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Author Topic: Bitcoin Counseling? Is This Highly Unethical? [CLOSED]  (Read 1408 times)
the joint
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December 15, 2011, 07:16:07 PM
 #1

Looking for a little feedback here.

I'm a 2nd year social-work graduate student at one of the finest social work institutions in the country.  While I am about a half-semester from obtaining my MSW and an additional 2000 practice hours away from obtaining my LCSW license, there is a wealth of peer-reviewed literature that suggests counselors with only paraprofessional experience (e.g. an undergraduate or graduate student, for example) are as capable, and in some cases more effective, than far more experienced counselors.  This is typically explained by the  "burnout" counselors generally experience with age; younger counselors tend to be more empathetic and motivated in their work with individual clients.

Now, obviously, it would be illegal and unethical for a social work student to solicit counseling services.   Now, enter Bitcoin.  With the controversy over whether Bitcoin is a currency or not looming in the air, would it be illegal to offer counseling services to people in Bitcoins?  Would you consider this unethical?

Now, consider this scenario.  Let's say you are a person that meets the criteria for a DSM-IV diagnosis.  Would you consider receiving counseling services from me, a 2nd year graduate student?  And, would you be willing to pay in BTC?

Last year, I had 450 hours of counseling experience working within a disadvantaged school district providing counseling services to middle and high school students, the vast majority of whom were minority clients.  I have also had (to date) about 300 hours of counseling experience this year working in an adult psychiatric unit in a hospital.  My duties include intake assessments, discharges, providing individual and group counseling, and connecting clients with outside social service agencies.  Prior to both of these experiences I worked as an intern in my county's adolescent probation department conducting interviews with juvenile delinquents and their families.

Thoughtfulness in your response is appreciated Smiley

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the joint
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December 15, 2011, 07:27:32 PM
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Consider the following: If you offer to give counseling advice in exchange for a nice steak dinner, is that unethical?

I would say no matter how you are taking payments you are breaking the regulations that say "In this area, only people with the correct liscence may give counseling advice in return for payment." It does not matter if the payment is in dollars, bitcoins, food, weed, or whatever.

Now, if you are trying to get around the regulations and provide this service to people who understand that you are not properly liscensed and they are okay with that, then I guess using bitcoins could make it harder for the authorities to come down on you.

Actually, the steak dinner scenario would involve an additional ethical dilemma as outlined by the NASW code of ethics.  The NASW code of ethics prohibits the development of what they call "dual relationships."  So, for example, it's advised that a counselor not also be a friend.  Because of this, it is recommended that counselors don't accept gifts from their clients, even if they are already accepting payment for services.  So, what marks the distinction between a gift and payment?  Is Bitcoin either?  Or is it more of a gray area that falls somewhere between the two?

Edit:  I guess what I'm also getting at is that I think it would be unethical for even a licensed counselor to accept a steak dinner as payment. 

the joint
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December 15, 2011, 07:47:50 PM
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Actually, the steak dinner scenario would involve an additional ethical dilemma as outlined by the NASW code of ethics.  The NASW code of ethics prohibits the development of what they call "dual relationships."  So, for example, it's advised that a counselor not also be a friend.  Because of this, it is recommended that counselors don't accept gifts from their clients, even if they are already accepting payment for services.  So, what marks the distinction between a gift and payment?  Is Bitcoin either?  Or is it more of a gray area that falls somewhere between the two?

Edit:  I guess what I'm also getting at is that I think it would be unethical for even a licensed counselor to accept a steak dinner as payment.  

I see your point. From an ethical perspective, I would consider payment in bitcoin to be exactly the same as payment in dollars or euros.

Well, see, I understand that viewpoint too, but I'm not sure it's  "exactly the same."

Surely, legal considerations factor into whether or not it is ethical.  I mean, is driving over the speed limit unethical because it's simply unethical, or because it's illegal to do so as it violates the laws  of society?

Similarly, keeping all else equal, would offering counseling services for Bitcoin be less unethical if Bitcoin is not legally defined as a currency since it may not violate the laws of society?

koin
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December 16, 2011, 01:45:05 AM
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Would you consider receiving counseling services from me, a 2nd year graduate student?

get in line: http://forbitcoin.com/Other/473/give-psychotherapy-on-Skype

https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=4481.0

set your price right, you'll get lots of business here.  most of us need a shrink.
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December 16, 2011, 01:58:54 AM
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This explains a lot.  Wink

Any significantly advanced cryptocurrency is indistinguishable from Ponzi Tulips.
the joint
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December 16, 2011, 02:04:34 AM
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Hm... I see...

Would anyone be interested in pursuing this?  If so, please send me a pm.  Perhaps we can work out an agreement Smiley   I will not work out arrangements on this thread due to confidentiality issues.  I insist all communication and interest be expressed privately.

By the way, I take counseling extremely seriously.  I have not gotten paid a dime for any of the 3 internships I have accepted (including my current one at the hospital), but I often stay late anyway because under-staffing issues usually mean that clients do not receive as much individual attention as they deserve.

Edit:  On a side note, social workers are generally considered to be more "well-rounded" counselors because they are trained to deal with clients not only at the individual level, but at the community and Federal levels as well.  This generally means being aware of how social policies/laws affect clients and connecting clients with resources in the community.

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December 16, 2011, 02:41:50 AM
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During the writters strike, Lisa Kudrow did a Hulu series called Web Theryopy that was basically online counseling via skype. This was a point of comedy in the show that it was all over the internet, but I actually thought it was a good idea.

the joint
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December 16, 2011, 02:53:02 AM
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During the writters strike, Lisa Kudrow did a Hulu series called Web Theryopy that was basically online counseling via skype. This was a point of comedy in the show that it was all over the internet, but I actually thought it was a good idea.

Haha, I do have a webcam.  Can't say I spend a lot of time in front of web cam, though Smiley

shakaru
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December 16, 2011, 03:06:42 AM
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I got a wallmount system with several webcams. Like the freaking enterprise. Compleate with interface and touchscreen. And if you say Red Alert to loud, the place goes nuts.

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December 16, 2011, 03:14:47 AM
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I would say it depends on if you are able to count your hours or not.  Presumably they have to be verified.

Also, without expressing an opinion on your abilities, you could let people pay on the basis of if you are any good or not.  If it's in BTC, yen, USD or peso, you can convert those into a steak dinner if you needed.
the joint
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December 16, 2011, 03:19:42 AM
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I would say it depends on if you are able to count your hours or not.  Presumably they have to be verified.

Also, without expressing an opinion on your abilities, you could let people pay on the basis of if you are any good or not.  If it's in BTC, yen, USD or peso, you can convert those into a steak dinner if you needed.

I have no problem with not being paid if they don't think they got anything out of it.

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December 16, 2011, 03:41:37 AM
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I would say it depends on if you are able to count your hours or not.  Presumably they have to be verified.

Also, without expressing an opinion on your abilities, you could let people pay on the basis of if you are any good or not.  If it's in BTC, yen, USD or peso, you can convert those into a steak dinner if you needed.

I have no problem with not being paid if they don't think they got anything out of it.


That's a good attitude.  Hope it goes well for you then.
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