Law Essay - Legal And Ethical Considerations Of Developing Counselor

Students who are considering a counselor career have to take into account the numerous legal and ethical considerations. It is necessary to devise proper schemes for attaining professional growth continuously and comprehend the essential counseling dispositions. This paper illustrates the numerous legal and ethical considerations of developing counselors to join professional organizations. These organizations include “National organizations for alcohol and drug abuse counselors (NAADAC)”, counseling association of the state, or other appropriate professional organizations. Various legal and ethical perspectives are elaborately discussed in this paper. An overview of the professional organization has also been mentioned here addressing the current problems associated with the profession of counselors. This organization has addressed certain problems like the existence of lobbying attempts for respective specialties or population in this arena. Other relevant issues include alterations in regulations and laws, ethical violations driving court cases, and so on. This paper is intended to provide a better understanding of various factors by aspiring counselors.

Discussion - Legal and ethical viewpoints


Beneficence/ stewardship

From an addiction counseling perspective, beneficence means helping others and stewardship is the fruitful utilization of resources. Beneficiary and stewardship ethics are mandatory for delivering effective care to the patients receiving treatment for addiction. Ethics of beneficence and stewardship can be utilized in areas of drugs and alcohol addiction counseling sessions (Barnett &Kolmes, 2016). A comprehension of these care ethics compels practitioners to consider higher professional standards in the form of moral imperative. The combined practice of beneficence and stewardship enables practitioners to take prudent decisions and implement the best possible care approach to their patients.


The therapy of self-disclosure comes into effect when the counselors share their personal experiences of views with patients. This practice is primarily intended to elevate the patient’s mental or emotional state. Self-disclosure is an effective skill if strategically used. Self-disclosure might enhance the bond of trust between patient and counselor. However, caution must be exercised so that self-disclosure is strategically used by therapists. Excessive implementation of this method might make patients too congenial with their therapists and not consider them as professional helpers. Therapists must understand that confidentiality is not always reciprocated and the clients are not obligated to keep the therapist’s secrets. Any misinterpretation of this concept could result in harm to the organization’s reputation. It can be harmful if the focus of the counseling session gets shifted or when the counselor's disclosure impairs service relationships. 


The ideology of objectivity underlies the firm belief in something to be true and exists in reality. Therapists hold objectives in their perspectives and their sessions with patients.  Practice scope is the ultimate point where experience, knowledge, and skills are limited. These are characterized by the counselor's procedures to treat patients abiding safety and legal guidelines. Boundaries form a crucial barrier in the relationship between client and therapist. Efficient counselors must not disengage from clients such that they cannot empathize with their clients. Objectivity enables the establishment of a good rapport between the therapist and their patients. Sometimes counselors encounter issues out of appropriate scopes and might not be able to provide proper therapy. These boundaries may arise due to skills, beliefs, and attitude differences. In such cases, patients can be recommended to seek advice from other therapists. Thus, the scope of the counselor's practice and boundaries are related by the knowledge, experience, and skills exhibited by them. These factors determine the extent of their counseling practice and must be considered by aspiring counselors. 


A counselor's health is also of paramount importance in this field. Burnouts can result due to extreme job stress arising from various emotional perils of this profession. Many counselors and therapists often encounter professional burnouts in their career paths. Therapists must always monitor their wellbeing and their wellness will enable them to connect with their patients fondly. Therapists can prevent burnout by considering certain precautionary measures like practicing personal restoration, getting peer support, setting equilibrium between work and personal life (Basa, 2018). They must undertake exercise, quality time with family, proper sleep, rehabilitation, and so on. Sometimes it can be challenging for therapists to work on certain difficult cases. In such circumstances, they can seek guidance from their colleagues. Counselors must sometimes engage in recreational activities like painting, photography, sports, and many more. These provisions ensure that they get the opportunity to attend to their desires and needs as it is also mandatory for their personal growth. Counselors must keep themselves notified and updated with the alternating regulations and ethical guidelines that open new avenues for practicing risk management. 


Spiritual counseling includes the spiritual side of people and they might want to utilize this counseling type to explore individual spiritual beliefs. Religious and spiritual interventions might be integrated into psychotherapy. Therapists might consider the incorporation of spiritual interventions like reading passages from certain scriptures to the client and reflecting upon their meanings during counseling sessions (Maree, 2017). Spiritual and religious issues might be underlying causes that instigate people to attend counseling. Spiritual and religious beliefs of the clients may provide support and strength to them. So, psychotherapists can incorporate spiritual interventions into counseling procedures to facilitate clients in attaining proper treatment. 

Therapists must consider various ethical issues pertaining to the addressable of spiritual beliefs. They must take informed consent, consult with other therapists, incorporate spiritual beliefs, and use an appropriate decision-making approach to obtain fruitful outcomes about all these procedures. Counselors must receive comprehensive training to integrate religious practices into therapy (Deramanet al. 2017). Counselors can also engage in spiritual practices out of their professional lives. Involvement in these practices encourages recreation in their lives and promotes self-monitoring for the counselors.

Counseling dispositions

Dispositions constitute commitments, professional ethics, and values that impact the behavior of therapists while counseling. Strategic implementation of counseling dispositions enables the appropriate action to be conducted.  The three essential dispositions discussed here are- self-awareness, patience, and cultural diversity. There are different ideologies underlying each of these different counseling dispositions. These dispositions of counseling demand the therapists undertake different paths for counseling. The dispositions discussed are as follows:

  • Self-awareness- Knowledge of ethical values and personal morals are imperative for therapists to implement in their counseling practice. Counseling services including veracity, objectivity, justice, and benevolence are given to their clients. Counselors can undertake a critical evaluation of their abilities and competencies as it enables them to reflect upon their restrictions. They might even refer certain cases to other counselors when they find it difficult to treat a particular patient. 
  • Cultural diversity - Counselors must not allow the biased mind-sets of cultural differences to creep into their professional practice. They ought to respect the different traditions and religious beliefs of people. They even consider the incorporation of spiritual therapies into their sessions for treating patients. A challenge for therapies regarding this disposition is that they must have knowledge about the different cultural and religious beliefs of different people. Thus, people of different cultural backgrounds can seek treatment and therapists must always take care that does not unintentionally hurt the religious sentiments of anyone.
  • Patience- This therapeutic procedure is understood by the counselor and they must allow some time to the clients to regulate their lives. An environment promoting self-empowerment followed by personal growth is extremely important in counseling sessions. However, this disposition can be a challenge for some therapists as it is always not easy to maintain patience. Thus, therapists must exercise a certain control over this disposition to make therapies more effective for patients.  

Counselors must critically analyze any particular patient and recognize the appropriate therapy suitable for them so that their patients can get optimum results of these treatments. 
NAADAC has pointed out several relevant issues pertaining to the counseling profession. The major issues in this context are the legislative processes. The addiction therapist understands that regulations and laws are for maintaining proper order in this society. These will also help in restraining harm or evil. The prevalence of an unjust law is not preferred but requires rational investigation. Another potent issue that exists in this arena is the technological competencies needed for supervision (Glosoff, Renfro-Michel &Nagarajan, 2016). Competencies related to knowledge are needed to moderate the active working of supervisors and clients. There are certain regulations like security, informed consent, and privacy policy related to the issues associated with counseling. There exists security, privacy, and other problems of risk management while giving technology-related clinical therapy.  After the consideration of facts, a menu containing realistic options is to be developed.

The consequences must not violate any relevant objective or law. Makers of ethical decisions sometimes fail to monitor the possible consequences of their chosen actions. In case, the intended outcomes are not obtained or undesirable results occur, they must assess the circumstances again and take alternative decisions. These situations need to be given careful thought by the management team so that malpractices are curbed and potential outcomes can be readily obtained. Appropriate discussion of relevant issues will pave new pathways for counselors to deal with them and establish their careers.


Conclusion - Counseling is an extremely noble profession as it is concerned with helping people regarding their problems. Counseling dispositions comprise ethics and values that ultimately determine the professional conduct of the therapist. This paper highlights various legal and ethical considerations that are prevalent in this field of counseling and must be in the minds of every aspiring counselor. An overview of the professional organization has also been mentioned here addressing the current problems associated with the profession of counselors. They must possess morals and values so that they are genuinely able to aid people in living better and peaceful lives.

Apart from the patient's wellbeing, this paper even discusses the fact that counselors must also take good care of themselves so that they can prevent professional burnout. This profession demands compassion and morals combined with hard work and dedication. However, a balance must be developed between helping people and becoming their friend. Current issues in the professional organization are relevant to a major proportion of counselors as they become associated with work with alcohol and drug abuse centers. This paper enhances the understanding of challenges in counseling career and must be prudently comprehended by all counselors for their career growth. 

Reference list

  • Barnett, J. E., &Kolmes, K. (2016). The practice of tele-mental health: Ethical, legal, and clinical issues for practitioners. Practice Innovations, 1(1), 53. retrieved from: https://calio.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/The-practice-of-tele-mental-health-Ethical-legal-and-clinical-issues-for-practitioners.pdf. [Retrieved on 1.7.2020]
  • Basa, V. (2018).‘Self-supervision’in the therapeutic profession.retrieved from: http://www.europeancounseling.eu/wp-content/uploads/2018/12/EJC-TRAP-2-6.pdf. [Retrieved on 1.7.2020]
  • Deraman, S., Hamjah, S. H., Mokhtar, A. I., &Ghazali, M. I. E. (2017). [ms] The Society’s Perception towards the need of Spiritual Counseling Service. Isl?miyy?t, 39(1).retrieved from: http://ejournal.ukm.my/islamiyyat/article/download/21596/7345. [Retrieved on 1.7.2020]
  • Glosoff, H. L., Renfro-Michel, E., &Nagarajan, S. (2016). Ethical issues related to the use of technology in clinical supervision. Using technology to enhance clinical supervision, 31-46. retrieved from: https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Tony_Rousmaniere/publication/307040773_Regulatory_and_Legal_Issues_Related_to_the_Use_of_Technology_in_Clinical_Supervision/links/5b69abbe45851546c9f69efa/Regulatory-and-Legal-Issues-Related-to-the-Use-of-Technology-in-Clinical-Supervision.pdf. [Retrieved on 1.7.2020]
  • Maree, J. K. (2017).Mid-career construction counseling to instill spiritual awareness and allay fear. South African Journal of Education, 37(4).retrieved from: https://www.ajol.info/index.php/saje/article/viewFile/164250/153767. [Retrieved on 1.7.2020]