Ethical Issues Faced When Counseling Oppressed Populations.
Psychologists are aware of cultural, individual, and role differences, including those due to age, gender, race, ethnicity, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, disability, language, and socioeconomic status. Psychologists try to eliminate the effect of their work of biases based on those factors, and they do not knowingly participate in or condone unfair discriminatory practices. (APA, 1992, pp. 1599-1600).
The American Psychological Association, American Counseling Association, and other professional mental health associations affirm that counselors should be aware of the prevailing community standards and of the possible impact on their practice of deviation from these standards. Ethical standards are created to help professionals identify ethical issues in practice and provide guidelines to determine what is ethically acceptable and unacceptable behavior (Reamer, 1998). Ethical issues are frequently intertwined, which makes it imperative that counselors not only follow the codes of ethics of their profession but that they also know their state's laws and their legal boundaries and responsibilities. For counselors, a thorough grounding in ethical issues is as essential as a solid base of psychological knowledge and skills. The purpose of this paper is to address the unique ethical issues faced when counseling oppressed populations and give innovative suggestions for ethical guidelines that may help protect these populations from counseling abuse.
Counselors must learn how to apply established ethical codes to an extensive range of dilemmas they will face. Absolute freedom should certainly not be the rule, nor should going on intuition be an appropriate path to follow. Counselors must know how to apply the ethical codes of the profession to the many practical problems they will face, which demands the utmost ethical sensitivity.