Identify the problem
o Outline the facts.
o Correctly identify the problem.
o Identify the problem as an ethical, legal, professional, or clinical.
o Identify the problem as related to self, client, institution, or agency.
• Apply the ACA Code of Ethics
o Identify all applicable ACA ethics codes.
• Determine the nature/dimensions of the dilemma
o Correctly identify moral principles of the profession.
o Identify the relevant professional literature that applies to the dilemma.
o Identify persons that would be consulted.
o Identify state or national professional associations that would be consulted.
• Potential courses of action
o List all potential courses of action.
• Consider consequences/Determine course of action
o Describe the potential consequences and implications for each course of action.
o Identify the best course of action and explain why.
• Evaluate the selected course of action
o Review the selected course of action to see if it presents any new ethical problems.
o Apply the tests of justice, publicity, and universality.
• Implement the course of action
o Describe what steps will be taken to implement the course of action.
Forester-Miller, H., & Davis, Thomas (1996). A Practitioners Guide to Ethical Decision Making. American Counseling Association.
Scenarios to pick from:
Scenario 1
Jane is a hardworking, licensed professional counselor who has a very successful private practice. Jane has not had a vacation in over a year. She is feeling the stress and burnout and knows she needs to do something quickly for her own mental health. Thus, she decides to go on vacation for a week. She quickly makes the arrangements and then emails all of her clients with whom she has appointments during the week of vacation, informing them of the need to cancel. She fails to let her other clients know she will be gone; since none of her clients are in crisis, she decides to not worry about getting someone to cover her clients while she is gone.
Scenario 2
John is a counseling intern working for an outpatient facility that specializes in alcohol and drug addiction recovery. John has been interning with the facility for 9 months. He is particularly involved in co-leading many of the groups at the facility and has gotten to know many of the clients. Overall, John really likes most of the clients at the center. One evening, while checking his email, he notices a friend request for his personal Facebook account. John recognizes the email as originating from Ben, one of the clients at the center. John has enjoyed his interactions with Ben, so he grants Ben his request. A few days later, Jeanne, another client at the center, emails John with her request to befriend John on Facebook. John is not as fond of Jeanne because she is often argumentative in group. John decides to deny the request, explaining to Jeanne he does not befriend women.


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