Holly Forester-Miller, Ph.D. Thomas Davis, Ph.D. Copyright © 1996, American Counseling Association. A free publication of the American Counseling Association promoting ethical counseling practice in service to the public. -- Printed and bound copies may be purchased in quantity for a nominal fee from the Online Resource Catalog or by calling the ACA Distribution Center at 800.422.2648. ACA grants reproduction rights to libraries, researchers and teachers who wish to copy all or part of the contents of this document for scholarly purposes provided that no fee for the use or possession of such copies is charged to the ultimate consumer of the copies. Proper citation to ACA must be given. Introduction Counselors are often faced with situations which require sound ethical decision making ability. Determining the appropriate course to take when faced with a difficult ethical dilemma can be a challenge. To assist ACA members in meeting this challenge, the ACA Ethics Committee has developed A Practitioner 's Guide to Ethical Decision Making. The intent of this document is to offer professional counselors a framework for sound ethical decision making. The following will address both guiding principles that are globally valuable in ethical decision making, and a model that professionals can utilize as they address ethical questions in their work. Moral Principles Kitchener (1984) has identified five moral principles that are viewed as the cornerstone of our ethical guidelines. Ethical guidelines can not address all situations that a counselor is forced to confront. Reviewing these ethical principles which are at the foundation of the guidelines often helps to clarify the issues involved in a given situation. The five principles, autonomy, justice, beneficence, nonmaleficence, and fidelity are each absolute truths in and of themselves. By exploring the dilemma in regards to these principles one may come to a better
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