Good Practice in Action Resources to help members engage with the Ethical Framework Our Good Practice in Action resources are based on current research and evidence and reviewed by member-led focus groups and experts in the field. Specific issues in practice will vary depending on clients, particular models of working, the context of the work and the type of therapeutic intervention provided.
It is intended to guide the practice of counselling and psychotherapy by all members of the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy BACP and inform the practice of closely related roles that are delivered in association with counselling and psychotherapy or as part of the infrastructure to deliver these services.
Being ethically mindful and willing to be accountable for the ethical basis of practice are essential requirements of membership of this Association.
Members of this Association who are providers of services using counselling skills, embedded counsellors, managers and researchers of therapeutic services, are required to be accountable in accordance with the Ethical Framework in ways appropriate to their role and to communicate appropriately the basis of their ethical accountability and expectations.
The client may be an individual, couple, family, group, organisation or other specifiable social unit.
This statement marks an important development in approach to ethics within the Association. One of the characteristics of contemporary society is the coexistence of different approaches to ethics.
This statement reflects this ethical diversity and supports practitioners being responsive to differences in client abilities, needs and culture and taking account of variations between settings and service specialisations by considering: The presentation of different ways of approaching ethics alongside each other in this statement is intended to draw attention to the limitations of relying too heavily on any single ethical approach.
Ethical principles are well suited to examining the justification for particular decisions and actions. The provision of contextually sensitive and appropriate services is also a fundamental ethical concern. Variations in client needs and cultural diversity differences are often more easily understood and responded to in terms of values.
Therefore, professional values are becoming an increasingly significant way of expressing ethical commitment. Values of counselling and psychotherapy The fundamental values of counselling and psychotherapy include a commitment to: They represent an important way of expressing a general ethical commitment that becomes more precisely defined and action-orientated when expressed as a principle.
Each principle is described below and is followed by examples of good practice that have been developed in response to that principle.
Ethical decisions that are strongly supported by one or more of these principles without any contradiction from others may be regarded as reasonably well founded. However, practitioners will encounter circumstances in which it is impossible to reconcile all the applicable principles and choosing between principles may be required.
A decision or course of action does not necessarily become unethical merely because it is contentious or other practitioners would have reached different conclusions in similar circumstances.
Practitioners who adopt this principle: The principle of autonomy opposes the manipulation of clients against their will, even for beneficial social ends. It is considered important that research and systematic reflection inform practice.
There is an obligation to use regular and on-going supervision to enhance the quality of the services provided and to commit to updating practice by continuing professional development. An obligation to act in the best interests of a client may become paramount when working with clients whose capacity for autonomy is diminished because of immaturity, lack of understanding, extreme distress, serious disturbance or other significant personal constraints.
The practitioner has an ethical responsibility to strive to mitigate any harm caused to a client even when the harm is unavoidable or unintended. Holding appropriate insurance may assist in restitution. It directs attention to considering conscientiously any legal requirements and obligations, and remaining alert to potential conflicts between legal and ethical obligations.
Justice in the distribution of services requires the ability to determine impartially the provision of services for clients and the allocation of services between clients. A commitment to fairness requires the ability to appreciate differences between people and to be committed to equality of opportunity, and avoiding discrimination against people or groups contrary to their legitimate personal or social characteristics.
Practitioners have a duty to strive to ensure a fair provision of counselling and psychotherapy services, accessible and appropriate to the needs of potential clients.
This includes seeking counselling or therapy and other opportunities for personal development as required. There is an ethical responsibility to use supervision for appropriate personal and professional support and development, and to seek training and other opportunities for continuing professional development.
Guarding against financial liabilities arising from work undertaken usually requires obtaining appropriate insurance. The principle of self-respect encourages active engagement in life-enhancing activities and relationships that are independent of relationships in counselling or psychotherapy.
Many of the personal qualities considered important in the provision of services have an ethical or moral component and are therefore considered as virtues or good personal qualities. It is inappropriate to prescribe that all practitioners possess these qualities, since it is fundamental that these personal qualities are deeply rooted in the person concerned and developed out of personal commitment rather than the requirement of an external authority.
Personal qualities to which counsellors and psychotherapists are strongly encouraged to aspire include: Conclusion The challenge of working ethically means that practitioners will inevitably encounter situations where there are competing obligations.
In such situations it is tempting to retreat from all ethical analysis in order to escape a sense of what may appear to be unresolvable ethical tension.
These ethics are intended to be of assistance in such circumstances by directing attention to the variety of ethical factors that may need to be taken into consideration and to alternative ways of approaching ethics that may prove more useful.
No statement of ethics can totally alleviate the difficulty of making professional judgements in circumstances that may be constantly changing and full of uncertainties.Scotland’s professional body for counselling and psychotherapy supporting and promoting professional development and supervision for individuals and organisations.
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Great Learning has centres in Gurgaon (Delhi NCR), Mumbai, . This Ethical Framework for Good Practice in Counselling and Psychotherapy is published by the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy, BACP House, 15 St John's Business Park, Lutterworth, Leicestershire, LE17 4HB.
Notification of amendments to the Ethical Framework for Good Practice in Counselling & Psychotherapy Revised edition published 1 February and notified September Amendment 1.
This Ethical Framework for Good Practice in Counselling and Psychotherapy is published by the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy, BACP House, 15 St John’s Business Park, Lutterworth, Leicestershire, LE17 4HB.