This is because disclosure of client information in the event of such an order requires that the outcomes of the treatment to be made available to the court (AMCHA, 2010). The courts and the legal system therefore have an overriding authority to overrule the established code of practice for mental health professionals through legal and judicial exceptions (APA, Committee on Legal Issues, 2006).Courts may sometimes order mental health counselors to render services to minors or clients who lack the capacity to consent. Regardless of their legal position of incompetence, their parents or legal guardians may be privy to their information and even include them in the process of counseling as circumstances permit (AMHCA, 2010). For the counselor to disclose that information to any third party, they must seek permission of the guardians or parents. Collaborations between parents and legal guardians should be used to serve the client’s best interests (CRCC, 2010).The mental health counselors as a general matter of practice are required to foster an environment where their clients make informed choices. In this regard, they must respect their client’s entitlement to know and understand what is expected of them, how the information disclosed will be utilized and the liberty to choose whom and whether to enter into a counseling relationship (AMCHA, 2010). The stresses on the need to establish and maintain appropriate role boundaries. In its guidelines for Court involved therapy, therapists are urged to resist any compulsion from anyone to provide exceeding their recognized ethical standards (AFCC, 2010). However, in the endeavor to respect the requirements of the legal system by the mental health counselors, clients have a very limited informed choice range as to the choice of therapists. They also have a restricted choice as to whether to choose or reject a form of treatment, which disregards their autonomy (AFCC, 2010).Generally, in terms of practice, mental health counselors are required to act in the best interest of the client. They must only render services that they are competent enough to render with due regard to their training, supervised experience and professional expertise (AMHCA, 2010). It is imperative that mental health professionals avoid potentially harmful relationships with their
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AMHCA. (2010). Principles for AMHCA Code of Ethics. Retrieved from https://www.amhca.org/assets/news/AMHCA_Code_of_Ethics_2010_w_pagination_cxd_51110.pdf
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CRCC. (2010). Code of Professional Ethics for Rehabilitation Counselors. Chicago IL: Commission on Rehabilitation Counselor Certification.
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