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Ethical Issues encountered in Counseling

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

What are your personal values on this ethical issue?

Relate the ethical principles of autonomy, nonmaleficence, beneficence, and fidelity to this case.

Doing it my way

If this was your client, what would you say and do? Be specific. Why would you respond that way?
If you were this counselor's supervisor, what are some issues you would explore with her?


If this way your client, what would you say and do? Be specific. Why would you respond that way?
How might you apply the biblical concept of speaking the truth in love to this situation?

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Solution Summary

The solution provides insight and advise to help students tackle the task (see above) on the topic of approaching ethical issues in a counseling setting.

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This is somewhat challenging to answer since there's little context here. I'm assuming you are writing a paper for a counseling or social work class that is dealing with a case where a married couple is looking at getting a divorce and perhaps it is because someone had an affair with a person of the same gender. So that's how I'm going to approach this. If you need more assistance, let me know.

Remember that when we talk about ethics there's a difference between personal ethics (what we believe as individuals and this is often grounded in our upbringing, culture and religious beliefs) and professional ethics which are shaped and controlled by our education, professional training, professional associations and laws via accrediting agencies and basic laws on ethics and human rights (on national and international levels). In the U.S. the National Institutes of Health, the American Psychological Association, the American Counseling Association, National Association of Social Workers, American Sociological Association, American Medical Association, American Bar Association, National Lawyers Guild, the ACLU and various ruling bodies of all the major religions in the U.S. have laws, rules and guidelines regarding ethical behavior. A lot of these conditions have evolved over time, some are based on basic human rights and others such at the Geneva Convention, Nuremberg Code and Belmont Report are the result of human atrocities. When discussing ethics in your paper I highly recommend going through your course materials as well as getting information from the appropriate association (i.e. the NIH and National Association of Social Workers if it is a social work class).

Concepts of autonomy, beneficence, non maleficence and justice are the cornerstone of bio-medical / medical ethics. There's an article by R. Gillon (1994) titled "Medical ethics: four principles plus attention to scope" which discusses these four things. Regardless of your personal beliefs and opinions of an individual, each of us deserve the right of autonomy which is basically that we respect the rights of others. We each have the right to do as we please, to think and be who we are; tied to this are issues such as informed consent which means that before a procedure is done on our bodies or before we are asked sensitive, potentially harmful questions, that we are fully informed as to what is going to happen and as importantly, what is going to be done with the information. Anonymity means that all identifying information is erased whereas confidential means that people who need to know the information has access to it. Here's an example of the difference. In the early to mid-1980s when HIV/AIDS was emerging in the U.S. and no one really understood what it was about, there was a huge (well, there still is actually) stigma to having the disease largely because of cultural beliefs about people who engage in homosexual sex or IV drug users; who were the primary people contracting the illness. Because of this and due to the cost of treating someone with HIV/AIDS, insurance companies were getting the medical records of their clients, often without their consent. If there was any mention of someone being gay or engaging in same-sex sexual activity, insurance companies stopped insuring these people due to the belief they were engaging in risky behavior - rather than pressuring the government to find a cure for the illness and conduct a national health awareness campaign which ...

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