Ethical Decision-Making Paper
Sara A. Roper
Those who are counselors have to make ethical decisions all the time. At times, those decisions can be difficult and other times they can be an easy, everyday decision. When an ethical decision is difficult, the American Counseling Association (ACA) is there to guide a counselor in making the best ethical decision. The ACA Ethics Committee has developed a guide, A Practitioner’s Guide to Ethical Decision making, that is there to assist counselors in making sound ethical decisions. This model is a seven-step model that addresses all the areas in solving an ethical issue. These seven steps include; (1) identifying the problem, (2) applying the ACA Code of Ethics, (3) determining the nature and dimensions of the dilemma, (4) generating potential courses of action, (5) considering the potential consequences off all options, choosing a course of action, (6) evaluating the selected course of action, and (7) implementing the course of action. All of these steps with be addressed in an ethical problem that is presented at the beginning. Identify the Problem
Jane who is a licensed professional counselor has started to feel the stressors of working as a counselor. She knows that if she does not take a vacation soon that she may become burned out of her job. Knowing that, she decides that she must take a vacation immediately. Jane cancels all her appointments for the following week and communicates these cancellations with some of her clients. Jane fails to do a couple of things before she heads out on vacation. Firstly, she does not let all of her clients know that she will be out of the office. Next, she does not worry about getting anyone else to cover her clients while she is gone, and then does not give clients adequate notice that she is leaving on vacation.
This has caused ethical, legal, and professional problems for Jane. As a counselor, Jane should know that she needs to inform all her clients that she will be out of the office and must make arrangements for them if there is an emergency that occurs. Jane has chosen to ignore the ethical codes of a professional counselor. Sanders (2013) states that, “Some people largely resist the code of ethics. Faced with the constraints the ethical systems impose, they ignore the constraints and forge their own paths” (pg. 18). Her decision is not sound. Jane has done something wrong and could potentially face consequences for her actions. Apply the ACA Code of Ethics
There are a few ethical codes in the American Counseling Association’s (ACA) Code of Ethics that Jane has failed to remember when she decides to get up and go on vacation with out making the proper arrangements. First off, Standard A.12 states, “Counselors do not abandon or neglect clients in counseling.” As a professional counselor, Jane has both abandoned and neglected some of her clients by not informing them that she will be out of the office on vacation. Standard A.12 also goes on to say that counselors must make arrangements for treatment when there are interruptions such as vacations, illness, and termination. She also failed to follow this by not notifying her clients of someone else they may talk to in case of an emergency. Remley and Herlihy (2014) encourage professional counselors “be careful to protect the best interest of clients when services have to be interrupted or prematurely terminated” (pg. 91). If Jane is found to have abandoned her clients she could face a lawsuit.
Another ethical dilemma that Jane fails to think about is client welfare. Standard A.1.a discusses a counselor’s primary responsibility and the need to promote the welfare of clients. She does not worry about her clients welfare because in the moment she is only thinking about herself and has failed to remember that she has other clients that could possibly need her services.
Jane also may have counselor impairment....
References: Altmaier, Elizabeth. (2008). Changes and challenges for counseling in the 21st century.
Encyclopedia of Counseling, 1, 249-250. Retrieved from http://go.galegroup.com.ezproxy.liberty.edu:2048/ps/i.do?id=GALE|CX3074200092&v=2.1&u=vic_liberty&it=r&p=GVRL&sw=w&authCount=1
American Counseling Association (2014)
Forester-Miller, H., & Davis, T. (1996). A practitioner’s guide to ethical decision making.
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