Government programs that serve clients have to follow Equal Opportunity policies and ethical policies regarding confidentiality of service.
An article directed towards psychiatrists and psychologists provides guidance that would also pertain to working in a government agency that serves clients. The author nicely summarizes ethical concerns regarding counseling relationships. The topic of multiple relationships and avoiding overlap between personal and professional contacts is reviewed as an initial pitfall to avoid. If business encounters are unavoidable due to limited availability of the type of business then some overlap of professional contacts might be more advisable than avoiding the professional relationship. It is always the standard recommendation to avoid mixing personal relationships with a patient who is in counseling relationship. Documentation and other ethical considerations are also discussed with examples provided.
These topics are also recommended and covered in the ethical guidelines of dietetic counseling as well as in the provision of U.S. government equal opportunity programs. Reviewing policies with all staff working in the program was an annual requirement in the agency where I worked and managed staff.
10 things I think are important:
- 10 ways practitioners can avoid frequent ethical pitfalls, by Deborah Smith, American Psychological Association, January 2003, Vol 34, No. 1, http://www.apa.org/monitor/jan03/10ways.aspx
/Disclosure: This information is provided for educational purposes within the guidelines of fair use. While I am a Registered Dietitian this information is not intended to provide individual health guidance. Please see a health professional for individual health care purposes./Ethics guidance for mental health counselors by Jenny