Counselors are often placed in vulnerable situation when thinking about the best practices and decision making. Circumstances will arise that could comprise the integrity Of the counselor. In those instances there needs to be guidance and this paper attempts to break down a scenario of an ethical dilemma and the course of action that should be taken when the problems shared occur.
The author uses, The Practitioners Guide to Ethical Decision Making, to explain the process of ethical violations and what actions should e taken to avoid those pitfalls in the future. Included within that model are seven steps broken down to aid the counselor. The author will provide an account of each step in the model. Should a counselor be faced with ethical dilemmas the American Counseling Association provides guidance to the counselor to aid them in the avoidance of ethical violations and legal issues.
The author uses the AC Code of Ethics to show proof of violations in the scenario given. Identify the problem Counselors are tasked with difficult jobs often taking on the emotions of their clients. There are times they may be jeopardizing their own wellness during he performance of their job. Clients are coming to counselors with the expectations their needs will be met by someone who is competent and values them. With that being said, counselors are often faced with difficult decisions to make and are in need of guidance.
Provided is a scenario describing ethical dilemmas. In this particular scenario, Jane, who is the counselor is experiencing stress and burnout. She’s been working consistently for over a year and has not taken a vacation. After finally deciding to take a long overdue break she makes quick plans. There are multiple issues here. The first issue is a matter of impairment; Jane has to maintain wellness in order to serve her clients effectively. Neglecting to take the necessary means to assure that wellness could be harmful to herself as well as her clients.
Jane who has made commitments to see clients, emails them on the spur of the moment to cancel appointments and does make adequate arrangements for the rest of her clients. There is no guarantee her clients will actually read or receive the emails that have been sent out and Jane does not make and arrangements to make certain those clients actually gets the cancellations she’s sent out. The remaining clients are unaware she will be leaving for a week. She fails to have a backup resource for her clients should any issues arise. Jane has violated ethics.
It seems that she has ignored the code Of ethics. As a counselor Jane should already be aware of the possible consequences of her actions. She should have been more concerned about her wellness before she reached a point of burnout. ‘ “When counselor take better care of themselves, there is a positive effect on their ability to meet the needs of their clients” (Lawson, 2007, p. 20). The main goal of the counselor is to create and help maintain the wellness of the client. Jane has neglected to think about the counselor-client relationship.
This scenario could bring about trust issues with her clients. According to Sanders, clients hold the belief that they can trust their counselor and that their counselor will maintain vital standards of clinical care and professional conduct (Sanders, 2013). She is out of line and it could have a major impact on her as well as her clients in a negative way. The professional counselors objective is to benefit the client and work hard not to do anything harmful to their clients (Sanders, 2013). Apply the AC Code of Ethics
It is stated in the preamble section of the American Counseling Association’s Code of Ethics that the counselor should safeguard the integrity of the counselor-client relationship (Association, 2014). The counselor failed in doing that. Jane missed one of the fundamental principles of professional ethical behavior. The principle of fidelity was not met. According to the American Counseling Association’s Code of Ethics, fidelity is when the counselor is loyal and faithful to the client at the same time honoring their commitment to the client. In section A of the AC Code of Ethics, attention is given to violations that fits Cane’s actions.
Counselors are to make sure to accommodate clients when they are unavailable for reasons as such; vacations, illness, and termination (AC Code of Ethics, Standard A. 12). Cane’s actions shows lack of commitment to her clients. When she made the decision to take a vacation without notifying some of her clients she abandon those clients. She could possible face legal actions for the clients that had standing appoints because she has no definite way of knowing if they received the notice of cancellation-The AC Code of Ethics advises counselor against abandoning clients.
Jane neglects to consider the client’s welfare, which is an essential accessibility of the counselor (Association, 2014). It seems that Jane hasn’t done a very good job of taking care of her wellbeing; she has possibly become impaired. According to the AC Code of Ethics, counselors need to pay close attention to their mental, physical, and emotional states, making sure they are not headed towards impairment (Association, 2014). Should a counselor feel that there is an issue he or she should not offer services until they have addressed their issues (AC Code of Ethics, Standard C. . G). Though she is deciding to step away in order to relieve herself of stress and burnout, she’s owing so after she’s reached an impaired state. Jane has not sought out the help she needs to combat her impairment issues. Without Jane taking the necessary precautions to properly deal with her impairment issues she could possibly jeopardize her practice and harm her clients. When counselors are not well they cannot offer the optimum level of care the client deserves (Lawson, 2007).
The counselor’s primary goal is to promote the clients wellbeing and it seems that Jane was only considering herself when she decided to leave immediately (Association, 2014). Determine the Nature and dimensions of the dilemma Considering proper ethical behavior, Jane has violated very important codes. The Practitioners Guide to Ethical Decision Making, provides a model that aids professional counselors in maintaining good ethical behavior. In the guide there are five very important moral principles providing details as to what is consider ethical when faced with dilemmas.
After reviewing those five principles there were some that applied to Cane’s scenario. In this scenario the counselor has neglected multiple moral principles, but, the principle that stands out most is fidelity. This counselor neglects to notify some of her linens of the fact SSH?s decided to take an abrupt vacation, therefore, jeopardizing the client-counselor relationship. The client should be able to trust their counselor and believe in their commitment and loyalty (Holly Forester-Miller, 1996).
Jane has not done a good job upholding the principle of fidelity. Fidelity was not the only moral principle that Jane did not maintain. Even though there is no harm done in the scenario there is the potential of unintended harm. When Jane decides to leave on the spur of the moment for vacation and fails to notify some of her clients an issue arises due to the usability Of one Of her clients having an emergency crisis. She also is has not confirmed whether or the clients that were emailed actually received the emails so they do not show up at her office.
If this should happen the counselor has not been proactive in avoiding causing harm to her client and violates the principle of malefaction. It is the counselors obligation to find ways that are sensitive to the client’s needs and cause them no harm by doing everything possible to avoid situations that are harmful (Sanders, 2013). In this scenario Jane has not done everything within her will to avoid any Seibel harm of the client, she in fact does not give it a thought. She is morally wrong and this wrong could have the potential to be detrimental to some of her clients.
In Cane’s case she neglects to acknowledge the moral principle of beneficence. Counselors are supposed to do all things with in their will to take care of and do no harm to those they are servicing (Sanders, 2013). Jane has not taken the proper steps to ensure that all clients that were in her care at the time were insured that benefit Generate Potential Courses of Action Jane owes it to her clients to make sure she takes the best course of action t all times. Upon making decisions that could affect her clients; she should have reviewed her ethical codes.
If she had done that she would have been more in tune with the proper way to maintain her practice in her absence. First, she should have made plans well in advance to take time off to benefit her wellness. This is something that should never go undone. Though work can be hectic at times, if the counselor is impaired there will not be quality service provided to the client. Secondly, in the unlikely situation that a counselor has to take time off suddenly there should be arrangements made in advance to make sure their linens will be notified and taken care of should they need help.
The AC Code of Ethics states in that if the counselor should be absent there should be procedures previously set up should a crisis occur with a client and each client should be notified of any absences (Association, 2014). Consider the potential consequences of all options, choose a course of action Being an effective counselor means being accountable and taking necessary measures to uphold that accountability. If Jane had laid out plans in advance to take time off to assure her wellness the wellness of the clients would not have been put in jeopardy.
Not only that, if she was at a point in her practice where things were out of hand ,plans should have been put in place before hand for her to take advantage of assistance from other colleagues. Things happen in life that are sometimes unavoidable and the possibility of an emergency leading to the need to take off isn’t farfetched; that is why Jane should have planned ahead. It would be in Cane’s best interest to build a network of supporters in the counseling profession to aid her in emergency situations.
Seeing as though SSH?s become burnout and stressed, she should think about hiring help to assist with her caseload. Jane has an established, successful practice so now maybe the time to consider expanding the practice by inviting other qualified counselors into her practice to service client. If she isn’t interested in bringing on help, she may need to consider reducing her caseload altogether. Though she may not be able to extend service to every client who’s seeking counseling from her; she could provide quality service to all of her clients without the threat of harming them do to impairment.
Jane now has a great chance of providing quality service to more people and preserving her own mental health. Evaluate the selected course of Action If Jane plans ahead, as I believe all counselors should do in case of an emergency or the need to be absent there would be no question of ethical violation for this scenario. There is nothing wrong with taking time to make sure her wellbeing is intact, in fact, her wellness guarantees the quality of her services. She not only maintains her mental health, but, she also maintains a healthy relationship with her clients.
Taking a look at Jeans situation it is evident her practice is doing well and this solution gives her an opportunity to expand her business. By hiring help she promotes the welfare of the client, he community, herself, and the professional standards that are to be upheld. She not only increases revenue, but, she’s able to provide more services to those in need at the Same time not over extending herself. This makes the plan of action a win, win, win situation.
Implement the course of Action An effective counselor is one who is able to maintain a sense of self awareness and take in to account the wellbeing of the client at all times. Staying abreast of the ethical codes that are put in place to make sure no harm is done to the clients served is vital to sustaining a successful career. Clients are trusting counselors to be available mentally, physically, and emotionally and if there are no plans made ahead to maintain their wellness the client could be placed in a desperate situation.
It would be in the client’s best interest as well as the counselors best interest to form professional alliances that promote the clients wellbeing. Counselors should reach out to colleagues in moments of uncertainties as to not violate any ethics or destroy the counselor-client relationship. The AC provides an excellent resource, The Practitioners Guide to Ethical Decision Making, which should be used whenever there is an uncertainty about a choice to be made. Being a counselor is a rewarding profession but it can also become very stressful; this model helps elevate the possibility making a costly mistake.