Wk 1 Discussion – Ethics of Crisis Work
Respond to the following in a minimum of 175 words each classmate:
In a case such as this, where a friend or family member is experiencing a crisis, it is important that we as counselors remember that we can still be supportive even if we cannot be the direct line of help. To help us remember this, the very first line of the American Counseling Association Code of Conduct (2014) states that “The primary responsibility of counselors is to respect the dignity and promote the welfare of clients” (A.1.a). If we are close to the client (such as a friend, or family member) then it might be possible that we put making them feel better over what can actually help them heal. When reading that sentence, it may seem a bit confusing, but everyone has probably sympathized with a friend or family member and agreed with a course of action that may not have been to the best of their benefit. There is a reason that ethical code exists, and that is because we may not be the most efficient if we have a personal stake in the matter.
Additional codes from the American Counseling Association (2014), states that counselors need to consider the risks and benefits of accepting clients with whom they have had a past relationship with (A.6.a), and that counselors are prohibited from counseling friends or family members (A.5.d). The first applies if the hair stylist in the scenario is no longer your hair stylist but was in the past, the second applies if the hair stylist is still your current hair stylist. Either way, it is important to determine how invested a counselor may be in the personal life of a client. If the relationship is a previous relationship, determining how what the counselor knows versus what the client is presenting is a worry. However, if it is a current relationship, counseling at all is completely out of the question, if the counselor considers the hair dresser a friend. Ethically, the counselor needs to consider taking on a relationship with a person who is known to them from all angles, and even then err on the side of caution.
American Counseling Association. (2014). Code of Ethics. https://www.counseling.org/docs/default-source/default-document-library/2014-code-of-ethics-finaladdress.pdf?sfvrsn=96b532c_2
If I were working as part of a mobile crisis team in a local area and someone that I am familiar with was a walk-in client I would not shy away from them, contrarily, I would greet them the moment we noticed each other. I would greet them professionally, be polite, and introduce them to one of my colleagues to work with. This can be accomplished quite naturally and professionally by leading with a simple explanation for doing so. “As a professional crisis counselor my concern is your care and that which is in your best interest. For these reasons I want to pull myself from your care team so that our familiarity is not a distraction from you receiving care and resources for everything you might need.” I would honestly attempt to accomplish this graciously, yet promptly, before the individual I am familiar with and who is potentially in crisis begins informing me of their crisis. This is for two reasons that are of immediate concern to me. The first is to maintain the 5 guiding moral principles of Kirchner (Brown et al., 1992). The second being that the less I know the easier it is to maintain the 5 principles. I do not want my relationship to get in the way of who I am familiar with ask for aid with something that may be embarassing, or get in the way of the client being as honest as they would with someone they have a different relationship with than they would a professional counselor.
Brown, R. D., & Newman, D. L. (1992). Ethical principles and evaluation standards. Evaluation Review, 16(6), 650–663. https://doi.org/10.1177/0193841×9201600605
Kanel, K. (2018). A guide to crisis intervention. Cengage.