ethical legal and professional issues

need one original post and 2 responses.

You have viewed the movie clip for Module 2 called “The Affair.” Imagine that you are a trusted colleague of the therapist who is in the video. She is unsettled by this therapy session and is considering referring the client to another therapist. In the mean time she is seeking consultation with you. It is apparent that she has the not kept up with the current ACA Code and legal cases that are relevant to this situation.

Explain to her the ethical dilemma that is the issue in this situation. Describe to her the recent relevant legal cases. The readings from your text and the article provided suggest that you should tell your colleague about the ACA Principle(s) and Section(s) that are most relevant. Name, summarize, and justify the Principle(s) and Section(s) that you would ask her to read. Finally, what general advice would you give her?

+ 2 responds to classmates

1..The ethical dilemma that is the issue in this situation is that the counselor is clearly imposing her values of having an affair onto the client. The counselor put more focus on her own experiences with having an affair, rather than focusing on what the client is experiencing and how she is personally struggling with the affair.

The recent relevant legal case that I would explain to her is Ward versus Wilbanks. This court case was in regard to a student who attended EMU and was dismissed from the program for not working with a client because of her religious beliefs on sexual orientations. When her supervisor instructed her to obtain additional training so she could work with this client, she refused and was dismissed. The court’s decision upheld the Code of Ethics that counselors cannot discriminate against working with a particular group of clients.

I would ask this counselor to read A.4.b. and C.5 of the ACA Code of Ethics. A.4.b. addresses the personal values in counseling, stating that counselors need to be aware of imposing their own attitudes onto their clients, respect any diversity between themselves and their clients, and should take additional training in areas where the counselor may be at risk of imposing their own values. C.5. of the ACA Code of Ethics focuses on nondiscriminatory behavior toward clients. In this case, in regard to culture and partnership. These principles and sections are the most relevant in this situation because the counselor clearly displayed a breach in A.4.b. during the session, and she is now displaying a breach in C.5. in wanting to refer the client solely based on her own cultural values.

Some general advice I would give to this counselor is that she seek additional training in working with individuals in affairs, so she is able to set her own values aside and focus on the client. I would also suggest that the counselor seek personal counseling. She refers to affairs as a negative experience in her personal life, so I believe some personal counseling will help her work through some of this countertransference.

2. The most evident ethical dilemma shown in this video clip is that the therapist is imposing her own values onto the client through her responses to the client’s disclosure. The therapist made it evident that she disagrees morally/ethically with the client having an affair, and this value overtakes the interaction and the therapist is unable to focus the conversation on what the client is feeling, her motivations for her actions, etc.

It may be effective to discuss with this therapist the cases of both Julea Ward and Jennifer Keeton. Both of these women were students enrolled in counseling programs at Eastern Michigan University and Augusta State University (respectively) and both refused to follow the school programs’ guidelines in how to treat LGBTQ+ clients. These women were both dismissed from their programs of study due to their inability to treat clients without their personal values becoming disruptive, in addition to their refusal to obtain further training and education that would allow them a greater perspective on how to treat clients of the LGBTQ+ community. I think that discussing these cases with the therapist from the video may influence her to reevaluate the emphasis she is placing on the ‘right and wrong’ of the client’s situation, and may motivate her to refocus on the client with less judgmental tone and speech.

The ACA Principles and sections that I would recommend reviewing for this therapist include:

A.4 Personal Values – I think that this section is fairly self explanatory. I think that emphasizing to the therapist that understanding how her own values may affect her ability to work with clients, and how to overcome that is vital. This section also reiterates that it is the therapists responsibility to ensure that their own values and opinions do now allow for discrimination of any kind towards the client or the issues they present in therapy.

C.5 Non discrimination- Again, this section appears to be fairly straightforward. It is not the clients responsibility to present themselves in a palatable way to comfort the therapist, it is the therapists responsibility to provide helpful service to any client regardless of their orientations, gender identity, race, religion, etc. I think that this section is important for any counselor to be familiar with, but particularly for counselors who have strong and apparent opinions like the counselor in the video.

C.7 harmful practices- Finally, I wanted to include harmful practices in this response because although I do not consider what was shown in the video to be overtly harmful, I think that it is important to emphasize this section to prevent the development of a greater issue. In the case of Jennifer Keeton, she was compelled to recommend conversion therapy, which is obviously a harmful practice for clients. I think it is prudent to educate counselors on ways to avoid harmful practices and behaviors.

I think that my general advice to this therapist is to remember that every person is fallible in some way, including ourselves, and that it is not our responsibility to teach people right and wrong, but instead to guide them to self understanding and how to make their own educated decisions.

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