Assessment Title

Assessment Title: Essay.

Student Name: Amanda Thwala.

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South African College of Applied Psychology (Pty) Ltd.

Module Name: Ethics in Counselling.

Educator Name: Susanna Long.

Assessment Due Date: 19 July 2018.
Plagiarism Declaration
In accordance with SACAP’s Plagiarism Prevention Policy and Student Code of Conduct, Wellness and Disciplinary Policy, I, Amanda, the undersigned, hereby declare that I have abided by APA referencing guidelines, that the work contained in this assessment submission is my own original work, and that I have not previously in its entirety, or in part, submitted this work previously as part of a module or qualification.

Signature: A.A THWALA.Date: 19 July 2018.

Table of content.

Awareness, values, imposing values and culture in practice………5
Identification and effect of personal values with clients………….10
Ways to deal with personal values and beliefs……………………11


As future practitioners it’s very important to be aware of our needs, defenses, ‘unfinished businesses, personal conflicts, defenses and vulnerabilities and how these can influence the therapeutic work. Being aware of yourself and clarifying values help the therapy to be more effective and can avoid the therapist being judgmental and be understanding towards the clients in ethical practice (Corey, Corey ; Callanan, 2014). This assessment aims to provide some basic information about the importance of clarifying your values and culture tunnel to clients in ethical practice and why is it significant to know about yourself when working in counselling field. Secondly I will identify my personal values learned in this module and how these values can affect my interaction with clients. Lastly I will describe how I propose to deal with them using different sources.

Importance of self-awareness.

Self-awareness refers to the ability to recognize and understand our moods, emotions, drives and their effects on them (DeVito, 2014). It is an essential component in the counselling process. Self-awareness allows us to discriminate between own problems and those of the client (Corey, Corey ; Callanan, 2014). If we do not have at least minimal self-awareness, it is easy for us to identify with the other person’s problems and to imagine that they are similar to, or even the same, as our own. Without self-awareness, it is possible to imagine that everyone else (and particularly the client) has the same problems as we do. In this way, our own problems are projected onto the client. We need to be able to identify clear ‘ego’ boundaries; to make a clear distinction between ourselves and our clients.

As a matter of fact, what the client is describing at any particular time is never the same as a situation we have found ourselves in. It may be similar to it, but it can never be the same.

Self-awareness allows you to see where are your thoughts and emotions are taking you (Johnson, 2003). It allows you to understand other people, how they observe you, your responses to them in the moment. There more you know about yourself, the better you are at adapting life changes that suit your needs. Essentially, the more you pay attention to your emotions and how you work, the better you will understand why you do the things you do.
Being aware, we learn to notice ourselves and to lay attention to how we are reacting to the unfolding counselling session. It allows us to make more sensitive use of our counselling interventions, be more tactful and truly meet the arising needs of the client (Corey, Corey & Callanan, 2014). Thus, attention by the counsellor to her/his own changing feelings can help in the process of understanding, empathizing with the client and help them better appreciate their clients.

Self-awareness in a counselor can also help a therapy session to be more effective (Bonow & Follette, 2009). For example, counselors who rated themselves as more self-aware during a session felt more positive emotion towards their clients, and their clients felt that their sessions were more helpful as well (Johnson, 2003). The researchers suggested that the counsellor’s abilities to manage their self-awareness is specifically what helped the sessions. Counsellors who are self-aware are more likely to avoid experiencing over identification with their clients (Corey, Corey ; Callanan, 2014). Without self-awareness, counsellors are likely to obstruct the progress of their clients as the focus of the therapy shifts from meeting the client’s needs of the counsellor.

Importance of clarifying values.

Value clarification is a psychotherapy technique that can often help an individual increase awareness of any values that may have a bearing on lifestyle decisions and actions (Bonow & Follette, 2009). Research has provided evidence that therapists’ values in?uence every phase of psychotherapy, including the theories of personality and therapeutic change, assessment strategies, goals of treatment, the design and selection of interventions, and evaluation of therapy outcomes. (Corey, Corey ; Callanan, 2014). Counselors need to understand how their own values can in?uence their work with clients, perhaps even unconsciously. Not informing your clients about the areas in which you think you cannot be neutral can affect your work with clients, it is crucial for you to clarify your assumptions, core beliefs and values, and the ways in which they in?uence the therapeutic process (Johnson, 2009). Clients have a right to a lot more involvement from therapists than mere re?ection and clari?cation. It is helpful for clients to know where their therapist stands so they can test their own thinking. We believe clients are helped by this kind of connection. But if clients are encouraged to change the direction of their values without being aware of what they are doing, they are being deprived of self-determination Corey, Corey ; Callanan, 2014).
Counsellor’s need to be honest and open about our views, collaborate with the client in setting goals that ?t his or her needs, then step aside and allow the person to exercise autonomy and face consequences. Brodley (2011a) argues that the counselor must agree with the client’s ethical aims for therapy. She states that if the counsellor cannot agree with the client’s aim, this will mean they cannot help but be judgmental of the client, and the therapist needs to refer on, or be clear with the client what they cannot help with (assuming they can accept the client apart from a particular aim). Values clarification can provide an opportunity for a person (therapist) to reflect on personal moral dilemmas and allow for values to be examined and clarified (Proctor, 2014). This process may be helpful for self-improvement, increased well-being and interactions with others. A therapist can also use value clarification in order to help a person explore and define values when it appears that the individual’s well-being is affected. It helps them to learn more about themselves and develop reasonable goals, and therapy often allows for a safe environment in which people can understand and develop their own set of values and achieve realization of their motivations and characteristics (Proctor, 2014).
A good therapist should be sensitive and accepting of value systems that differ from the therapist’s own values, as it is considered to be unethical for therapists to put pressure individuals into developing the same set of values as their own (Marsh, n.d). Clarifying your values in therapy aims to reduce emotional distress and increase positive behaviors through reinforcement. It helps clients to identify and clarify the values that influence their decisions and behavior and encourages them to build on their inner resources and strengths (Proctor, 2014). Someone who has explored their personal values in therapy is often better able to identify what will enable them to effectively function in life and thus may be able to make more self-directed choices
Importance of imposing values
People working in the serving department, such as nurses, social workers, counselors, psychologists and psychiatrists, have to take particular care to avoid imposing their values on clients. Value imposition is a type of boundary violation that can interfere with your clients’ progress in treatment as well as their right to self-determination. According to Corey, Corey and Callanan (2016) point out that if you’re not careful and aware, your values can present some difficulties and significantly affect your work with clients. Imposing your values on client’s means that you attempt to exert direct influence over their beliefs, feelings, judgments, attitudes and behavior’s (Corey, Corey & Callanan, 2014). This can occur if you’re completely unaware of your own attitudes, beliefs and feelings or if you hold strong prejudices against specific groups of people. You can impose your values on clients in an active manner, such as by making direct statements to influence your clients’ course of action, or passively, through nonverbal communication, such as crossing your arms or looking away when clients make statements with which you disagree (Marsh, n.d).

Knowing your feelings, values, attitudes, behaviors and noticing reactions to your client’s statements or actions, especially those that provoke a strong or negative feeling can help the therapy session to be effective, help the therapist to cultivate a greater sense of self-awareness and help the therapist avoid unconsciously imposing their values on clients (Marsh, n.d). When your values conflict with those of your clients, it’s very important to maintain a neutral attitude as possible, this can be useful to the therapy session, since you want to make your clients feel accepted and understood. Although it may not always be realistic, a neutral attitude can also help you to keep your values in check. Not imposing your values on your clients can keep you from being judgmental or bias (Proctor, 2014).
It can make them feel like you don’t understand them or care to. And feel you are trying to steal their autonomy and control (Proctor, 2014). It’s unhelpful to speak with a therapist who does not listen to your values and tells you what you want. No one wants to be pushed around. Imposing your values on clients can damage the relationship between the client and therapist.

Importance of cultural tunnel in ethical practice.

Culture is important for a number of reasons because it influences an individual’s life in a variety of ways, including values, views, desires, fears, views and worries. In addition, belonging to a culture provides people with a sense of identity, purpose and belonging.

Our culture shapes our value and belief systems, which influence our personalities (Quappe ; Contatore, 2007). If counselors clarifying their culture in practice they strive to create both a trusting relationship and a comfortable environment with all their clients so that the difficult task of healing therapy can begin. Clients seeking counseling come from an array of backgrounds, requiring counselors to know and understand the various ways culture impacts the counseling relationship (Quappe ; Contatore, 2007). A lack of sensitivity to a client’s unique background and experiences can result in miscommunication, a client’s refusal to participate, and ultimately, an ineffective counseling relationship. These consequences can open the door to accusations of negligence, leading to discipline from your state licensing board or professional organization, or even a lawsuit. Counselors can help avoid this by always documenting the counseling session, and noting the steps you taken to understand and adjust to the client’s individual culture. Also, remembering that the goal of therapy is to understand the individual as a whole (not just his/her ethnic background) is key (Quappe & Contatore, 2007)
Clarifying your client about your culture can lead you to know about the client’s customs (Corey, Corey ; Callanan, 2014). For example, some cultures avoid eye contact as a sign of respect, but we need to understand whether the individual in counseling is not looking at us out of respect, or if he/she is feeling ashamed or uncomfortable, or being dishonest. If we assume clients’ behavior stems from culture without asking questions about how they’re feeling, we may miss an opportunity for healing and set ourselves up for liability.

A good way to avoid misassumptions is to be educated about the culture of our client (Proctor, 2014).  The same is true for counselors everywhere.  If you can’t find literature sources about specific cultural expectations, seek the advice of other colleagues in your area who may have experience counseling within your client’s culture. During a counselling session, it’s also important to determine your client’s level of acculturation to the United States (Proctor, 2014). Clients with low cultural assimilation may not understand that some of the behaviors you’re counseling them about aren’t acceptable in this country.

Culturally competent counselors invite open and honest dialogue about race and ethnicity in their therapeutic sessions and use professional resources and activities to develop their counseling skills with racially and ethnically diverse clients (Corey, Corey ; Callanan, 2014). As counselors, we understand that all our clients come with unique needs. Creating a treatment approach that respects the client’s cultural identity as well as his/her individual characteristics will meet those needs.

Personal values and beliefs.

According to the Department of Education (2009), a belief is an idea that a person holds as being true. A belief can come from different sources, including experiences, home, school, and culture and society norms. Once a person accepts a belief as a truth they are willing to defend it, it can be said to form part of their belief system. Values are true, long-lasting beliefs about what is important to a person (Marsh, n.d). A belief will develop into a value when a person commits, it grows and they see it as being important. Counsellors basic values include developing effective strategies for coping with stress; developing the ability to give and receive affection; increasing one’s ability to be sensitive to the feelings of others; becoming able to practice self-control; having a sense of purpose for living; being open, honest, and genuine; ?nding satisfaction in one’s work; having a sense of identity and self-worth; being skilled in interpersonal relationships; having deepened self-awareness and motivation for growth; and practicing good habits of physical health (Corey, Corey & Callanan, 2014). Values shape everything we do, they underpin human agency, choice and autonomy.

Value: I believe that behavior has a purpose and is goal-oriented, there’s are reason why people behave the way they want, but we can change that it’s possible if you believe. Yes, the past does have an impact on the person, but it is how we choose to respond to our behaviors, thoughts and actions. The past can be reviewed and rewritten. We as people we are not determined by hereditary and environment, but we interpret, influence and create meaning in life, striving for success and perfection.

Value: Individuals have choices and responsibility, each of us have the capacity to freely choose and thereby change the direction of our lives. We are autonomous and self-directing. People are in charge of their live. Life does not happen to you, but is a result of how you to opportunities and challenges. There are challenges I could face, some clients would believe that life is deterministic, for me it’s unacceptable. I could face miscommunication with a client. Some clients can see me as someone who looks empathetic, who is not trustful and lacks understanding. I could lose clients if I have strict beliefs and values and appear judgmental.
Ways to deal with these personal values, beliefs and assumptions.

Even the most experienced helping professionals need to engage in clinical supervision from time to time, especially in situations involving difficult or challenging clients in which strong value differences come into play. Supervision can help me to develop awareness of the problem and my own feelings, especially when I’m unable to put my finger on what’s really going on (Corey, Corey ; Callanan, 2014). Supervision can help me to determine whether I should continue working with a specific client, such in cases when my personal beliefs are so strong that I cannot act without bias or judgement. At times, sharing your client’s views can be useful to the treatment process, since they want to feel accepted and comprehended. When my beliefs clashes with the client, it’s very important to maintain a neutral attitude as possible. This involves simply listening to and acknowledging what the client says without judgement or bias. Being aware of my client can help me to understand them and empathize more.

In this assessment I have learned that it’s better to listen to people’s wants and desires and help them achieve those than to impose your own. And it’s very important to more about yourself before you become a counsellor. Once you understand their wants, you can give them what they want. If you want to sway their opinions, you’ll need to prove that you understand their thoughts before moving on.


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Proctor, G. (2014). Values and Ethics in Counselling and Psychotherapy. (1st ed). (pp. 26-37). CA: SAGE Publications Inc.

Brodley, B (2011a). Ethics in Psychotherapy. In K.A, Moon, Witty, B. Grant ;B. Rice (Eds), practicing client-centered therapy: selected writings of Barbara Temaner Brodley (pp. 33-46). Ross-on-Wye: PCCS Books.
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