Human Service Ethics
Maintaining the credibility and reliability of professionals across various discipline constitute the application of various policies and guidelines that they should adhere to not just during their practice, but sometimes to their personal lives as well. Various organizations that overlook counseling as a profession also implement various standards and guidelines of practice, particularly moral and ethical considerations, in order to maintain professionalism, credibility, and integrity at all times. The American Counseling Association for instance established a Code of Ethics under Section E: Evaluation, Assessment and Interpretation of the ACA Ethics Standard Casebook. (Herlihy & Corey, 2006)
Upholding professionalism, credibility, and integrity in the workplace does not only necessitate the strict implementation of the Code of Ethics or other ethical policies during work hours. It does not only require the effort of the organization to oversee the actions and behaviors of its members, but also the involvement of professionals in the process, particularly adhering to laws and policies at all times. However, there are also various laws and policies implemented under particular circumstances in counseling. For instance, the ACA Code of Ethics under Section E focuses on accepted ethical practices during the evaluation, assessment, and interpretation of tests or other tools that clients are requested to accomplish within the process of counseling. Therefore, the transcript will be most useful for review and application during the process of evaluating, assessing, and interpreting evaluative results and outcomes.
The ACA Code of Ethics under Section E may be used during the stages of counseling wherein evaluation or assessment is required in order to measure or gauge the knowledge, skills, capabilities, competencies, psychological or emotional state of affairs or frame of mind, and such, in order to determine why and how the counselee should be counseled. Other ethical practices that may be drawn from the said transcript include the disclosure or non-disclosure of the evaluation and assessment results, the appropriate use of testing materials and instruments which are strictly prompted for use under the supervision of competent professionals, the proper interpretation and release of information, handling sensitive cases that has something to do with mental disorders, the proper referral of counselees to respective professionals or organizations, issues that border on multiculturalism, cultural diversity, prejudice or bias, etc., the establishment of assessment materials and tools, and the established relationship between the counselee taking the evaluation or assessment test and the counselor. (Herlihy & Corey, 2006)
Although the counseling practice is set against the backdrop of contemporary psychotherapy and analysis, the nature and meaning of assessment continues to be relevant as rehearsing counseling always require proper evaluation and assessment in order to provide information on how each case shall and will be handled for efficient and ethical counseling. Without assessment, counselors will not be able to determine the needs and demands of the counselee that should be met and addressed throughout the process of counseling. Evaluation and assessment are necessary stages or phases that every counselor should implement not only to fulfill their roles and responsibilities but also to raise the reliability, credibility, accountability, and integrity of the profession.
The Ethical Standards for School Counselors established by The American School Counselor Association or ACSA was framed under the same context as the ACA Code of Ethics under Section E, although it is a condensed version of the latter. The ACSA Ethical Standards for School Counselors discuss the issue of multiculturalism, the disclosure and non-disclosure of information to counselees, the confidentiality of information, the competence and professionalism required of counselees during evaluation and assessment, the kind of relationship that should exist between the counselor and the counselee and the counselee’s parents or guardians, the appropriate referrals, and other responsibilities that has something to do with the counselor’s relationship with the parents, colleagues, the school, the community, and such. Overall, both codes of ethics are similar in terms of the professional conduct, laws, and policies that they are trying to implement. The only difference is that the ACA Code of Ethics was meant for counselors practicing in public or private offices, while the ACSA Code of Ethics was set against the backdrop of the school or academic setting.
The American School Counselor Association. (2004). Ethical Standards for School
Counselors. Retrieved January 6, 2009, from The American School Counselor Association. Website: http://www.schoolcounselor.org/content.asp?contentid=173
Herlihy, B. & Corey, G. (2006). ACA Ethics Standard Casebook, 6th Ed. Alexandria, VA: American Counseling Association.