For counseling psychology professionals, fully understanding the importance of ethics and values is one of the most crucial aspects of a counseling practice. Rarely do straightforward ethical dilemmas arise with simple answers. Identify the Problem Because ethical issues are not always easy to identify, it is important to utilize your clinical supervision. Be sure to take sufficient time to thoroughly explore and identify the problem.
I created this site to be fully accessible for people with disabilities; please follow this link to change text size, color, or contrast ; please follow this link for other accessibility functions for those with visual, mobility, and other disabilities The following excerpt is from chapter 17 in Ethics in Psychotherapy and Counseling: John Wiley, the book's publisher, holds the copyright to this material and questions about reprinting it or other uses involving copyright should be addressed to the publisher.
Competing values, conflicting regulations, scarce resources, misinformation, deadlines, fear of making a catastrophic mistake, and a stampede of other pressures and complications can make it hard to think clearly, carefully, and creatively.
This chapter provides useful steps for understanding, thinking through, and responding effectively to ethical dilemmas, especially when faced with complex ethical gray zones. The steps help identify key aspects of a situation, consider benefits and drawbacks of our options, and discover better approaches.
The Canadian Psychological Association CPA emphasized the importance of such steps by including seven in its original ethics code and increasing the number in subsequent editions. The asterisks in the following list mark steps that are versions of those that appear in the CPA code.
Seventeen steps appear here, but not every step fits every situation, and some steps may need to be adapted. Does it make clear what the problem is and why it is a problem?
Does it miss anything important to thinking through possible courses of action? Does any part of it get lost in the mists of vagueness, ambiguity, or professional jargon?
Are some of the words misleading or not quite right? Is there anything questionable about the statement's scope, perspective, or assumptions? Are there other valid ways to define the problem? Tight schedules, urgent situations, and an eagerness to solve the problem can rush us past this step, but coming up with the best approach depends on clearly understanding the ethical challenge.
How often do our ethical decisions affect only a single person and no one else? A client shows up for a session drunk. Whether the client drives home drunk and kills a pedestrian can depend on how we define our responsibility.
A colleague begins to show signs of Alzheimer's. Our choices can affect the safety and well-being of the colleague and his or her patients. A therapy client tells us about embezzling pension funds. Confidentiality laws may direct us to tell no one else, and the client may refuse to discuss the issue.
How we respond can determine whether hundreds of families retain the pensions they earned or are thrown into poverty. An insurance claims manager refuses to authorize additional sessions for a client we believe is at risk for killing his wife and children and then committing suicide.
Our supervisor may agree with the manager that no more sessions are needed. Whether the family lives or dies may depend on what we do.
If one person is the client and someone else pays our fee, do we feel any divided loyalty, any conflict that might shade our judgment? What steps, if any, could we take to make ourselves more effective?
In the light of all relevant factors, is there anyone available to step in and do a better job? If so, what reasons weigh against referring the client? Does this situation involve conflicts within the ethical standards or between the ethical standards and other e.
In what ways, if any, do the ethical standards seem helpful, irrelevant, confusing, outdated, or misdirected when applied to this situation? Would it be helpful to talk with an ethicist, a member of a national, state, or provincial ethics committee?
Does a legal standard conflict with other standards, requirements, or values? Do the relevant laws support— or at least allow— the most ethical response to the situation, or do they seem to work against or even block the most ethical response?
Would it be helpful to consult an attorney who has experience and expertise in these issues? An occupational hazard of a field with such diverse approaches— cognitive, psychodynamic, pharmacological, behavioral, feminist, psychobiosocial, family, multicultural, and existential, to name but a few— is that we often lose touch with new ideas, findings, and approaches arising outside the walls of our own theoretical orientation.
Do we want to please someone? Do we desperately need to avoid conflict? Do we fear that choosing the most ethical path will get us into trouble, make someone mad at us, be second-guessed by colleagues, or be hard to square with the law or the ethics code?ethical code (American Counseling Association [ACA], ).
This article focuses on To approach this problem using the STEPS ethical decision-making model, Ms. Hannah began by: 1.
Defining the problem both emotionally and intellectually. Emotionally, Ms. By this step, you’ve made good progress in the decision-making process, but it’s critical to stop and assess whether there are any new ethical issues that have arisen due to your selected course of action.
김형수 and 김옥진, Ethical Decision-Making Process Model in Counseling and Psychotherapy, Korea Journal of Counseling, 10, 2, (), (). Step Decision-Making Model This step model helps to clarify the needs and values of the coalition as they struggle with a case study.
4 Using case studies (Appendix A and B) helps individual participants enhance their skills in identifying and resolving common ethical dilemmas. An Ethical Decision-Making Model Given the fact that ethical dilemmas may not always be readily resolved through the use of codes of ethics, it might be useful to have a framework in which to analyze and make ethical decisions.
Decision-Making Model Analysis: 7-Step Decision-Making Process Decision making is defined as "the cognitive process leading to the selection of a course of action among alternatives" (Decision Making, , para.