In the field of professional counseling, there will be times where clients will come into your office and have more than one problem that they need help with. It is the job of the counselor to help them in any way that they can even if that means to refer those with serious illnesses. Unfortunately, there may also be issues Of ethics that will arise from clients with multiple needs and those in the care of other physicians. Sometimes the counselor is put into a position where they must make an ethical decision on what to do when laced in a tough situation.
When faced in an impossible situation the CA Code of Ethics states rules to follow or one can reach out to another licensed consultant for advice. 1. Identify the Problem Marcia is a new client and has admitted that she has been feeling not like herself lately. She has been experiencing symptoms of fatigue, not wanting to participate in activities that she once enjoyed and thoughts of suicide. She has been having an affair with a 35-year-old married man and their relationship has recently come to an end. This has brought about even more low and deep seated emotions.
She has admitted to being in possession of a gun but not for suicidal reasons. Although, she says that she does not know if she would actually use the gun she has been referred for a psychiatric evaluation. Also, she does not want her mother to know any of this that is going on. This can cause a problem because I feel as if Marcia should have some kind of support system with her at this time in her life. 2. Apply CA Code of Ethics As Marcia’s counselor, this has now become an ethical and legal issue. It is my job to protect my client if feel that she is a harm to herself.
As professional unsolder, the CA Code of Ethics states that we should “seek training in areas in which they are at risk of imposing their values onto clients, especially when the counselors values are inconsistent with the client’s goal” (CA, 2014, A. 4. B). I would not want to judge Marcia for her decision of dating a married man just because it is something that do not agree with. Yes, I would bring it up in our sessions and therefore setting it as a goal for her to find a significant other of her own but my main focus would be to help her through her suicidal thoughts and behaviors and to focus her time on mending her own problems.
Also, another ethical dilemma would be the fact that Marcia has been having suicidal thoughts in the past and is now in possession of a gun that she could potentially use to harm herself. The code of ethics speaks in regards to foreseeable harm of any client as the counselors are “required to protect clients or identified others from serious and foreseeable harm or when legal requirements demand that confidential information must be revealed” (CA, 2014, B. 2. A).
Another appropriate code of ethic that should be discussed would be the fact that Marcia is being transferred to another physicians care and both the counselor and the psychiatrist should “ensure that appropriate clinical and administrative processes are completed and open communication is maintained with both clients and practitioners” (CA, 2014, A-1 1 . D). 3. Determine the nature and the dimensions of the dilemma In relation to the moral principles in Marcia’s case there seem to be a few conflicts.
Firstly, autonomy has to do with protecting the client and respecting any clear decisions that they may make (Knackery 2014, p. 132). Marcia has asked me as her counselor to not let her mother know about what is going on with her. Because Marcia is 22-years-old and can think for herself then have o respect her wishes of not telling her mother. However, because Marcia is a potential threat to herself then if her condition gets worse then morally I feel as If I should at least let her mother know. Which I believe goes hand in hand with the moral principle of fidelity.
Fidelity is related to maintaining trust (Necking 2014, p. 132) in which Marcia expects to be able to trust me and that I will keep all of our conversations confidential as her counselor. As stated before, this can be hard when Marcia has now been referred for psychiatric evaluation and feel that she should have a close family member o watch over her which would be her mother. However, Marcia does not want her mother to be involved with her process. In Marcia’s case, my number one priority for her would be keeping her trust as my client.
Since she is of legal age to make her own decisions and legally have a right to keep her information confidential then it is my place to protect her wishes and to not tell her mother about her situation. I would not want to violate any legal issues with Marcia as my client. 4. Generate potential courses of action As my first course of action I would continue to follow Marcia and her progress through her psychiatric evaluations. Loud like to see her suicidal state improve to where she is stable enough to come back to me as a counseling client.
If Marcia continues to see me as her counselor then my next course of action would be to further discuss her feelings of depression and her relationship with the married man. She should start to focus on her other problems and begin to set goals for herself. I would let her know that she should get a hobby to help keep her mind focused on one project at a time so she does not become consumed with depressive thoughts and feelings. Marcia seems to be dealing with a lot and feel that she should not eave so many problems going on at one time.
As an alternative, Marcia should keep a diary and write down her feelings for each day. Regardless of if she is having a good day or bad day she should write down exactly what she did each day and how it made her feel. This way she can see for herself just what is causing her to feel down. Lastly, I would let her know that she needs to officially break off the affair she is having with the 35-year-old married man. This relationship is obviously not healthy for her life and is causing her more heartache and pain than she can imagine. He also needs to evaluate his wan life and marriage.
However, since he is not my client I will respect Marcia if she wants to talk about her and his relationship or not. 5. Consider the potential consequences of all options and determine a course of action It could be potentially harmful for our client-counseling relationship if Marcia has not fully been treated for her suicidal behavior. She could backtrack and still be a harm to herself or others around. I am afraid that she may even go so far as to harm the married man that she is in a relationship with. I would also be worried if she begins to become more obsessive over her relationship tit the married man instead Of getting over him.
Because Marcia has shown signs of suicidal behavior then it is best that she focuses on the positives of her progress rather than the negatives. I would not continue to talk about her suicidal behavior because that is between her and her counselor but I do want Marcia to reflect on just how far she has come and praise her for it. It might be important to the client to know that someone else has recognized how far they’ve come. 6. Evaluate the selected course of action By applying the test of justice, believe that I would in fact treat others the same in this situation.
Marcia has a common case that a lot of women and men are faced with today. If they are given different options and outlets to avoid feeling depressed or alone then they could be more likely to see some improvement in their behaviors. When applying the test Of publicity, I would be okay with having my behavior reported in the press. I feel that my actions towards Marcia’s situation has been handled carefully and delicately. Have not asked Marcia to do anything that is unethical or unlawful. She has properly been referred to a psychiatrist and have kept all of her records and information confidential and to her will.
Lastly, the test of universality, will not affect me neither because I would be okay recommending the same course of action to another counselor in the same situation. I do not see any new ethical issues that would allow me to have to reevaluate my course of actions. 7. Implement the Course of Action After reading Marcia’s case and discussing a plan Of action I realize that I need to be more focused on learning more about clients who may have similar issues. It is of my best interest to consult with a supervisor or lava,n. Year if I ever come into a situation that I do not know how to handle.