) may typically be used in the conduction of the activity; and 3) Activities can be standardized and adapted with a minimum of alteration for use across groups and members so that a common framework can be replicated. (Trotzer, 2004)
The main feature of activities are:
1) Technical; and 2) Mechanical and have "...parameters and directions that make them merely tools." (Trotzer, 2004)
Categorization of the activities of a group are on the basis of:
1) focus; and 2) types of communication involved and may be intrapersonal or interpersonal with communication that is verbal or nonverbal in nature. Intrapersonal activities are for the purpose of enhancing communications between individuals in the group and are 'nonverbal' activities. All activities of the group are within one of the following categories:
Verbal Interpersonal Activities;
Non-Verbal Intrapersonal Activities; and Non-Verbal Interpersonal Activities. (Trotzer, 2004)
Some activities may be characterized by nonverbal and verbal activities with the example given being: "...where a member first does a self-assessment task, nonverbally, alone and then verbally discloses what was experienced or learned." (Trotzer, 2004)
The work of DeLucia-Waack and Fauth (2004) entitled: "Effective Supervision of Group Leaders: Current Theory, Research, and Implications for Practice" states that "the essence of supervision for group leaders is to help them remove the 'logs' (e.g. anxiety, insufficient skills, limited awareness of self or group process) from their own eyes so that they might intervene more effectively (i.e. help group members to take the specks out of their eyes as well)." This framework is based upon Luke 6:41-44 in the New Testament of the Bible. It is related that the Association for Specialists in Group Work's (ASGW) Professional Standards for the Training of Group Workers (2000) "specifies a minimum level of 1 hours a week of planning time for group leaders" whether this is on an individual basis or with a co-leader. Research in this area stresses the importance of supervision of group leaders because "without supervision, group therapists were not able to identify mistakes and generate new plans of action; instead they became stuck in a cycle of repeated ineffective interventions." (DeLucia-Waack and Fauth, 2004) the work of Rapin (2004) entitled: Guidelines for Ethical Practice and Legal Practice in Counseling and Psychotherapy Groups" states the fact that "ethical dilemmas and choice points occur in every phase of group counseling, and psychotherapy planning, performing, and processing. Group facilitators need to navigate an ethical course while providing for the therapeutic needs of group members." This is specifically true for Christian Counselors, which is dealt with in the following section of this work.
II. AACC CODE of ETHICS
The American Association of Christian Counselors AACC Code of Ethics is designed "to assist AACC members to better serve their clients and congregants and to improve the work of Christian Counseling worldwide. This code is stated to be a "...comprehensive, detailed and integrative synthesis of biblical, clinical, systemic, ethical and legal information." (AACC Code of Ethics, 2004) Stated as the reason it is created in this manner is because "vaguely worded, content limited and overly generalized codes are insufficient for the complexities of the modern, 21st century counseling environment. A more comprehensive and behavior-specific ethical code is needed for Christian counselors because of: (1) the mounting evidence of questionable and incompetent practices among Christian counselors, including increasing complaints of client-parishioner harm; (2) the largely unprotected legal status of Christian counseling, including the increasing state scrutiny, excessive litigation, and unrelenting legalization of professional ethics; and more positively; (3) the vitality and growing maturing of Christian counseling -including its many theories and controversies - indicating the need for an overarching ethical-legal template to guide the development of biblical and empirically sound Christian counseling models." (AACC Code of Ethics, 2004) This Code have four influences:
1) the Bible (Old and New Testament);
2) Accepted standards of counseling and clinical practice from Christian counseling and the established mental health disciplines;
3) Code of ethics from other Christian and mental health professions; and 4) Current and developing standards from mental health and ministry-related law." (AACC Code of Ethics, 2004)
The following are the 'Biblical-Ethical Foundations of the AACC Ethics Code:
First Foundation: Jesus Christ -- and His revelation in the Old and New Testaments of the Bible -- is the pre-eminent model for Christian counseling practice, ethics, and caregiving activities.
Second Foundation: Christian counseling maintains a committed, intimate, and dedicated relationship with the world-wide church, and individual counselors with a local body of believers.
Third Foundation: Christian counseling, at its best, is a Spirit-led process of change and growth,...
(AACC Code of Ethics, 2004)
Section I-540 deals with "Working With Couples Families and Groups" and states that: "Christian counselors often work with multiple persons in session -- marriage couples, families or parts of families, and small groups -- and should know when these forms of counseling are preferred over or used as an adjunct to individual counseling. In these relationships we will identify a primary client -- the group as a unit or the individual members -- and will discuss with our client(s) how our differing roles, counseling goals, and confidentiality and consent issues are affected by these dynamics." (AACC Code of Ethics, 2004)
Section I-541 relates to: "Safety and Integrity in Family and Group Counseling" and states that: "Christian counselors will maintain their role as fair, unbiased, and effective helpers in all marital, family, and group work. We will remain accessible to all persons, avoiding enmeshed alliances and taking sides unjustly. As group or family counseling leaders, Christian counselors respect the boundary between constructive confrontation and verbal abuse, and will take reasonable precautions to protect client members from any physical, psychological, or verbal abuse from other members of a family or group." (AACC Code of Ethics, 2004)
Section I-542 relates to "Confidentiality in Family and Group Counseling" and states that: "Christian counselors do not promise or guarantee confidentiality in family and group counseling, but rather explain the problems and limits of keeping confidences in these modes of therapy. We communicate the importance of confidentiality and encourage family or group members to honor it, including discussion of consequences for its breach. Christian counselors do not share confidences by one family or group member to others without permission or prior agreement, unless maintaining the secret will likely lead to grave and serious harm to a family member or someone else." (AACC Code of Ethics, 2004)
Section I-543 deals with "Avoiding and Resolving Role Conflicts" stating that: "If and when Christian counselors are asked to perform conflicting roles with possible unethical consequences (i.e.: pressure to keep "secrets" or called to testify as an adverse witness in a client's divorce), we will clarify our therapeutic, neutral, and meditative role and/or decline to serve in a conflicted capacity, if possible. Some counselors will contract for professional neutrality at the beginning of professional relations, securing client agreement not to have oneself or one's records subpoenaed or deposed in any legal proceeding." (AACC Code of Ethics, 2004)
Specific ethical standards are set out for Christian Counselors and the first of which is "Do No Harm." (AACC Code of Ethics, 2004) it is critically important that the Christian counselor affirm the "God-given dignity" of all individuals, which includes the unborn, the living, and the dying. The AACC code of ethics relates that all individuals are the creation of God and are "in fact, the crown of His creation - and are therefore due the rights and respect and ordered logic that this fact of creation entails." (AACC Code of Ethics, 2004) What this really boils down to is that regardless of the harmful attitudes of actions of the individual in counseling care, the counselor is required and charged with the duty of responding to the individual in a manner of "loving care." (AACC Code of Ethics, 2004) This might be particularly complex and difficult in some cases where a man has beaten his wife and children in a drunken rage or where a member of the congregation has sexually assaulted someone perhaps even his own children. However, the counselor is required and bound by the code…
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