The paper "Values and Cultural Issues in Counseling" is an outstanding example of a law research paper.
Human beings are laden with values, beliefs, and opinions that shape up their lives. Counseling demands serving clients by observing all the legal and ethical protocols. It is still a hotly debated issue as to whether competency in counseling should involve remaining value-neutral while attending to clients. Such controversial topics like domestic violence, abortion, suicide, adultery, drug use, and child abuse pose as serious challenges to counseling but practitioners should just remain value-neutral. This paper will argue out why counselors should remain value-neutral while working in multicultural societies.
Arguments Supporting and Refuting Value Neutrality
Counselors are supposed to respect and acknowledge the values, beliefs, and customs of their clients by all means. By agreeing to follow and stick to counseling philosophy and the ethical code of conduct, in no way should they undermine and harm the client’s self-determination (McLeod, 2009)? A counselor should keep his or her values away from a therapeutic relationship. A client who needs to abort has her own valid reasons as to why she needs to do so. To the counselor, it might seem an immoral act but from the client’s point of view, it might be the only thing to do to save her life. Punishing a child severely might not seem like an abuse to the client who does that. The client does so because it might be the only way to save the child from growing into a social delinquent. In such a situation, the counselor is supposed to make an ethical decision.
Although counselors try their best to remain neutral and uphold ethical guidelines in multicultural settings, there are some situations which might force them to wander off their perimeters. If a counselor becomes aware of his client’s plan to commit suicide, he should take action to help save the client’s life. This should happen irrespective of whether the ethical code of conducts will be broken or not. Although such an action will probably tear down the relationship between the counselor and his client, it will play a very vital moral obligation.
Defending the Position
Although counselors are presumed to know what some situations might bring to a client’s life, some presumptions turn out to be wrong. Coming up with a conclusion that a certain client might commit suicide might turn out to be wrong and in the event, the counselor might face legal punishment. Counselors are supposed to remain neutral whenever handling clients. The philosophical belief lies in the fact that a person should be left to control his or her destiny in the best way they see (McLeod, 2009). Being judgmental might not just affect counselor-client relationship but it might also result in malpractice. Failing to recognize and respect a client's values and points of view is ethical malpractice in counseling. It clearly reflects the counselor's inability to recognize and acknowledge a client's right to self-determination. If the client-counselor cannot form a mutual agreement with the client without being value biased, then he or she should refer the client to another counselor.
Factors to Consider Before Referring to a Client
According to Barnes & Murdin (2001), referring a client to another counselor is not the best of options. The clients might probably wonder why they are being referred to other counselors. However, when value neutrality and interference becomes unavoidable, then the counselor should better refer to the client. The major factors that make it unavoidable for clients to be referred to include spirituality, religion, and moral judgment. A staunch Christian counselor might find it hard to deal with clients who wish to perform an abortion, drug users and adulterers (Burke, Chauvin, & Miranti, 2004). Although he is ethically not supposed to mix values and his rapport with the client, the moral judgment in him might overpower the philosophical and ethical code of conduct in counseling.
What to do when Referral is not an Option
A counselor might find it hard to refer to his or her client because of the good working relationship they have developed (Remley & Herlihy, 2010). The best thing to do when a referral is not an option is to form a mutual agreement between the client and the counselor. It is the democratic philosophy of the client to decide how best he or she can gain happiness. Counselors should, therefore, allow the clients to state how they want to be treated, what should be done and how best to do it.
From the above argument, counselors can remain value-neutral while attending to their clients. This is the only way that will ensure their professionalism in multicultural contexts. Trying to be judgmental on the basis of suicide, adultery, drug use, domestic violence, or child abuse is viewed as malpractice. Trust between a client and a counselor can only be developed when the former realizes that his or her values are revered.