraid to tackle. No matter what interpretation one believes Jesus is clear about one thing; love of all humanity. As we search for truth, we are to “love one another. The message of God is Love. This is my commandment,” Jesus said, “that you love one another, as I have loved you. ” On this the Bible is very clear.
Even if we disagree about what the Bible says about homosexuality or anything for that matter, we can agree that we are commanded by the Scriptures to love God and to love one another. Since God is the God of truth, since Jesus himself told us that the truth would set us free.