Understand safe & ethical practice and why it is needed. Explore features of safe practice
Safe and ethical practice is concerned with helpers working in a way that protects both themselves and the helpee. By observing central elements including; working within an ethical framework, recognising the limits of ability, signposting the helpee to other agencies for further help and observing boundaries you are working safely and ethically as a helper.
Different areas of work abide by different frameworks particular to their profession or employment. For example Doctors need to be trustworthy, reliable, approachable yet professional and always promote the health of a patient.
An overarching principal of medical practice is ‘do no harm’. It would be dangerous for someone to claim they were a Doctor when they ...view middle of the document...
Similarly when using counselling skills, helpers need to operate within the BACAP Framework. Working within a recognised framework is a key feature of practicing safely. It offers professionalism and reassurance to the helpee. A framework such as the BACAP’s, outlines what personal and moral qualities a counsellor should possess such as empathy, sincerity, integrity and resilience to name a few. It offers ethical principles for counselling such as being trustworthy, autonomy and non-maleficence. This offers helpees an idea of what to expect from good counselling practice. It also gives guidance on what should be done if something goes wrong with clients; again this protects both the helper and the helpee.
Recognising and working within your limits of ability is a vital aspect of working safely and ethically it is wrong and dangerous to claim you are a qualified counsellor when you aren’t. It is damaging to the helpee. Working as a helper means using counselling and listening skills, which is very different to a counsellor who enters a therapeutic relationship governed by a formal contract, working within a coherent framework of knowledge and skills which informs the way they work.
Boundaries are another feature of safe and ethical practice and are used by helpers and qualified counsellors. Boundaries such as meeting times, length and venue of sessions and confidentiality (except in the case of possible safeguarding issues) all help to establish a helping or counselling relationship. They protect the helper and the helpee and characterise a relationship which is separate to a friendship or other relationship, and which keeps helping the helpee or client the sole focus of meeting and working together.
Finally safe and ethical practice involves signposting and referring helpees or clients on to specialist agencies who can provide particular assistance or support to the helpee beyond that of the helper or counsellor.