Wednesday, 2 September 2020

Ethical factors in career development

When we undertake career work, we need to carefully consider what interventions we might be planning on using from an ethical standpoint. Sometimes it can be hard to remind ourselves of exactly what the client needs, or to be honest about realistically just how competent we are in delivering an instrument. Cutting corners can be tempting. Not wise, but tempting.

However, a good reminder about just ethical factors we need to consider when suggesting assessments to our clients:
Competence. As a "practitioner you agree that you will act within your own 'boundaries of competence' ' (Osborn & Zunker, 2016, p. 45; CDANZ, 2016), and to "to become competent in an area or with an assessment, [we] must have training and supervised experience" (p.45). While this is difficult in a small nation like New Zealand, at the VERY minimum, we should follow the nine point approach to assessment that Osborn and Zunker propose in Chapter 1 (p. 3). The alternative is to recommend a licenced test provider.
Client Needs. "Any intervention that a practitioner selects should be based cm the client's characteristics, needs and the stated goals for counseling" (Osborn & Zunker, 2016, p. 45). We must carefully consider "a client's comfort/desire to engage in any intervention before recommending it" (p. 45). We must also consider the client's cultural and personal differences, and how that may affect test norms, including "understanding of age, gender, ability, race, ethnic group, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, linguistic background and other personal characteristics in order to provide appropriate assessment and diagnostic techniques" (p. 45). Further, we must consider what norms our chosen tests have which relate to our client: Osborn and Zunker mention the possibility of gender or 'heterosexist' biases potentially influencing or skewing results (p. 47).
Confidentiality. As practitioners we need to prove ourselves worthy of trust, and keep the client's results utterly confidential. We cannot, without the client's express permission, pass their test results onto another person. Where testing is being paid by one party for the benefit of another, it should be made clear that payment does not equal disclosure. The test results are the property of the person being tested. With minors, this becomes an more clouded matter of permission within the counselling arrangement, and should be discussed clearly before any testing takes place. 
Orientation. This is where, according to Osborn and Zunker, we "follow the [7 point] model described in Chapter 2" (2016, p. 48, 20) and "both know why a certain assessment is being suggested", and have confirmed this with the client before the test goes ahead. Ensure that the client knows that they cannot "take one test that will tell them what they should be", and "determine that the client is emotionally and mentally able to complete" the chosen test (p. 48). 
Technology. Tests, even though they are delivered almost entirely online, still need to "be used in a consultative manner between practitioner and client" (Osborn & Zunker 2016, p. 49), and be selected and thought through using the 7 point method (p. 20), then debriefed using the (a)-(i) nine step method (p. 22-23). Further, using one only test alone increases the possibility of error, skewed data, or a poor client-test fit to negatively affect the result. We must also ensure we don't put too much emphasis on results where we do not have independent third party evidence of test reliability and validity.
A good, simple reminder. Let's be ethical out there :-)


Sam

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