Ethical issues in counselling at work

Sugarman, Leonie (1992) Ethical issues in counselling at work. British Journal of Guidance and Counselling, 20 (1). pp. 64-74.

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Providing counselling in the workplace can challenge the ethical principles on which counselling is based. A series of questions is identified designed to focus attention on aims, outcomes, referrals, confidentiality and resources. It is concluded that confronting ethical dilemmas is a continuous responsibility for counsellors. Frequently issues are managed rather than resolved. However, in confronting and managing these issues, the values underpinning organisational life can be challenged and, perhaps, changed. Briar and Vinet (1985) summarise the values guiding counsellors and other helpers in the workplace as deriving from `ethical beliefs in the integrity and human potential of each individual, his or her right to self-expression and self-actualization, and the centrality of human welfare above and beyond other potentially overriding organizational goals, such as profit making, efficiency and productivity' (p. 343, my emphasis). In the present paper, this recognition that organisations may have goals which conflict with those of counselling is used as the defining characteristic for considering ethical issues in counselling at work. The paper does not provide a set of unambiguous answers, since in the workplace, as in other counselling contexts, ethical codes can only provide guidelines (Mabe and Rollin, 1986). Individuals retain final authority for the ethical choices they make. Through the exercise of moral responsibleness (Tennyson and Strom, 1986) in everchanging circumstances (Dawson, 1984), counsellors cannot avoid involvement in the continual reconstruction of deciding what is right (Hobbs, 1978).

Item Type: Article
Journal / Publication Title: British Journal of Guidance and Counselling
Publisher: Taylor & Francis (Routledge)
ISSN: 1469-3534
Departments: Academic Departments > Health, Psychology & Social Studies (HPSS) > Applied Psychology and Social Studies
Depositing User: Insight Administrator
Date Deposited: 22 Nov 2010 12:15
Last Modified: 11 Jan 2024 17:30


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