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The Influence of My Belief and Value on Me in a Counseling Setting

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School counsellors face ethical and legal challenges every day. Whether you are new to the field or have been practicing for years, legal and ethical challenges can still throw you for a loop(ASCA, 2016). Ethical dilemmas that surround child protection and the navigation of homeand school communication are faced regularly by school counsellors, especially those that are Christians. Many of these issues are impacted by the school counsellors’ abilities toacknowledge their own personal values while balancing ethical obligations and administrative boundaries (Springer, S. I., 2016).

Also bias is a tendency to favour one explanation, opinion, or understanding over another perspective that is potentially equally valid.In a therapeutic setting, a therapist’s individual biases might alter the recommendations he or she makes to clients or influence his or her understanding of a person’s problems. Recognizing one’s own biases is often the first step to eliminating biasbecause this allows a researcher the opportunity to actively correct for one’s biases. Double-blind studies and peer review can also help to counteract the biases of individual researchers (, 2016).

As a Christian school counsellor, I believe that I must be aware of possible bias triggered in methat can emerge from any angle while counselling students. Objectivity is my main focus at all times- that I have it clear! The minute that I lose objectivity while counselling and instead begin to gain subjectivity, I know for a fact that I am about, if not already, to become biashence leadingme to end up trapped in an ethical dilemma.

Honestly, Iam convincedthat I would definitely lose objectivity by becoming bias when counselling a female student at my Christian school if sheconfides me that she is sexually attracted to another person of her same sex and that she wants to openly express this sexual orientation. In this reflective paper, I will examine and express how my personal belief and value system will influence me positively and negatively hence resulting in potential biases, prejudice for my client, and even how this may affect my client when dealing with a similar case like the aforementioned. I will also produce an ethical decision-making plan to address these biases and to provide effective counselling to this same client [student].

In a situation whereby a 16-year-old female student confides me that she is in love with another female classmate of her same age, wants to dress in school like a male student, and wants to use the school’s males’ bathroom, I would definitely encounter myself in an ethical dilemma because of my Christian belief and values that consider those acts as a sin and an abomination in the very eyes of my God. It is impossible that both my Christian school and I tolerate or accept a student with such sexual orientation and “inappropriate conduct”. On the other hand, I would be concerned for this student because not only will she be bullied but also she will be expelled from this school for such an “indecent conduct”, no doubt.

By immediately reacting and believing that that is a sin (Romans 1: 18-32), I would already be prejudice, for I am not allowing myself to empathise with this student that is so desperate for “acceptance”. All of this may affect my client in not wanting to believe in herself, to have the right to express her sexual orientations and feelings, and to perform academically good since this will bring down her self-esteem. I will have her reflect and find a true “decent identity”. Biases like the abovementioned will cause me to lose objectivity and tofail to the six fundamental principles: Autonomy, Nonmaleficence, Beneficence, Justice, Fidelity, and Veracity (ACA, 2014).

This situation will even affect me on a personal level and as a professional counsellor because this client’s sexual orientation and intended conduct are absolutely against my Christian belief and principles. As a professional counsellor, my duty is to practice the six moral principles that govern me and by no other means try to influence or to impose my personal values and beliefs to this student because school counsellors restrain themselves from imposing their beliefs (ACA, 2014; ASCA, 2016).

In addition, ethics refer to moral and value-based decision making. Professional ethics extend beyond personal values and include behaviours deemed as good by the profession. These values have been codified and accepted by thecounselling profession. Ethical codes were developed out of a need for counsellors to morally solve practical problems in a consistent manner (Freeman, Engels, & Altekruse, 2004).

Furthermore, ethical issues occur frequently for school counsellors. To address these issues responsibly, a school counsellor may refer to the ACA (2014) Code of Ethics and the ASCA (2016) Ethical Standards for School Counsellors.The Ethical Standards for School Counsellors states that a school counsellor should use the STEPS ethical decision-making model when faced with an ethical dilemma (ASCA, 2016).Therefore,using the STEPS ethical decision-making model to develop an effective plan with measures to address these biases and to provide professional services to my client,I will consider the following:

I. Identify and describe the problem (legal, ethical, and professional) and potential issues involved: After identifying this problem as ethical, I will begin by looking at the problem emotionally and intellectually. My religious belief would let me see that my client’s sexual orientation is indecent. Moreover, school administration would get after me if they ever find out that I didn’t attempt to help this client’s sexual orientation problem. I willalso try my very best to ensure that this student finishes her studies and to notbe expelled.

II. Refer to the ACA Code of Ethics: In the preamble, ASCA (2016) ethical standards states that a student’s sexual orientation should be respected. Section B.3.i from the same ethical standards statesthat school counsellors monitor their own awareness of prejudice against sexual orientation and seek to become a more competent counsellor in this area.

III. Determine the nature and dimensions of the dilemma: I will consult with colleagues that have more experiences with similar cases and research in relevant literature reviews (I.2.c. ACA, 2014). To impose my own belief on this student would violate the student’s autonomy. However, I believe that giving improper sexual orientation guidance would harm the student and violate the principle of nonmaleficence. On the other hand, it would violate the principle of justice to push a certain system of beliefs to her.

IV. Identify possible course of action: I will put on scale all my options asto either avoid the issue during counselling, openly discuss the issue while trying to limit my own bias, oropenly discuss this issue and try to help her understand the value of her belief system.

V. Consider potential consequences of each course of action and choose the best one: I believe that I would go for the second option in order to provide her withprofessional support. This will meet her needs, and I would try not to worry about any community/administration backlash that might result.

VI. Evaluate the selected course of action: Before taking any further action, I will consult withother mentor/colleague that has had similar cases like this before. This will be done, of course, by not breaching confidentiality because she has committed no crime whatsoever and if she is now sexually active she is at the consenting age, anyways. I will support this student whilemeeting the ethical guidelines of competency.

VII. Implement course of action: Besides, I will read books about similar cases and meet with this student to discuss the issue of sexual orientation.I will have her question her own thoughts, religious beliefs, if any, and family’s origin’s beliefs.

As suggests, by just acknowledging one’s own biases and dealing with it immediately is often the first stepsto eliminate bias because this allows the researcher to have the opportunity to actively correct one’s biases and helps to mitigate against adverse effects to the clients too. I can also mitigate the harmful effect to the client by maintaining objectivity and always referring to the Code of Ethics and Ethical Standards for School Counsellors. In the event that I cannot maintain myself unbiased or the counseling is not assisting/improving my client in anyway, Iwill better refer this client to someone that has more expertise in this particular case. I should always bear in mind that my purpose is to help- not to harm my client.

In conclusion, the general purpose of school counselling is to provide a program of counseling services to help the students in a school be successful. When a counsellor cannot provide these services successfully, the only one affected is /are the client(s). Now I understand this clearly, and I look forward to always be of great help to these struggling students even though there will be many times when I will have to meet my limitations. By examining and expressinghow my personal belief and value system will influence me negatively through bias and prejudice that can affect my client, I feel that this makes me more professional and makes me always keep in heart and soul that I must never play with the welfare of an individual, especially when that individual is my student.

Remember: This is just a sample from a fellow student.

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The Influence Of My Belief And Value On Me In A Counseling Setting. (2019, April 10). GradesFixer. Retrieved October 17, 2021, from
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