The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

Counselor defines ethics, moral principles

by Brendon James/reporter

Ethics is the way people live and the choices they make, a counselor told a NE audience March 6.

Zanda Hilger said to more than 65 licensed professional counselors, marriage and family therapists and students that ethics is a set of principles of right conduct and a theory or system of moral values. It is not the same as feelings, she said. It is not religion, or following the law or culturally accepted norms, or societal standards of behavior.

Hilger presented five key moral principles.

Autonomy is respecting the choices that people make and recognizing they are capable of rational decisions. It is not paternalism, which is interference with a person’s freedom of action for his or her own good.

Beneficence is the obligation to do good and proactively try to contribute to the welfare of the client.

Nonmaleficence is the obligation to do no harm and not to engage in actions that risk harming others.

Justice is the obligation to allocate resources according to a just standard. Hilger said it does not mean treating all individuals the same but requires considering relevant differences to provide a rationale for different treatment.

Fidelity is loyalty or faithfulness and refers to honoring commitments and developing trust in a relationship.

Sherri Mata, a NE psychology instructor, said ethics has several mental health and business codes.

“This event was to remind the licensed counselors of the ethical responsibilities when working with clients,” she said.

Mata defined mental health when discussing ethics.

“Anxiety, schizophrenia, stress, depression, bipolar disorders — these are all chemical imbalances that can affect the choices individuals make when experiencing these types of mental health disorders,” she said.

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