Ethics in action

Ethics in action



If this was your client, what would you say and do? Be Specific.

Teenage pregnancy has been quite common these days. It goes without saying that it presents a tremendous challenge to all the parties involved. The child is always confused on the decision to take as she may not have the capacity to bring the pregnancy to full term, or even bring up the baby. As a counselor, I would not counsel a thirteen-year old pregnant girl without the involvement of her parents. However, I would be careful not to force the child to inform her parents. Instead, I would explain all the choices or options available, including the consequences of each decision that she may take. Once I have established a relationship with her, I would encourage her to inform her parents, and even offer to be present as she does that. I will stress on the necessity of dealing with this problem or issue as soon as possible so as to allow her to push ahead with the decision making process. I desire to meet her parents so as to explain the predicament in which their daughter is. This will also present or offer me a chance to counsel them on how to handle their daughter, and encourage them to continue attending the counseling session irrespective of their decision as a family.

Why would you respond this way?

My response is guided by the fact that, the main issue is not executing the wishes of the child but rather ensuring that she makes the right decision. This will come a long way in establishing and enhancing client relationship. It is worth noting that, I am not supposed to decide on the family’s behalf rather I should establish the appropriate infrastructure and give them the necessary tools for handling the situation. The girl will still need counseling irrespective of the decision she makes, in which case building a trusting relationship with her, as well as her family will be imperative.

What is Informed Consent Form and why is it important?

An Informed Consent Form is an agreement signed by client. It discloses to the clients their rights, confidentiality, what the client can expect during counseling, the counseling relationship’s nature, information pertaining to the services provided, billing and fees issues, the qualifications of the counselors, as well as a description of the counselors’ theoretical orientation. In addition, it informs the client on his rights such as obtaining information pertaining to their records and decline recommended services, as well as confidentiality and its downside.

What would you include on your own Informed Consent Form regarding confidentiality?

An Informed Consent form would state that all sessions would be held confidentially, in which case the information so revealed will not be disclosed or given to any other party without the written consent of the client. However, the right to confidentiality may be waived in certain circumstances that involve the protection of the client or the general public. Such circumstances would not require the counselor to obtain the written consent of the undersigned client so as to disclose the information. The circumstances include the following.

If the client or another individual is in danger.

If a court orders the client to undergo an examination.

If the client has to undergo involuntary hospitalization, thanks to the effects of substance abuse or mental ailments.

If the client gives information pertaining to the neglect, exploitation, or abuse of a child, disabled or aged person.

If the emotional or mental condition of the client is being utilized as a legal defense or in cases where disciplinary, civil or criminal action emanates from a complaint lodged on the client’s behalf against a mental health professional. In such cases, the release or disclosure of information is restricted to such action.


Confidentiality is extremely crucial in building the relationship between a counselor or therapist and the client. The client should know her rights of confidentiality before counseling starts. This allows her to put her confidence on the counselor and disclose information that is crucial for the therapy. However, it is imperative that the client knows the limits of the confidentiality rule. She should know the instances where the confidentiality rule would be repealed without breaking the law. In essence, she will know the rights and obligations of the therapists as far as the information provided is concerned.

What does the law in your own state say regarding how you need to handle this kind of situation? See HYPERLINK “” to look up legal information related to your state. Florida law I couldn’t find state law under this website.

The counselor should first strive towards helping the teenager accept the situation in which she has landed. This will involve assisting the teenager deal with the emotional and mental distress she feels while offering practical advice pertaining to the pregnancy. However, the counselor must desist from interjecting his own viewpoints and, instead, prop the teen irrespective of the decision she makes.

In addition, the counselor should support the teen to establish a plan for informing the people who matter, including the parents. It is worth noting that the counselor may suggest counseling the parent, as well.

Once the parents are informed, the teen has to make a decision as to what she should do with the pregnancy. It is imperative that the counselor provides accurate and impartial facts pertaining to all options.

What do the ACA and AACC Code of Ethics say regarding confidentiality?

The ACA and AACA codes of ethics state that the provision of comprehensive and complete, informed consent forms to clients is the initial step towards minimizing complications of confidentiality. The ACA Code of Ethics, in Standards B.1.d, requires counselors to give their clients full information pertaining to the limits of confidentiality. These limits are stated as harm to oneself or others, orders of the court, or in cases where elderly people, children or the disabled are being abused. In the AACC code of ethics, counselors are required to maintain client confidentiality to the extent allowed by organizational or church rules, professional ethics, and the law. It stresses on the importance of informing the client on the limits of the confidentiality prior to the beginning of the counseling sessions. Even in cases where the counselors are required to disclose such information by the law, their initial response should be the assertion of the confidentiality privilege. However, the privilege has to be waived in case any person is in deadly harm, or where required to do so by a court of law.

Segment Two: Big Brother

1). If this was your client, what would you say and do? Be Specific.

In the case of this man, I would implore him to tell me what he implies by saying that he will do all it takes it takes to derail the marriage. This will be intended to find out whether he has intentions of causing harm to his sister or even her boyfriend. In addition, I would ask him questions pertaining to his family and culture so as to determine whether they share his feelings.

Why would you respond this way?

My response is guided by the desire to determine whether he intends to cause harm to any of the parties. In essence, I will be aiming to determine whether anybody’s life is in danger. In case the man means harm, I will be obligated to disclose it to law enforcement officers. In case he does not intend to harm anyone, I will establish and enhance my relationship with him so as to determine the reason behind his feelings.

2). According to the law in your state, what is your legal obligation to disclose information if your client told you he/she intended to physically harm himself or some else?

The Florida State Law gives me an obligation to disclose or report information pertaining to the intent to cause harm to himself or someone else. My job is to protect the life of the client, as well as the general public.

How is this similar or different to the ethics codes?

This is similar to the ethics codes, which obligate counselors to keep any information disclosed by the clients confidential unless the clients’ life or that of the general public is in jeopardy.

3). What are your state’s legal requirements related to handling reports of child abuse and neglect and adult abuse? See HYPERLINK “” to look up legal information related to your state.

Florida State laws give counselors an obligation to report any instance where they suspect that an adult or child is being abuse or neglect. This abuse and neglect is not limited to the home environment, but also in their schools. In addition, they are legally obligated to come up with strategies that will break child abuse cycles. They are supposed to assist adults, and children to deal with or cope with abusive behavior, as well as facilitate changes in behavior and develop a positive interpersonal relationship. This relationship would reinforce the right parenting skills.

4). Do you have any personal issues or history that might hinder your ability to effectively respond to client feelings (e.g., to anger, sadness, fear, or shame)? What are some ways you plan to appropriately manage your own feelings and reactions as they arise in counseling?

I have no personal issues that may limit my capacity to respond to the client’s feelings effectively. Before I made the decision to become a counselor, I spent close to a year in counseling, which helped me to resolve all my issues. This ensured that I was ready to counsel by the time I completed my first degree. I have been working as a part-time counselor for a couple of years. My business partner and I keep ourselves in check through weekly meetings, in which we express our personal feelings. This ensures that our personal issues are kept in check.

5). Why is counselor self –knowledge vitally important to ethical and effective counseling practice?

The importance of self-knowledge to effective and ethical counseling practice lies in the ability to use some personal experiences to give appropriate counseling. In addition, the counselor will know how to disengage himself from personal beliefs and biases and give entirely neutral advice to the best interests of one’s clients. Self-knowledge ensures that the counselor to identify his weaknesses and remain emotionally detached from the relationship that may be developing between him and the client.

Segment Three: Cultural Issues

1). If this was your client, what would you say and do? Be specific. Why would you respond that way?

Such a situation demands that I employ honesty and inform the client about my credentials in carrying out the required assignment. In addition, I would be ready to field any questions that the client may have about me. This will go a long way in building a strong relationship with the client, as well as enhancing her trust in my capabilities. My response is guided by the importance of developing trust from the client as to my capabilities, in which case she will be more comfortable opening up about any issues that are troubling her.

2). List several action you can take to become more culturally competent counselors.

Taking a culturally competent class would go a long way in becoming culturally-competent class.

I could also enhance my knowledge about other cultures through studying about them.

In addition, I would ask respectful questions pertaining to the clients’ cultural experiences and background so as to avoid making assumptions on the clients’ identities (Sadeghi, 2007).

It is also imperative that I work with experienced who would help me in identifying any cultural biases that I have. Exploring my biases and identity would enable me to make the required steps to overcome them (Sadeghi, 2007).

Lastly, I would review the ethical standards and guidelines to ensure that I meet the governing body’s guidelines pertaining to cultural competence and awareness.


Sadeghi, M., Fischer, J.M. & House, S.G. (2007). “Ethical dilemmas in multicultural counseling.” Journal of Multicultural Counseling and Development

(Sadeghi, 2007)

Rebecca J.
Rebecca J.

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Rebecca J.
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