2021-2022 Pierce College Catalog 
    
    Jul 23, 2024  
2021-2022 Pierce College Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

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SSMH 215 Law and Ethics in Social Services (5 credits)



Course Description
This course explores the legal and ethical issues in social services and includes: counselor regulation, confidentiality, client rights, involuntary commitment, rights and responsibilities of mental health professionals, mandatory reporting, child welfare, case law, and standards of conduct.

Student Outcomes
1. Define and distinguish between “law” and “ethics”.
2. Explain Kohlberg’s model of moral development.
3. Discuss extent to which Kohlberg’s model applies to culture other than those with western European roots.
4. Define RCW’s and WAC’s and discuss the differences between the them.
5. Define and distinguish between licensing, certification, and registration as established by the RCW’s.
6. Summarize the requirements for certified advisors, registered counselors in Washington, and Licensed Mental Health Counselors.
7. Know the contents of the Uniform Disciplinary Act (RCW 18.130) with respect to the behavior of healthcare professionals.
8. Outline the procedures for disciplining healthcare professionals who are charged with violating requirements of the Uniform Disciplinary Act.
9. Explain the basic standards relating to disclosures which must be made to clients, extent and limits of confidentiality in the care giving relationship, the mandatory reporting of abuse, both within the context of the relevant state law/regulation, and from the perspective of various groups within the human service community.
10. Describe ways in which the personal characteristics and experience of the caregiver can enhance or detract from the care giving processing.
11. Explicate the fundamental principles associated with the concepts of “transference” and “counter-transference”.
12. Discuss the issue of professional counseling for those preparing for or who practice in human services.
13. Summarize and reflect upon common concerns of being caregivers.
14. Identify major stressors they might encounter in the fields of social service and mental health, define “burn out”, and discuss various ways the student might handle these problems in their own practice.
15. Discuss and synthesize the concepts of client autonomy, nonmaleficence, beneficence, justice, fidelity, and veracity, and discuss their significance for the professional in practice.
16. Reflect upon potential conflicts that might arise between the student’s personal value systems and those held in common within the field of human services, especially when working with client’s whose values or behavior might be at odds with what the care giver believes is good.
17. Reflect upon one’s own attitudes about ethnicity, ability/disability (especially those with mental disabilities), gender, and sexual orientation and discuss how these attitudes might influence one’s effectiveness in the field of human services.
18. Compare and contrast values/beliefs associated between at least two cultural influences, e.g. eastern and western, and discuss the potential significance of such differences when attempting to work with a diverse client base.
19. Summarize some of the historical lessons based on past failures of those in the mental health field attempting to balance patient rights with the perceived need of society to manage the behavior of mentally ill people.
20. Summarize and reflect case law decisions related to a variety of mental health treatment issues, such as due process in the involuntary commitment process, patient rights, right to real treatment when confined, standards of care, and the duty to warn.
21. Reflect upon one’s own motivation for entering into the helping professions and discuss these in relation to how these might enhance or detract from the care giving process.
22. Explore and reflect upon one’s own values and discuss both how these might enhance one’s work with client’s as well as how they might negatively impact the helping process.
23. Explore and reflect upon one’s own attitudes about people from diverse populations (e.g. members of racial and/or ethnic groups, those who have physical and/or mental challenges, and members of sexual minority groups) and discuss how one might approach human service work so as to be both ethically responsible and professionally competent when working with a diverse range of clients.
24. Locate the relevant RCW’s or WAC’s dealing with specific counselor-related issues and discuss the relevance of these codes to professional practice.
25. Articulate a basic self-care plan, as measured by submission of a short outline, paper, or extensive reflective journal entry.
26. Articulate a plan for working with clients that both acknowledges one’s personal and cultural biases and address ways in which the student can improve one’s working relationships with clients.



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