Referral refers to a counselor’s ability to refer a mental health patient to a different counselor. This must be done bearing in mind the six principles. When a doctor feels a patient is incapable of making sound decisions, they are referred to a clinical counselor to ascertain the patient’s wellness in terms of their ability to make informed decisions. The counselor also has the option or referring treatment that is less invasive to the patient in the spirit of non-malfeasance and achieving the greatest good. For example, if a counselor is unable to provide the necessary treatment, then it is possible for them to refer the patient only if it will be of great benefit to the patient. It should also be geared toward reducing the chances of harming others. In referring a patient to a different counselor, it is essential that the patient receive treatment similar to what everyone else gets (Gerig, 2007). The referral of a patient to a different counselor must be advised to the patient, and the patient has to accept before the referral is complete. It is also important to ensure that the reasons for the referral are truthful.
Inclusion in medical terms refers to putting into practice all the principles of clinical mental health counseling. A mental health counselor can combine all the principles of mental health counseling during therapy. It entails incorporating the virtues of trust, loyalty, equality, truthfulness and all the other principles in treatment. Inclusion shows that the counselor is empowered with the right formula for therapy; he/she possesses all the ingredients necessary for successful treatment of the patient. The impact of these principles into a counselors practice is very significant, since a counselor is more capable of taking care of his or her patients when the principles are taken into serious consideration (Gerig, 2007). A combination of these principles will serve to achieve the greater good and elicit the best results in all the patient-counselor interactions.
Second, we need to radically reexamine how to organize the delivery of prevention, wellness, screening, and routine health maintenance services. The problem is not only that the system underinvests in these services relative to the value they can create but also that primary care providers are asked to deliver disparate services with limited staff to excessively broad patient populations. As a result, delivery of such care is fragmented and often ineffective and inefficient. We need structures for the delivery of specified prevention and wellness service bundles to defined patient populations with unified reimbursement. Employers with on-site health clinics are achieving extraordinary success in providing such services, highlighting the need for new delivery channels beyond conventional settings.
8. Mandatory ethics is the primary level of ethical functioning it indicates an individual’s effort to adhere to the law and to follow the ethical codes of practice. For example, a counselor attending to the same patient suffering from post-traumatic stress considers himself or herself unbound by any other issues outside the profession that may affect the healing of the patient. The counselor considers himself only bound by the mandatory laws and will not give any further assistance beyond that stipulated by law even if the patient needs it.
Best practice refers to a counselor adopting practices that are beneficial to the patient yet acceptable by professional standards. Best practice would dictate that a patient be made aware of their condition and the course of the treatment. This is done in the spirit of informing the patient of their true situation and the treatment likely to yield the best results. Best practice will also dictate that a counselor assesses the capability of a patient to make an informed decision (Koocher, & Keith-Spiege, 2008). Best practice will dictate that the health practitioner does the least harm for the benefit of the patient. Non-malfeasance requires that the patient be given treatment that is not harmful. However, this may not always be true, and the counselor must adhere to the concept of beneficence to ensure that the patient receives the best medical care. This is what best practice entails. Best practice entails that whatever information is divulged to family members and others be information that is acceptable to the patient
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Any professional working within a helping profession such as mental health or other similar therapeutic professions is bound to encounter several ethical issues within his or her work. Mental health counselors are no exemption. They face ethical issues and dilemmas in many circumstances compounded by the fact that clients might not be in good mental position to make rational judgments. Therefore, understanding what ethical issues exist within the mental health counseling and their subsequent implications will better equip the counselors to excel while providing services professionally as well as radically improve the effect on patients. Mental health counselors are therefore guided by a set of principles which if followed will enable them to provide the best service to the client.
1. In health care, autonomy is a principle that recognizes an individual’s right to self-determination or self-governance (Barker, 2011). The principle of autonomy is pegged on society’s respect for an individual’s capabilities to make informed choices and decisions about health. Autonomy has become an important aspect in the society, since medical quality is shifting to considering the desirable outcomes of treatment from the patient’s point of view as opposed to the expected outcomes of medical professionals. Autonomy forms the basis for medical concepts such as informed consent. The ability for someone to be autonomous is an indicator for mental well being. (For example, a mental health counselor converses with a patient suffering from depression in order to find out their expectations. He then proceeds to perform the therapy in line with the desires of that particular patient. The outcome of the therapy therefore becomes tailor-made for the patient just as they wanted.)
The Mental Health Counseling Program at North Carolina Central University is recognized as a Criteria C school for Licensure as a Clinical Addictions Specialist (LCAS). The Program is fully accredited by the Council for the Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP) and is an endorsed member of the International Registry of Counselor Education Programs (IRCEP).
2. Non-malfeasance is an ethical principle that ensures that health professionals above all do no harm to the patients under their care (Gladding, Newsome, & Gladding, 2010). Some believe that it is important to ensure that no harm befalls a patient rather than do what is considered good and cause harm. Many practitioners rush to propose procedures in the hope of helping the patient before evaluating the level of harm that may be inflicted on the patient. It is not enough to know that one is not supposed to do any harm, but also knowing that treatment may be harmful to a patient is also very important. (A mental health counselor who is carrying out treatment on an HIV positive patient who is suffering from stigma, for example, is supposed to carry out treatment by giving them sound advice and therapy. He should not, for example, give potentially dangerous advice such as asking them to take alcohol or any drug that may cause harm to the patient.)
3. Beneficence is a term that refers to any action that is meant to help others. In essence, beneficent circumstances or actions are meant to help prevent or eliminate harm or in some cases to simply improve other peoples situations (Barker, 2011). The role of beneficence in clinical mental health counseling is to ensure that the individual receives treatment that is most beneficial to them. Clinical counselors have an obligation to prevent harm to a patient and apply correction treatment to situations that threaten the patient’s wellbeing. They also have the obligation to assess and balance the probable benefits against the probable risks regarding an action. (A mental health counselor who attends to a patient suffering from stress in the spirit of beneficence will advise them to try quitting their drinking and smoking.)