Book Review: Culturally Relevant Ethical Decision-Making in Counseling
Houser, R., Wilczenski, F.L., & Ham, M. (2006). Culturally Relevant Ethical Decision-Making in Counseling. London: Sage Publications Ltd. 334 pages. ISBN: 1-4129-0587-7.
Counsellors are active participants in the counselling process, and the intimate relational aspect of counselling such as ethical decision making requires that counsellors have an understanding of ethics that goes beyond a basic knowledge of counselling skills and ethical codes.
Expanding counsellors’ knowledge base to include philosophical and moral considerations has the potential to do much more than strengthen their capacity to make ethical decisions and conduct themselves as ethical professionals. Familiarity with such considerations may also serve as the unifying structure for exploring the essence of counselling, that is, what counselling is about and who a counsellor is as an individual and as a professional.
Culturally Relevant Ethical Decision-Making in Counseling presents a hermeneutic orientation and framework to address contextual issues in ethical decision-making in counselling and psychotherapy. Hermeneutics is the theory and practice of interpretation.
The word derives from the Greek god, Hermes, whose task was to communicate messages from the gods to the ordinary mortals. Authors suggest that the ethical decision-making includes a wider horizon than pure interpretation of existing ethical codes. Emphasizing that ethical decision making is an ongoing process with no easy answers, the book offers a paradigm for decision-making and provides readers with the knowledge and understanding they need to effectively think through issues.
Authors Rick Houser, Felicia Wilczenski and MarryAnna Ham incorporate broad perspectives of ethical theories from Western, Eastern, Middle Eastern and Southern hemisphere perspectives. Utilising numerous case studies, authors present a comprehensive exploration of counselling ethics in a cultural context. Examining the implications and consequences of competent multicultural counselling, they present ethical dilemmas arising in face-to-face counselling interactions and supervisory relationships.
This is an ideal textbook for students and educators in counselling and/or psychology programmes. The book is also an essential guide for social workers and health professionals who work in multicultural environments. Although the publication is created in a different cultural environment, many aspects have practical and universal application to every professional working in a multicultural context.