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Replies: Read over your classmates comments and your instructor’s questions. Reply 2 times, once to 1 of your classmate’s comments and once to a question posed by your instructor.
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One area of the South Carolina (SC) regulations that I found interesting was the section outlining the scope of what a particular therapist could treat. Section 40-75-20 of the Code of Laws defines client assessment. I was surprised at how loose the regulations were in terms of client referrals. The law essentially leaves it up to the counselor’s discretion as to when/if a referral to a specialist is warranted. At first glance, it seemed strange to me that in the eyes of the law, a newly licensed counselor technically could treat a client with a severe mental problem. This rule puts a lot of pressure on the individual counselor to know their own competencies well. I do not know that there is way around this problem, as any further regulations on counselors would be very cumbersome. As future counselors, we should pray for humility (Rom. 12:3), that we would see our own limitations in training, experience, and gifting clearly, and be willing to refer a client out if it is in their best interest.
Section 40-75-290 of the Code of Laws lists out some people and groups that would not come under the jurisdiction of these laws and regulations. One of those groups is religious clergy. Becoming a licensed therapist in SC requires, amongst other things, a masters and two years of supervision totaling 1500 hours. Clearly much thought has been put into setting these standards as a minimum requirement for future providers. No such standard exists broadly for clergy. Some denominations require stringent schooling and supervision, while other denominations and endorsing bodies have very few requirements at all. It is natural for people to think of their minister (or priest, rabbi, etc.) as their spiritual advisor and to approach them with spiritual and emotional problems. It is a bit disturbing to think about the potential for misguided advice to be given out by religious authorities who may have little to no formal training. The solution to this problem is not obvious, as any real intervention into religious practice by the state would be a problem constitutionally.
I also looked at the Code of Ethics for SC. While I found the document as a whole to be rather impersonal, there was one section that stood out to me. In section 36-19 guidance is given for how a counselor should structure their fees. The document makes it a point to encourage the counselor to assess a client’s financial well being, and to factor that into deciding what to charge. It is interesting that this principle is stated in the Code of Ethics, as I would think it fits more into Remley and Herlihy’s definition of a best practice (Remley and Herlihy, 2016, pp. 4). To me this placement speaks volumes as to how much SC values its residents. I would love to strive to never knowingly send a client away for financial reasons.
Reply:(Compare and contrast South Carolina and Virginia state regulations and code of ethics must be a minimum of 250 words)
A statute that I found most interesting is from 681.131 Complaint Procedures, (a, b). A complaint filed by a client must be filed with the board and should be within a five-year period of the alleged violation. This time limitation begins only when the client turns 18 years of age. However, time limitation does not apply to violations of sexual misconduct or sexual activity. Knowing that a person can file a sexual complaint at any time should help a person feel safe.
Finally, statute 681.44 Drug and Alcohol Use states that a licensee shall never use any substance or illegal drug that affects the licensee’s ability to provide counseling. Any professional should naturally know not to engage in these activities, however, this is a great reminder for those who drink occasionally of the consequences they can face.
Sanders tells us that Christian therapists and secular therapists can learn a great deal from one another. We that are called to help and encourage have been equipped to do so, and that includes secular professionals. We must remember that God can use anyone as he sees fit. As a Christian, I can see that most of the Texas statutes support my Christian beliefs, and while my behavior will be limited, I can be sure the to get positive therapeutic results if I follow my state’s Code of Ethics (Sanders, 2013, p. 38).
Reply: :(Compare and contrast Texas and Virginia state regulations and code of ethics must be a minimum of 250 words)