Write 14 pages thesis on the topic ethical and legal issues in the couseling profession. All in all, these dilemmas and decisions have made me more prudent and more discerning in my approaches to patient care. This essay will now serve as my reflective ethical autobiography with various sources and theories used to help support and evaluate the choices I have made during my immersion. Discussion One of the main teachings which were drilled to us by our professors was the fact that there were various ethical principles which we had to follow and consider with each patient that we cared for. These main ethical principles include: beneficence, patient autonomy or self-determination, non-maleficence, and justice. These principles helped me develop my sense of right or wrong. Whenever I doubted my actions or did not know whether my actions were right or wrong, I always considered these four ethical principles as a guide or as a foundation for my decisions. Beauchamp and Childress identified these ethical principles which should govern the ethical practice of our profession. They discuss that the principle of autonomy is basically about the personal rule of oneself which is apart or free from the influences of others and from the limitations which negate meaningful choice (Beauchamp and Childress, 1994). This autonomous decision making process allows the individual to act in accordance with his plans and his choices. Without such autonomy, an individual is dictated by others and is incapable of acting on his desires or plans (Beauchamp and Childress, 1994). In other words, patient autonomy is about allowing the patient to make his own decisions about his care without forcing him or influencing him to decide in a particular way. In my practice, I often had to explain to patients the different types of care or interventions which can be implemented in their favor. There were times when I was tempted to influence their choices and to sway them towards making decisions which, I felt, were more favorable to the patients and to me. But noting that I might be unjustly and unfairly influencing them to make decisions on their care, I ended up being more restrained and being more balanced in explaining possible choices in their care. By allowing them to make their own choices, I was able to afford more respect to my patients as individuals. Patient autonomy is also about respecting the patients decision even if such decision is not the best decision for him. One time, I encountered a patient who refused further care and counseling. I knew that he needed to be in therapy and he needed to undergo intensive rehabilitation. However he wanted to undergo a less structured rehabilitation process and he wanted to do it outside the mental health institution. Even if I knew that his choices may not be effective in rehabilitating him, ethics dictated that I had to respect his choice. And so we released him and allowed him to make his own choices of care. The principle of beneficence is based on doing acts of kindness for others (Beauchamp and Childress, 1994). In essence, this principle asserts an obligation to help others further their important and legitimate interests (Beauchamp and Childress, 1994, p. 260). In applying this principle to my counseling practice, I often encountered situations where I knew that my patients needed more intensive counseling. One time, I encountered a high school student whom I assessed to be depressed.
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