The Counselor’s Ethics

There are professional organizations that have ethical codes of conduct to protect the public from unethical practices. The Christian counselor will hold to these and keep in mind that he has a higher standard to whom he is accountable. As a servant of God, you have a responsibility to live, act and counsel in accordance with spiritual principles; as a people-helper you have a responsibility to your client’s welfare; as a citizen and a member of society you have a responsibility to obey governmental authorities and contribute to the good of society. Ethical problems arise when values conflict and different decisions must be made. Consider these:

  1. A client reveals that he has broken the law and intends to harm someone else. Do you inform the police or the intended victim?
  2. The daughter of the church chairman reveals that she is pregnant and intends to have an abortion. What do you do with that information?
  3. A young man wants help gaining self-confidence around women so he can more comfortably encourage his girl friends to have sexual intercourse with him. What is you responsibility as a counselor who believes premarital sex is wrong?
  4. A seminary graduate seeking a pastoral placement reveals in counseling that he is a practicing homosexual. As a church member do you reveal this or do you say nothing when completing a recommendation form?

The counselor is committed to keeping information confidential, except for when the welfare of the client or some other person is at stake. Some information must be shared with governmental authorities, although this should never be done without the client’s knowledge. The counselor must also refrain from test administration and interpretation, giving medical or legal advice, or otherwise offering services for which he is neither trained nor qualified.

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