Counselling women: Ethics for diversity and social justice

Jean Pettifor, Judith Malone

Research output: Book chapter/Published conference paperChapter


Why do we need special guidelines for psychologists and counsellors working with women? In this 21st century professionals are increasingly aware of population diversity, the importance of human rights, and the need to pursue equality and social justice. Progress has been made for achieving equality of opportunity in Western societies and professional codes of ethics are based on values of respect for all people which is the antithesis of bias, discrimination, and oppression. A reality check, however, may indicate that these values are not always demonstrated in practice. In this chapter we explore how therapists and counsellors who are not sufficiently knowledgeable of the conditions of women's lives are not competent to provide appropriate services. Counselling is especially harmful if counsellors are culture-blind to both individual and societal issues. Professionals benefit from guidelines that address issues that are specific to women's experiences. Here we explore the history of ethical guidelines for psychological services with women in North America with special attention to the Canadian context and the Guidelines for Ethical Psychological Practice with Women (Pettifor, Malone, and Church, 2007) available in the Appendix of this book. We will also present steps for ethical decision making as adapted from the Canadian Code of Ethics for Psychologists (CPA, 2000). Several vignettes will represent conflict of interest between involved parties, and the reader is asked to consider solutions that are non-sexist, empowering, and that recognize the context of women's lives. Vignettes will also include situations involving immigrant women and their values from their cultures of origin. The authors will review one vignette in detail.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationFeminist Counselling
Subtitle of host publicationTheory, Issues, and Practice
EditorsLynda R Ross
Place of PublicationVancouver
PublisherWomen's Press/Canadian Scholars Pr
Number of pages23
ISBN (Print)9780889614710
Publication statusPublished - 2010


Dive into the research topics of 'Counselling women: Ethics for diversity and social justice'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this