Psychology Primer: Ethics/Maintaining Perspective

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Psychology Primer
By Clinton M. Williams, BA Psych

Tutorial 1: Theory

Tutorial 2: Application

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Maintaining Perspective

The final ethical consideration is one of maintaining your perspective. It is a sad but true fact that many counselors working in the field actually find themselves working out their own issues at the client’s expense, and the above examples of self-disclosure are one of the most common explanations for how it begins.

In the case of two friends commiserating over a couple of cold beers, a bond can develop which is not inappropriate, given that there is an equal “power sharing” within the relationship. The Counselor/ Client relationship, however is designed to be one sided, and therefore the counselor has the implied power over the relationship by virtue of the fact that they are the one who makes the determination as to whether or not the person is “cured” of their condition.

Even without inappropriate self disclosure, the counselor must be aware of this dynamic cropping up. While a counselor has every right to take pride in their work, they must guard against the tendency to personalize their response to successes or failures, as this is a sign of the counselor pursuing their own issues of self worth at the expense of the client. This in turn is evidence of a loss of perspective on the part of the counselor, which can lead to bias or transference/ counter-transference.

If you as a counselor find yourself looking forward to a particular client each week, or dreading another one, you need to ask yourself whose needs are being served. If you find yourself engaging in self-disclosure, you need to ask yourself, is this really for the client’s benefit or my own. If you find yourself frustrated or elated at a client’s failure or success, you need to ask yourself why you are having such a personalized response to the sessions, and reassess your perspective as being objective or impaired.

Final Considerations

With regards to simming, ethical conundrums and internal strife are excellent fodder for your character’s journeys. Nobody is perfect, and if you keep this in mind, you can provide many opportunities to create very dramatic sims for your character in which they struggle with and overcome such lapses in judgement or counter the attempts of characters to derail you into inappropriate avenues of the therapeutic relationship. Such measures can create tension, sexual or otherwise between characters, and from a dramatic standpoint make for excellent storylines.