Ethical Dilemma

Topics: Ethics, Morality, Business ethics Pages: 6 (2118 words) Published: November 9, 2008
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Ethical dilemmas are prevalent in all areas of life. In each helping profession, ethical guidelines and codes require that professionals act morally and in the best interest of the client. As a prospective counseling psychologist, I would need keen judgment to recognize and professional skills to handle an ethical dilemma. This paper details my personal experience of an ethical dilemma while working as a case manger. My objective is to identify the setting of the ethical dilemma, the ethical principles that apply to the dilemma, and how the dilemma was and should have been handled.

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Personal Report of an Ethical Dilemma

In the position of case manager, I faced ethical situations daily. In each situation, I believed I acted ethically and professionally. As a case manager, I have encountered many ethical situations; however, there is only one I would classify as an ethical dilemma. In this paper, my objective is to identify the setting of the ethical dilemma, the ethical principles that apply to the dilemma, and how the dilemma was and should have been handled.

Setting of the Ethical Dilemma

Throughout my experience as a case manager, I had a particular client in with whom I believe I crossed professional boundaries. This is the particular scenario that I believe presented an ethical dilemma. James, a 35-year old male mentally ill client, was introduced to me, his new case manger. When he was initially assigned to me, this particular client was very withdrawn. He lived with his diabetic mother, who is a potential client. During initial home visits, he shared with me that he has lost his grandmother with whom he was very close. Two weeks later, his mother passed away due to complications with diabetes. Depressed and withdrawn, he reported that he had dreams of his mother and grandmother. Sensing his need for individual counseling, I asked him if he felt he needed to talk to somebody. He quickly responded, “No, that it isn’t that bad”. During the initial home visits with this client, I was very comfortable. However as our rapport developed, he began to ask me inappropriate questions about my Ethical dilemma 4

private life (i.e. “Do you have a boyfriend”?). He continued to inquire about the details my private life during home visits. He also was asking other questions hinting around that he liked me and that he will like to have a relationship with me. He would give compliments about how attractive he thought I was and however I was involved with is lucky to have someone like me. At first I thanked him for the compliment, but I really did not think anything of the situation; until it became a habit. He made a habit of complimenting on me every time he saw me and in front of co-workers and other clients, then I thought this is serious and how was I going to confront him about this and tell him to stop because it is making me feel uncomfortable and it is not right. The culmination of this dilemma occurred when on one home visit he invited himself to a ride in my car. I agreed to drive him to his father’s job in exchange for gas money. I realized that I should not have done that, but it was the least I could do since there was not a bus route going that way and he did not have anyone else to give him a ride. Ethical Principles

In dealing with this ethical dilemma, I referred to my intuition and moral values to guide me to the appropriate professional action. I utilized the instructions listed in my company’s Policy and Procedure manual. I also presented ethical guidelines that I would be required to follow as a Counseling Psychologist in this same situation. My company did have a Policy and Procedure manual in which all employees must adhere. This manual stated that employees were not required to transport clients in personal vehicles unless in an emergency. I knew my actions went against my company’s policy when I let Ethical dilemma 5


References: Wefel, E.R (2002). Nonsexual dual relationships and boundary issues: Risking objectivity and client welfare. In Punington, L., Gesicki, S. & Broz, C. (Eds.), Ethics in counseling and psychotherapy: Standards, research and emerging issues (pp. 153-178).
Pacific Grove, CA: Brooks Cole.
American Counseling Association (ACA). (1999). Ethical standards for Internet on-line counseling. Alexandria, VA:
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