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Assignment 1: Discussion—Providing Faith-based Services

Faith-based services are those that incorporate elements of spirituality. In the field of counseling, those who provide faith-based services have traditionally been referred to as “pastoral counselors.”

For clients with strong religious convictions or the desire to explore their own spirituality further, particularly as it relates to a mental health issue, faith-based services may be the best choice. If a provider has strong religious convictions, it is important that the provider abide by the ethical guidelines of the profession. This is particularly relevant when the provider’s own convictions are in opposition to the client’s values, beliefs, behaviors, or issues.

In 2012, the State of Michigan passed the “Julea Ward Freedom of Conscience” bill into law. Julea Ward is a former counseling student who was dismissed from her program after refusing (for religious reasons) to provide psychotherapy to a homosexual client in the counseling program’s training clinic. She chose to refer the client to another counselor-in-training. To read the law, visit this site:

  • State of Michigan. (2012, June 12). Julea Ward freedom of conscience act. Ann Arbor, MI: Author. Retrieved from http://www.legislature.mi.gov/documents/2011-2012/billengrossed/House/htm/2011-HEBH-5040.htm

After reading about faith-based services in your textbook, lecture notes, and the above article answer the following questions in a minimum of 200 words:

  • Do you agree with the legislators, or do you think all counseling students should learn to accept any cases? Provide reasons and cite sources to support your position.
  • Choose the below code of ethics that is most closely aligned with your future career path and read through their code to see what they say in relation to this issue. In your post make sure to clearly state which code you chose to review.
  • What does your chosen code state regarding a counselor’s right to refuse treatment to a client for religious reasons?  What are the ethical guidelines regarding whom may be referred or why a counselor can ethically refer a client to another counselor?
    • American Counseling Association. (2014). ACA code of ethics. InEthics. Retrieved fromhttp://www.counseling.org/Resources/aca-code-of-ethics.pdf
    • American Psychological Association. (2010). Ethical principles of psychologists and code of conduct: 2010 amendments. Retrieved from http://www.apa.org/ethics/code/index.aspx
    • American Association of Pastoral Counselors (AAPC). (2010). AAPC Code of Ethics. Retrieved from http://www.aapc.org/policies/code-of-ethics.aspx
    • American Association of Christian Counselors (AACC). (2014). AACC code of ethics. Retrieved from http://www.aacc.net/about-us/code-of-ethics

By Saturday,, post your response to the Discussion Area below.  Each response post should be a minimum of 100 words.

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