Crucial elements of counselor education include the need to train counselors to beware of all possible ethical and legal pitfalls of the counseling field. This paper is a given assignment which focuses on scenarios depicted from My Counseling Lab enactments of possible ethical dilemmas that commonly occur within the average counselors working career. These drills are designed to aid in improving the performance skill sets of counselors in the mental health profession. The Ethical Minute Paper 1, The Helpful Receptionist, explored principles through the demonstration of a possible ethical dilemma proposed for discussion and evaluation. The scenario, “Whose Records?”, in Ethical Minute Paper 2 is a continuation of these assigned ethical practice exercises regarding the study of various ethical and legal concepts routinely encountered within the professional counselor /client working environment. The purpose and mission of this assignment are to teach, prepare, and to strengthen awareness in the counselor to effectively identify and apply American Counseling Association (ACA) Code of Ethics and Official Code of Georgia (O.C.G.A.) to common ethical scenarios and dilemmas.Order now
Scenarios are offered as training devices in an effort to provide counselors with opportunities to better embrace a comprehensive understanding of the ethical and legal principles as applied within the workings of the mental health profession. The exercise tools are designed to aid students in identifying and evaluating principles while resolving ethical dilemmas. This paper continues to explore possible moral code infringement in counseling through classroom exercises which are to be observed and discussed in collective group settings based on the ACA Code of Ethics and local state guidelines for ethical behavior.
The scenario “Whose Records?” involves counselor-client privileges and termination. The exercise set is of the counselor and client in session. The client informs the counselor of her intent to end the counseling relationship during the session. The client was unhappy with the direction the sessions were going in, she felt they were not helping and desired to end the sessions. The client asked for any and all documentation concerning her case to also be surrendered. We see as the counselor responds to the client’s requests by inquiring about a possible reasoning behind the client changing counselors every three to four weeks. The client seems to become distracted and agitated and seems to take offense. Rather than addressing the question, she tells the counselor she does feel that there has been any progress in her treatment of any kind and she once again requests to end the sessions and retrieve all confidential material regarding her case.
The identified problem asks the client within her rights to request her records? Is the counselor obligated to release everything the client requested? Yes, the client is justified in receiving any and all documentation recordings during counseling session relationships. (Remley & Herlihy, 2016). The answer concerning the counselor can be a bit more complicated considering the client disposition and reactions during the session. It may warrant further observation.
Applicable ACA Codes
The ethical guidelines explored throughout this exercise highlight and supports paragraph B.6.e. Client Access under Section B: Confidentiality and Privacy of the ACA Code of Ethics, this code specifies access but within reason. Reasonable access refers to limited access guidelines or withheld portions that would have to prove as having compelling evidence that could possibly cause harm to the client (ACA, 2014, p. 8). The counselors reasoning for further questioning might be in reference to accessing the client’s anxious disposition.
At the point when clients ask for access to their records, counselors are responsible for assisting in the retrieval of their records and with the interpretation treatment records as covered in section B.6.f. Assistance with Records (ACA, 2014, p. 8). Section B.6.g. Disclosure or Transfer, highlights that in the event the client desires to transfer to another provider, counselors acquire written client authorization for transfer and disclosure of records to qualified provider and facility as well as ensuring confidentiality is not compromised during the transfer. Section B.6.h. Storage and Disposal After Termination, regulates the counselor’s responsibility to ensure the proper maintenance, safekeeping, and confidentiality of patient records for future access in accordance with federal and state mandated laws and regulations (ACA, 2014, p. 8).
Applicable State Codes
Based on O.C.G.A. § 31-33-2. (Furnishing copy of records to patient, provider, or other authorized person) paragraph (a)(2), upon written demand from the client the counselor having care and control of the client’s record(s) will provide a total and current duplicate of the requested record(s) (State of Georgia, 2018). Per code section O.C.G.A. § 31-33-2.(a)(1)(A), the provider is responsible for the safekeeping and control of the patient records and shall retain them for at least ten years from the date of creation (State of Georgia, 2018). All records will be furnished to the patient within 30 days of a request as covered in the code section O.C.G.A. § 31-33-2.b. (State of Georgia, 2018).