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Ethical Dilemmas - The Case of Ward and June

What is the best solution for this case ethical dilemma?
Is getting a second opinion (like a child psychiatrist etc) a part of the solution?
How can the school psychologist prepare to help Brett?
How can the school psychologist help the parents?

Case (see attached for better formatting):

The Case of Ward and June

Ward and June have a 10-year-old son named Brett. They recently met with Brett's school psychologist. The school psychologist tested and assessed Brett at Ward and June's request. The evaluation results confirm that Brett not only has ADD but also a learning disorder related to math. Greatly upset by the news, Ward and June decided to seek a second opinion. They know that Brett has been struggling lately, but they are convinced that his difficulties are being caused by something other than what the psychologist concluded. As a counselor, you have a real desire to work with children but you have experience working primarily with adults. After meeting Brett, you disagree with the school psychologist's findings and decide that you will re-test him yourself. You indicate to the family that it is not uncommon for a school psychologist to misdiagnose someone. After obtaining a signed release, you call the school psychologist and ask to have the raw test data faxed to you. In speaking with the school psychologist you indicate that you are now the family's counselor.

Case Study Grading Criteria

Criteria Non-performance Basic Proficient Distinguished
Applies ethical guidelines used by licensed and/ or certified counseling professionals to resolve an ethical dilemma.

- Does not describe ethical guidelines used by licensed and/ or certified counseling professionals that are applicable to an ethical dilemma.
- Describes ethical guidelines used by licensed and/or certified counseling professionals that are applicable to an ethical dilemma.
- Applies ethical guidelines used by licensed and/or certified counseling professionals to resolve an ethical dilemma. - Analyzes ethical guidelines used by counseling professionals to resolve an ethical dilemma and evaluates how personal values and biases influence ethical decisions in the counseling profession.

Evaluates the major components of ethical codes.

- Does not analyze between the major components of ethical codes.
- Analyzes the major components of ethical codes.
- Evaluates the major components of ethical codes.
- Evaluates the major components of ethical codes that affect decision making.

Analyzes counseling laws and certifications in relevant states.

- Does not assess counseling laws and certifications in relevant states.
- Outlines counseling laws and certifications in relevant states but does not show how these are relevant to an ethical dilemma.
- Analyzes counseling laws and certifications in relevant states.
- Analyzes counseling laws and certifications in relevant states and examines how these affect the decision making process when solving an ethical dilemma.
- Develops resolutions that appropriately balance counseling laws and certifications and counseling best practices.

Demonstrates commitment to ethical professional practice through self-reflection, appropriate interpersonal communication, and self-awareness when solving ethical dilemmas.

- Does not engage in self-reflection nor use appropriate interpersonal communication and self-awareness to effectively solve ethical dilemmas.
- Exhibits surface level self-awareness and self-reflection and basic interpersonal communication when solving ethical dilemmas.
- Demonstrates commitment to ethical professional practice through selfreflection, appropriate interpersonal communication, and self-awareness when solving ethical dilemmas.
- Demonstrates commitment to ethical professional practice through selfreflection, appropriate interpersonal communication, and self-awareness, and can effectively adopt the modeling role in solving ethical dilemmas.

Communicates in a manner that is scholarly, professional, and consistent for human services professionals.

- Does not communicate in a manner that is scholarly, professional, and consistent for human services professionals. Communicates in a manner that is comprehensible but not scholarly, professional, and consistent for human services professionals.
- Communicates in a manner that is scholarly, professional, and consistent for human services professionals.
- Articulates in a manner that is scholarly, professional, and consistent for human services professionals.

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Solution Preview

What is the best solution for this case ethical dilemma?

Under Standard 10.04 conflicts and issues that arise should motivate the psychologist/counselor to proceed with the case in response to any therapeutic issues that arise. This is in accordance with Standard 3.04- which states that, "Psychologists take reasonable steps to avoid harming their clients/patients, students, supervisee; research participants, organizational clients, and others with whom they work, and to minimize harm where it is foreseeable and unavoidable." (www.apa.org). The school counselor needs to develop a close working relationship with the psychologist, and other parties including Bret's teacher and psychiatrist to develop a combined, comprehensive treatment plan for Brett that may include a psychopharmacological and behavioral therapeutic approach.

Is getting a second opinion (like a child psychiatrist etc) a part of the solution?

Getting a second opinion from the psychiatrist could be very beneficial. Blackman, Westervelt, Stevenson & Welch (199l) point out that the child's medical history provides information useful in understanding the impact of comorbid conditions. In addition, the school counselor would need to be informed of any medications the child is taking.

How can the school psychologist prepare to help Brett?

One criterion cited in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV-TR, 2000) for ADD and ADHD is that "there must be clear evidence of clinically significant impairment in social, academic, or occupational functioning (p. 93). On this basis, the ...

Solution Summary

A case study is presented in this solution focused on the ethical dilemmas within the case.

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