Radical Alignment: A Psychospiritual Approach to Conflicting Values
Standard A.4.b. of the 2014 ACA Code of Ethics notes that “counselors are aware of — and avoid imposing — their own values, attitudes, beliefs and behaviors” in an ethical practice. Counselor educators and students often need a practical approach for accomplishing this goal when it comes to conflicting religious or spiritual perspectives in the counselor-client relationship. Through a process of radical alignment, this ethical mandate can be accomplished.
Despite recent legislative trends, most notably in Tennessee, the prohibition of referral due to counselor-client value conflict may present a problem for practitioners who need additional help in adopting a genuine empathetic orientation.
One way to approach this potential dilemma is to adopt a psychospiritual approach that is oriented toward the identification of “common ground” or universal themes that are likely to exist in any counselor-client relationship. This kind of self-awareness and exploration is found in pastoral counseling programs that have a vested interest in integrating a religious or spiritual view in counselor training versus secular versions that tend to view this aspect of the client simply as a component of client diversity. The problem with the latter view is that it discounts intellectual and emotional aspects of religious or spiritual beliefs that inform the counselor from a holistic level.
McGinnis, Carol Z.A., "Radical Alignment: A Psychospiritual Approach to Conflicting Values" (2016). Counseling Educator Scholarship. 3.
McGinnis, C.Z.A. (2016) Radical alignment. Counseling Today: A Publication of the American Counseling Association (CT online).