Ethical and Legal Issues in Counseling

Ethical and Legal Issues in Counseling


There are several similarities when it comes to the ethical codes in the ACA, ASCA, and AACA. The first one is respect. Each individual has the right to respect the dignity of the human being, and the counseling services without any prejudice to a person, belief, character or even practice regardless of religion, disability, gender, marital status or age (Clark et al., 2009). In this discussion, we are going to look at the different legal and ethical issues surrounding Susan case.

The second similarity is the right to confidentiality. Counselors are expected to be confidential to the clients’ information. The counselor should also inform the counselee of the techniques, goals rules and purpose why one is going to receive counseling. In Susan’ case, it is important to explain clearly to her why she is undergoing counseling since suicide is a very serious case. Susan also has the right to confidentiality since she fears abuse from the parents should the information reach them. The counselor will have to respect this decision of confidentiality but try to find a way of informing the parents but ask them not to raise eyebrows but rather support Susan as if they do not know what is going on. When it comes to disclosure of the information it will involve consultation from the counselee or if the disclosure is required so that an imminent danger is prevented from happening to the counselee (Erford, 2014). In Susan’s case, consultation is important because the case is serious. The counselor should work closely with the client when it comes to the development of the counseling plan (Erford, 2014). It should be consistent with the circumstances and the abilities of the counselor and the client. Involving Susan in the preparation of the program will help in maintaining confidentiality. It also requires that the counselor informs the relevant authority in case the clients’ condition is posing a threat to others or even the counselor. The ethical code also requires that the counselor treats everyone with respect and maintains a professional relationship with staff members (Clark et al., 2009).

However, there are differences in the ethical code of conduct in the ACA, ASCA, and AACA. The ACA code of ethics doesn’t address the issue of the counselor consulting with the guardians when counseling the minors. In the ASCA, the ethical code of standards were clearly formulated to address the issues in the school setting and the rules are clear (Erford, 2014).

The legal issues related to Susan’s case are the plan of committing suicide. The law does not allow any citizen to think of taking his or another person’s life. It is a criminal offense under the law to contemplate suicide. Susan was contemplating suicide that is against the law. The other legal issue is child abuse. Susan was not willing to inform the parents about her plan because she feared she was going to be abused. It is wrong for the parents to abuse their child under the law and it makes it hard for the children to approach them whenever they have a problem. The third legal issue is the issue is bullying. The bullying is the main reason Susan was contemplating suicide. It is against the law to bully others regardless of the circumstances (Clark et al., 2009).

In order to help Susan, we shall have to integrate spiritual, cultural and professional approach so that she can be assisted. I will first try to understand what Susan stands for as a person before guiding her in the spiritual affairs. I will try to make Susan have that sense of self-realization through helping her receive important information about spiritual discourses through question and answers sessions. She will have all the rights to ask questions that are disturbing her. I will also inform her that our culture does not allow people to commit suicide, and the consequences are severe for those left behind as her parents. In terms of professional guidance, I will plan the counseling sessions whereby she will be coming and be able to express her feelings towards life. The most important part is to carry out a suicide assessment with Susan. It will enable the evaluation of Susan much easier since she already has a plan of committing suicide. I will also try to make her understand that she is special, and she still has a role to play in the society.


Clark, M. A., & Breman, J. C. (2009). School Counselor Inclusion: A Collaborative Model to Provide Academic and Social‐Emotional Support in the Classroom Setting. Journal of Counseling & Development87(1), 6-11.

Erford, B. T. (2014). Transforming the school counseling profession. Pearson Higher Ed.