Ethics of Religion
In 1,250-1,500 words, describe the ethical implications of implementing religion or spirituality into therapy regarding the four areas of ethical consideration listed below. Explain how the Christian worldview can be used to help guide ethical decision making for each of these areas.
Imposing religious values in therapy
The Christian worldview GCU Statement on the Integration of Faith and Work document attached has been included as a possible reference.
Use a minimum of three peer-reviewed sources as well as the textbook and the APA Code of Ethics with APA formatted in-text citations and references. Refer to the informed consent document.
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Fisher, C. (2017). Decoding the ethics code: A practical guide for psychologists. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications. ISBN-13: 9781483369297
Ethical Implication of Implementing Religion into Therapy
Religion and therapy are different measures, and whereas therapy seeks to cure illness, religion and spirituality seek to heal. It is believed that incorporating religion and spirituality into therapy fastens the process of healing. Individuals attend therapy to receive healing, acceptance, understanding, and closure. The incorporation of religion and spirituality into therapy is, however, faced with various ethical implications. The discussion of the paper will include ethical implications of incorporating religion and spirituality in therapy and how the Christian worldview can be of importance in ethical decision-making in the four areas of ethical decision making. The areas include competence, informed consent, imposing religious values in therapy, and multiple relationships.
Competence is a major standard for ethical practice among therapists. Competence addresses issues such as training, respect for diversity, ethics, integrity, education, and the need to embrace equality. The ethical standard 2.01 Boundaries of competes promotes the practice of psychologists ensuring services offered are those obtained through studying, training, education, professional experience, and consultation (American Psychological Association, 2017). Religion and spirituality are part of a person’s culture that can draw or persuade one to seek therapy. However, it can be a disadvantage to the relationship between the therapist and the patient if the therapist brings personal feelings or biased opinions. The code of ethics provides a level of guidance as it prohibits any form of discrimination based on race, culture, ethnicity, age or race, or any other personal factor. A provision for a patient’s religious rights and a statement that prohibits religion derives prejudice is also provided (Henderson, 2018). The therapist, therefore, has to ensure that they adhere to legal and ethical obligations to prevent personal biases and feelings hinder them from offering effective and impartial treatment to the client. Legal and ethical obligations are enforced to provide an avenue for ensuring that the religious, spiritual, and cultural rights of the client are not being undermined. For the therapist to increase competence in the issues of diversity, they must identify their own beliefs as failure to do so may lead to the therapist imposing their own belief on the client consciously or unconsciously.
The Christian worldview can be used to guide ethical decision-making in this area as a therapist can show compassion and empathy for clients who hold different religious and spiritual values. Christian worldview of others, including the enemies, is to treat them with love. This includes those with different views and opinions. Although Christians have an obligation to share their beliefs with others, the choice to embrace the beliefs lies with the listener since there is the freedom to chose whether to believe or not as every choice has consequences. A therapist can therefore share their views but should respect the personal views of their clients. Perseverance to rejection is a strong concept in a Christian worldview; hence if the client does not embrace the religion and spirituality shared by the therapist, the therapist should honor their choice. A therapist can request approval to share their beliefs with the client and should withdraw at any request. Competences to be utilized from a Christian worldview include love, tolerance, honesty, empathy, and compassion.
Multiple relationships refer to entering into a secondary relationship in addition to the primary relationship, which the relationship between the client and the therapist. Multiple relationships may be financial, social, or sexual in nature. According to the APA code of ethics, multiple relationships should be avoided, especially those that hold significant potential for harm to and exploitation of clients and those that can result in impaired judgment and objectivity (American Psychological Association, 2017). In most cases, avoidance of multiple relationships may be unavoidable due to aspects such as working and living in a rural setting or in a small and isolated community where the therapist is well known and plays various roles. Making referrals to other clinicians in such settings may be limited, creating a significant impact on ethical implications for therapists in their service delivery to clients with whom they had a pre-existing relationship.
According to Fisher (2017), psychologists must prevent from entering into multiple relationships with the potential to impair the client, affects the competence of the psychologists, and lead to harm. The Christian worldview can be used for ethical decision-making through the scripture from Romans 15:1-2 that guides Christians to bear the fallings for the weak since they are strong but not for their advantage but to others (BibleGateway, n.d.). A psychologist should therefore choose to engage in relationships that benefit the client and protects the client from harm. A psychologist has a human duty by God to carry out work that is of importance to God and our neighbors.
Imposing Religious Values
Imposing one’s religious and spiritual values into therapy violates the autonomy of the client and exploits their vulnerabilities. Psychologists should have respect for the rights and dignity of their clients (Fisher, 2017). Clients struggling with difficult issues such as divorce, abortion, and death and conflicts with religious beliefs may look up to the therapist for guidance. The therapist should not use their own religious values to offer guidance to the client or provide an explanation for the mental health needs of the patient. Psychologists should differentiate between positive and negative impacts of the client’s values on their mental health.
The Christian worldview can be used for ethical decision-making regarding the imposition of religious values. Christian follows the example of Christ, who stated that He does not judge anyone who hears the word and does not believe since He was sent to save. The Christian worldview is not to impose religion and spirituality since humans have no right to judge others. Humans were created with the intention of doing good, which translates to loving others and accepting their differences. Christians believe in the common grace of God granted to both believers and non-believers; hence one is free to embrace other views (Grand Canyon University, 2020). Ethical standards on boundaries of competence and bases of professional and scientific judgment provide guidelines to psychologists from implementing any religious values and practices that may have detrimental effects on the beliefs of the client (American Psychological Association. 2017).