Encyclopedia of Psychology and Religion

2014 Edition
| Editors: David A. Leeming

Ethics in Counseling

Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4614-6086-2_9236

A parish minister “reminds” a presurgical patient to be “right with God” in case death results from the surgery. Or a psychotherapist insists that a woman leave her abusive husband without considering how her “faith” might inform her decision. Professional counseling, particularly when religious/spiritual elements are present, can be both a powerful and dangerous resource in the healing process. Think of religion as a conscious and socially organized expression of spirituality, based on a formal belief system about divine presence. And think of spirituality as a person’s unique relationship with whatever is beyond human experience. Because the temptation is always present for professional helpers to impose their conscious or unconscious values, ethical practice can limit the chances of inadvertently harming their clients.

To help protect both counselor and client and to promote healing, this entry considers:
  1. 1.

    Context– how religious/spiritual elements affect the ethical dynamics of...

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  1. Benyei, C. R. (1998). Understanding clergy misconduct in religious systems: Scapegoating, family secrets, and the abuse of power. Binghamton: The Hayworth Pastoral Press.Google Scholar
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Links to Examples of Codes of Ethics

  1. (Others can be found on professional association or church denominational websites.)Google Scholar
  2. American Association of Pastoral Counselors. (n.d.). http://www.aapc.org/about-us/code-of-ethics.aspx.
  3. American Association of Christian Counselors. (n.d.). http://www.aacc.net/about-us/code-of-ethics/.
  4. National Board of Certified Counselors. (n.d.). http://www.nbcc.org/Assets/Ethics/nbcc-codeofethics.pdf.
  5. The Evangelical Christian Church in Canada. (n.d.). http://www.cecconline.net/node/11.

Examples of Professional Organizations

  1. FaithTrust Institute: Working together to end sexual and domestic violence. (n.d.). http://faithtrustinstitute.org/.
  2. American Association of Pastoral Counselors. (n.d.). http://www.aapc.org/.
  3. American Association of Christian Counselors. (n.d.). https://www.aacc.net/.
  4. American Psychological Association. (n.d.). http://www.apa.org/.
  5. American Counseling Association. (n.d.). http://www.counseling.org/.

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Susquehanna Family Counseling MinistryIthacaUSA