Ethics inside and outside the counselling room
Is it necessary for a counsellor to behave ethically both inside and outside the counselling room?
As a counsellor and member of The British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP), I am expected to follow the organisation’s guidelines and framework for good practice. Details can be found here
However is this enough? Is it ok for a counsellor to behave as he or she wishes in their private life?
A recent online debate considered whether it was sufficient for these ethics and morals to apply only in the counselling room, or whether a counsellor’s lifestyle also needed to reflect these styles of behaviour. Various views were expressed.
For me, it is important that I aspire to these values both inside and outside the counselling room (while recognising that we all show different faces to different people to some extent - yet can still be true to our core being).
That does not mean that I am perfect (far from it!) but I feel it’s important to aspire to the following:
o Respecting human rights and dignity
o Protecting the safety of clients
o Ensuring the integrity of practitioner-client relationships
o Enhancing the quality of professional knowledge and its application
o Alleviating personal distress and suffering
o Fostering a sense of self that is meaningful to the person(s) concerned
o Increasing personal effectiveness
o Enhancing the quality of relationships between people
o Appreciating the variety of human experience and culture
o Striving for the fair and adequate provision of counselling and psychotherapy services
A difficulty arises in that individual counsellors will interpret the above in different
ways and that can’t easily be legislated for, but at least this is a guide by which
to measure one’s morals and behaviours.
Mary Saunders 07890 806501