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Counselor Ethics Case Study

The Case of Mark

Mark is a counselor in the inner city of Toledo, Ohio, where he maintains a private practice. Mark works Monday through Thursday providing services to low-income clients. He often lets clients go without payment because he knows that they really need the help. He even lets the few who do have insurance go without paying the co-payment. Mark charges an hourly rate of $55 for the counseling services he offers Monday through Thursday.

Conversely, every Friday afternoon, Mark provides services in an upscale section of town from an office that he rents from a friend. At this site, Mark cuts no one slack with regards to payment. If a payment is not made on time that person's account is sent directly to a collection agency. This policy allows Mark to make up for the money he would otherwise lose from the less fortunate clients he sees the rest of the week. Mark charges an hourly rate of $125 for the work he does from his second office.

After reading to the Mark Case Study in this unit's study, would you argue that his behavior is ethical or unethical when looking at the ethical codes? If you were Mark, how would you handle this situation differently? If possible, cite specific sections of the ethical code in your discussion.

Solution Preview

After overlooking this scenario, Mark's behavior borders on some unethical practices. For Mark's practice (Monday - Thursday); his payment options have no consistency. Some do not pay; while others with insurance often skip the co-pay. However, according the ACA Code of Ethics section A.10.b., if the payment structure doesn't suit a particular client, then "counselors assist clients in attempting to find comparable services of acceptable cost." However, instead of helping the clients ...

Solution Summary

In this fictional case study, a counselor crosses ethics boundaries in how he runs his practice.