Reflection: Self-Assessments Resources

Reflection: Self-Assessments


In this unit’s studies, you took several self-assessment inventories presented in readings from Issues and Ethics in the Helping Professions in order to provide you with a profile of your strengths and weaknesses.

Provide a summary of the self-assessment inventories you completed and answer the following:

  • What most surprised you?
  • From the client’s perspective, how might your weaknesses interfere with the helping process?
  • How will what you learned determine your future professional development needs?



Ethics Codes: Unethical Behavior of Colleagues

Commission on Rehabilitation Counselor Certification (CRCC, 2010)

When rehabilitation counselors have reason to believe that another rehabilitation counselor is violating or has violated an ethical standard, they attempt first to resolve the issue informally with the other rehabilitation counselor if feasible, provided such action does not violate confidentiality rights that may be involved. (L.3.a.)

National Association of Social Workers (2008)

Social workers should take adequate measures to discourage, prevent, expose, and correct the unethical conduct of colleagues. (2.11.a.)

National Organization for Human Services (2000)

Human service professionals respond appropriately to unethical behavior of colleagues. Usually this means initially talking directly with the colleague and, if no resolution is forthcoming, reporting the colleague’s behavior to supervisory or administrative staff and/or to the professional organization(s) to which the colleague belongs. (Statement 24.)

Generally, the best way to proceed when you have concerns about the behavior of colleagues is to tell them directly, unless doing so would compromise a client’s confidentiality. In cases of egregious offenses, such as sexual exploitation of clients or general incompetence, the situation calls for going beyond informal measures. Depending on the nature of the complaint and the outcome of the discussion, reporting a colleague to a professional board would be one of several options open to you.

Self-Assessment: An Inventory of Your Attitudes and Beliefs About Ethical and Professional Issues

This inventory surveys your thoughts on various professional and ethical issues in the helping professions. It is designed to introduce you to issues and topics presented in this book and to stimulate your thoughts and interest. You may want to complete the inventory in more than one sitting, giving each question full concentration.

This is not a traditional multiple-choice test in which you must select the “one right answer.” Rather, it is a survey of your basic beliefs, attitudes, and values on specific topics related to the practice of therapy. For each question, write in the letter of the response that most clearly reflects your view at this time. In many cases the answers are not mutually exclusive, and you may choose more than one response if you wish. In addition, a blank line is included for each item so you can provide a response more suited to your thinking or to qualify a chosen response.

Notice that there are two spaces before each item. Use the space on the left for your answer at the beginning of the course. At the end of the course, take this inventory again, placing your answer in the space on the right. Cover your initial answers so as not to be influenced by how you originally responded. Then you can see how your attitudes have changed as a result of your experience in the course.

Bring the completed inventory to a class session to compare your views with those of others in the class. Such a comparison can stimulate debate and help the class understand the complexities in this kind of decision making. In choosing the issues you want to discuss in class, circle the items that you felt most strongly about. Ask others how they responded to these items in particular.

· ___ ___ 1. Fees. If I were working with a client who could no longer continue to pay my fees, I would most likely

· a. see this person at no fee until his or her financial position changed.

· b. give my client the name of a local community clinic that provides low-cost treatment.

· c. suggest bartering of goods or services for therapy.

· d. lower my fee to whatever the client could afford.

· e. _________________________________________

· ___ ___2. Therapy for therapists. For those who wish to become therapists, I believe personal psychotherapy

· a. should be required for licensure.

· b. is not an important factor in the ability to work with others.

· c. should be encouraged but not required.

· d. is needed only when the therapist has some form of psychological impairment.

· e. ___________________________________________

· ___ ___3. Therapist effectiveness. To be an effective helper, I believe a therapist

· a. must like the client.

· b. must be free of any personal conflicts in the area in which the client is working.

· c. needs to have experienced the same problem as the client.

· d. needs to have experienced feelings similar to those being experienced by the client.

· e. ____________________________________________

· ___ ___4. Ethical decision making. If I were faced with an ethical dilemma, the first step I would take would be to

· a. review the relevant ethics codes.

· b. consult with an attorney.

· c. identify the problem or dilemma.

· d. decide on what appears to be the best course of action.

· e. ______________________________________________

· ___ ___5. Being ethical. For me, being an ethical practitioner mainly entails

· a. acting in compliance with mandatory ethical standards.

· b. reflecting on the effects my interventions are likely to have on the welfare of my clients.

· c. avoiding obvious violations of my profession’s ethics codes.

· d. thinking about the legal implications of everything I do.

· e. ______________________________________________

· ___ ___6. Unethical supervisor. If I was an intern and was convinced that my supervisor was encouraging trainees to participate in unethical behavior in an agency setting, I would

· a. first discuss the matter with the supervisor.

· b. report the supervisor to the director of the agency.

· c. ignore the situation for fear of negative consequences.

· d. report the situation to the ethics committee of the state professional association.

· e. ______________________________________________

· ___ ___7. Multicultural knowledge and skills. Practitioners who work with culturally diverse groups without having multicultural knowledge and skills

· a. may be insensitive to their clients.

· b. may be guilty of unethical behavior.

· c. should realize the need for specialized training.

· d. may be acting illegally.

· e. ______________________________________________

· ___ ___8. Feelings toward clients. If I had strong feelings, positive or negative, toward a client, I would most likely

· a. discuss the feelings with my client.

· b. keep my feelings to myself.

· c. discuss my feelings with a supervisor or colleague.

· d. accept my feelings unless they began to interfere with the counseling relationship.

· e. ______________________________________________

· ___ ___9. Being ready. I won’t be ready to counsel others until

· a. my own life is free of major problems.

· b. I have experienced counseling as a client.

· c. I feel confident and know that I will be effective.

· d. I have developed the ability to examine my own life and relationships.

· e. ______________________________________________

· ___ ___10. Client’s feelings. If a client expressed strong feelings of attraction or dislike for me, I would

· a. help the client work through these feelings and understand them.

· b. enjoy these feelings if they were positive.

· c. refer my client if these feelings were negative.

· d. direct the sessions into less emotional areas.

· e. ______________________________________________

· ___ ___11. Dealing with diversity. Practitioners who counsel clients whose sex, race, age, social class, or sexual orientation is different from their own

· a. will most likely not understand these clients fully.

· b. need to be sensitive to the differences between their clients and themselves.

· c. can practice unethically if they ignore diversity factors.

· d. will probably not be effective with such clients because of these differences.

· e. ______________________________________________

· ___ ___12. Ethics versus law. If I were faced with a counseling situation where it appeared that there was a conflict between an ethical and legal course to follow, I would

· a. immediately consult with an attorney.

· b. always choose the legal path first and foremost.

· c. strive to do what I believed to be ethical, even if it meant challenging a law.

· d. refer my client to another therapist.

· e. ______________________________________________

· ___ ___13. Values. In terms of appreciating and understanding the value systems of clients who are culturally different from me,

· a. I would not impose my cultural values on them.

· b. I would encourage them to accept the values of the dominant culture for survival purposes.

· c. I would attempt to modify my counseling procedures to fit their cultural values.

· d. I would familiarize myself with the specific cultural values of my clients.

· e. ______________________________________________

· ___ ___14. Objectivity. If a client came to me with a problem and I could see that I would not be objective because of my values, I would

· a. accept the client because of the challenge to become more tolerant of diversity.

· b. tell the client at the outset about my fears concerning our conflicting values.

· c. refer the client to someone else.

· d. attempt to understand my need to impose my values.

· e. ______________________________________________

· ___ ___15. End-of-life decisions. With respect to a client’s right to make his or her own end-of-life decisions, I would

· a. use the principle of a client’s self-determination as the key in any dilemma of this sort.

· b. tell my client what I would do if I were in this situation.

· c. suggest that my client see a clergy person.

· d. encourage my client to find meaning in life, regardless of his or her psychological and physical condition.

· e. ______________________________________________

· ___ ___16. When to refer. I would tend to refer a client to another therapist

· a. if I had a strong dislike for the client.

· b. if I did not have much experience working with the kind of problem the client presented.

· c. if I saw my own needs and problems getting in the way of helping the client.

· d. if I had strong value differences with my client.

· e. ______________________________________________

· ___ ___17. Role of values. My ethical position regarding the role of values in therapy is that, as a therapist, I should

· a. never impose my values on a client.

· b. expose my values, without imposing them on the client.

· c. challenge my clients to find other ways of viewing their situation.

· d. keep my values out of the counseling relationship.

· e. ______________________________________________

· ___ ___18. Sexual orientation. If I were to counsel lesbian and gay clients, a major concern of mine would be

· a. maintaining objectivity.

· b. not knowing and understanding enough about their sexual orientation.

· c. establishing a positive therapeutic relationship.

· d. being limited by my own values.

· e. ______________________________________________

· ___ ___19. Unethical behavior. Of the following, I consider the most unethical form of therapist behavior to be

· a. promoting dependence in the client.

· b. becoming sexually involved with a client.

· c. breaking confidentiality without a good reason to do so.

· d. accepting a client who has a problem that goes beyond my competence.

· e. ______________________________________________

· ___ ___20. Counseling friends. Regarding the issue of counseling friends, I think that

· a. it is seldom wise to accept a friend as a client.

· b. it should be done rarely, and only if it is clear that the friendship will not interfere with the therapeutic relationship.

· c. friendship and therapy should not be mixed.

· d. it should be done only when it is acceptable to both the client and the counselor.

· e. ______________________________________________

· ___ ___21. Confidentiality. Regarding confidentiality, I believe it is ethical to

· a. break confidence when there is reason to believe a client may do serious harm to him- or herself.

· b. break confidence when there is reason to believe that a client will do harm to someone else.

· c. break confidence when the parents of a client ask for certain information.

· d. inform the authorities when a client is breaking the law.

· e. ______________________________________________

· ___ ___22. Termination. A therapist should terminate therapy with a client when

· a. the client decides to do so.

· b. the therapist judges that it is time to terminate.

· c. it is clear that the client is not benefiting from the therapy.

· d. the client reaches an impasse.

· e. ______________________________________________

· ___ ___23. Sex in therapy. A sexual relationship between a former client and a therapist is

· a. always ethically problematic because of the power imbalance.

· b. ethical only five years after termination of therapy.

· c. ethical only when client and therapist discuss the issue and agree to the relationship.

· d. never ethical, regardless of the time that has elapsed.

· e. ______________________________________________

· ___ ___24. Touching. Concerning the issue of physically touching a client, I think that touching

· a. is unwise, because it could be misinterpreted by the client.

· b. should be done only when the therapist genuinely thinks it would be appropriate.

· c. is an important part of the therapeutic process.

· d. is ethical when the client requests it.

· e. ______________________________________________

· ___ ___25. Sex in supervision. A clinical supervisor has initiated sexual relationships with former trainees (students). He maintains that because he no longer has any professional responsibility to them this practice is acceptable. In my view, this behavior is

· a. clearly unethical, because he is using his position to initiate contacts with former students.

· b. not unethical, because the professional relationship has ended.

· c. not unethical, but is unwise and inappropriate.

· d. somewhat unethical, because the supervisory relationship is similar to the therapeutic relationship.

· e. ______________________________________________

· ___ ___26. Spirituality and religion. Regarding the role of spiritual and religious values, as a counselor I would be inclined to

· a. ignore such values out of concern that I would impose my own beliefs on my clients.

· b. actively strive to get my clients to think about how spirituality or religion could enhance their lives.

· c. avoid bringing up the topic unless my client initiated such a discussion.

· d. conduct an assessment of my client’s spiritual and religious beliefs during the intake session.

· e. ______________________________________________

· ___ ___27. Family therapy. In the practice of family therapy, I think the

· a. therapist’s primary responsibility is to the welfare of the family as a unit.

· b. therapist should focus primarily on the needs of individual members of the family.

· c. therapist should attend to the family’s needs and, at the same time, be sensitive to the needs of the individual members.

· d. therapist has an ethical obligation to state his or her bias and approach at the outset.

· e. ______________________________________________

· ___ ___28. Managed care. The practice of limiting the number of therapy sessions a client is entitled to under a managed care plan is

· a. unethical as it can work against a client’s best interests.

· b. a reality that I expect I will have to accept.

· c. an example of exploitation of a client’s rights.

· d. wrong because it takes away the professional’s judgment in many cases.

· e. ______________________________________________

· ___ ___29. Gift-giving. If a client were to offer me a gift, I would

· a. accept it cheerfully.

· b. never accept it under any circumstances.

· c. discuss the matter with my client.

· d. attempt to figure out the motivations for the gift.

· e. ______________________________________________

· ___ ___30. Bartering. Regarding bartering with a client in exchange for therapy services, my position is that

· a. it all depends on the circumstances of the individual case.

· b. I would consider this practice if the client had no way to pay for my services.

· c. the practice is unethical.

· d. before agreeing to bartering, I would always seek consultation.

· e. ______________________________________________

· ___ ___31. Diagnosis. Concerning the role of diagnosis in counseling, I believe

· a. diagnosis is essential for planning a treatment program.

· b. diagnosis is counterproductive for therapy, because it is based on an external view of the client.

· c. diagnosis can be harmful in that it tends to label people, who then are limited by the label.

· d. the usefulness of diagnosis depends on the theoretical orientation and the kind of counseling a therapist does.

· e. ______________________________________________

· ___ ___32. Testing. Concerning the place of testing in counseling, I think that tests

· a. generally interfere with the counseling process.

· b. can be valuable tools if they are used as adjuncts to counseling.

· c. are essential for people who are seriously disturbed.

· d. can be either used or abused in counseling.

· e. ______________________________________________

· ___ ___33. Risks of group therapy. Regarding the issue of psychological risks associated with participation in group therapy, my position is that

· a. clients should be informed at the outset of possible risks.

· b. these risks should be minimized by careful screening.

· c. this issue is exaggerated because there are very few real risks.

· d. careful supervision will offset some of these risks.

· e. ______________________________________________

· ___ ___34. Internet counseling. Regarding the practice of counseling via the Internet, I believe

· a. the practice is fraught with ethical and legal problems.

· b. this is a form of technology with real promise for many clients who would not, or could not, seek out face-to-face counseling.

· c. it is limited to dealing with simple problems because of the inability to make an adequate assessment.

· d. I would never provide Internet counseling without having some personal contact with the client.

· e. ______________________________________________

· ___ ___35. Inadequate supervision. As an intern, if I thought my supervision was inadequate, I would

· a. talk to my supervisor about it.

· b. continue to work without complaining.

· c. seek supervision elsewhere.

· d. question the commitment of the agency toward me.

· e. ______________________________________________

· ___ ___36. Supervision. My view of supervision is that it is

· a. a place to find answers to difficult situations.

· b. an opportunity to increase my clinical skills.

· c. valuable to have when I reach an impasse with a client.

· d. a way for me to learn about myself and to get insights into how I work with clients.

· e. ______________________________________________

· ___ ___37. Addressing diversity. In working with clients from different ethnic groups, it is most important to

· a. be aware of the sociopolitical forces that have influenced them.

· b. understand how language can be a barrier to effective multicultural counseling.

· c. refer these clients to some other professional who shares their ethnic and cultural background.

· d. help these clients modify their views so that they will feel more accepted.

· e. ______________________________________________

· ___ ___38. Diversity competence. To be effective in counseling clients from a different culture, a counselor must

· a. possess specific knowledge about the particular group he or she is counseling.

· b. be able to accurately “read” nonverbal messages.

· c. have had direct contact with this group.

· d. treat these clients no differently than clients from his or her own cultural background.

· e. ______________________________________________

· ___ ___39. Community responsibility. Concerning the mental health professional’s responsibility to the community, I believe

· a. practitioners should educate the community concerning the nature of psychological services.

· b. professionals should attempt to change patterns that need changing.

· c. community involvement falls outside the proper scope of counseling.

· d. practitioners should empower clients in the use of the resources available in the community.

· e. ______________________________________________

· ___ ___40. Role in community. If I were working as a practitioner in the community, the major role I would expect to play would be that of

· a. a change agent.

· b. an adviser.

· c. an educator or a consultant.

· d. an advocate.

· e. ______________________________________________

Chapter Summary

This introductory chapter focused on the foundations of creating an ethical sense and explored various perspectives on teaching the process of making ethical decisions. Professional codes of ethics are indeed essential for ethical practice, but merely knowing these codes is not enough. The challenge comes with learning how to think critically and knowing ways to apply general ethical principles to particular situations. We encourage you to become active in your education and training (see the Internet Resources box for information on joining a professional association). We also suggest that you try to keep an open mind about the issues you encounter during this time and throughout your professional career. An important part of this openness is a willingness to focus on yourself as a person and as a professional, as well as on the questions that are more obviously related to your clients.

Suggested Activities

Note to the student. At the end of each chapter we have deliberately provided a range of activities for instructors and students to choose from. The questions and activities are intended to stimulate you to become an active learner. We invite you to personalize the material and develop your own positions on the issues we raise. We suggest that you choose those activities that you find the most challenging and meaningful.

· 1. As a practitioner, how will you determine what is ethical and what is unethical? How will you develop your guidelines for ethical practice? Make a list of behaviors that you judge to be unethical. After you have thought through this issue by yourself, you may want to explore your approach with fellow students.

· 2. Take the self-assessment survey of your attitudes and beliefs about ethics in this chapter. Now circle the five items that you had the strongest reactions to or that you had the hardest time answering. Bring these items to class for discussion.

· 3. Look over the professional codes of ethics of one or more of the professional organizations. What are your impressions of each of these codes? To what degree do they provide you with the needed guidelines for ethical practice? What are the values of such codes? What limitations do you see in them? What do the various codes have in common?

· 4. Check out at least one of the websites of the professional organizations listed in the box titled “Professional Organizations and Codes of Ethics” at the end of the chapter. What is the main mission of the organization? What does the organization offer you as a student? What are the benefits of being a member? What kinds of professional journals and publications are available? What information can you find about conferences?

Ethics in Action CD-ROM Exercises

The Ethics in Action CD-ROM and this text deal with the topic of ethical decision making—with emphasis on the eight steps in making ethical decisions. Other topics explored in the first part of the CD-ROM include the role of codes of ethics in making decisions and basic moral principles as they apply to resolving ethical dilemmas.

In Part 1 of the CD-ROM program, three role plays provide concrete examples of applying the steps in making ethical decisions described in this chapter. The role plays illustrate ethical dilemmas pertaining to teen pregnancy, interracial dating, and culture clash between client and counselor. After viewing each of these three vignettes, we strongly encourage you to complete the exercises that are a part of each role-play situation.

To make the fullest use of this integrated learning package, conduct small group discussions in class and engage in role-playing activities. Students can assume the role of counselor for the vignette and demonstrate how they would deal with the dilemma presented by the client. For those not using the CD-ROM, descriptive summaries of the vignettes are provided with these exercises to facilitate role plays and class discussions. We hope that the material in the CD-ROM, and in this text as well, will be a catalyst for students to try out alternative approaches to dealing with each ethical challenge presented.

Professional Organizations and Codes of Ethics

The following ethics codes are reproduced in a supplement to this textbook titled Codes of Ethics for the Helping Professions, 4th edition (2011), which is sold at a nominal price when ordered as a bundle with this textbook. Alternatively, you may obtain particular codes of ethics by contacting the organizations directly or by downloading these ethics codes from the organizations’ websites.

· 1. American Counseling Association (ACA): Code of Ethics, ©2005

Visit  for more information on this organization.

· 2. National Board for Certified Counselors (NBCC): Code of Ethics, ©2005

Visit  for more information on this organization.

· 3. Commission on Rehabilitation Counselor Certification (CRCC): Code of Professional Ethics for Rehabilitation Counselors, ©2010

Visit  for more information on this organization.

· 4. Association for Addiction Professionals (NAADAC): Code of Ethics, ©2008

Visit  for more information on this organization.

· 5. Canadian Counselling Association (CCA): Code of Ethics, ©2007

Visit  for more information on this organization.

· 6. American School Counselor Association (ASCA): Ethical Standards for School Counselors, ©2004

Visit  for more information on this organization.

· 7. American Psychological Association (APA): Ethical Principles of Psychologists and Code of Conduct, ©2002

Visit  for more information on this organization.

· 8. American Psychiatric Association: The Principles of Medical Ethics With Annotations Especially Applicable to Psychiatry, ©2009

Visit  for more information on this organization.

· 9. American Group Psychotherapy Association (AGPA): Ethical Guidelines for Group Therapists, ©2002

Visit  for more information on this organization.

· 10. American Mental Health Counselors Association (AMHCA): Code of Ethics, ©2000

Visit  for more information on this organization.

· 11. American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy (AAMFT): Code of Ethics, ©2001

Visit  for more information on this organization.

· 12. International Association of …

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