Ethical Case Study Analysis Paper




Ethical Case Study Analysis
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Ethical Case Study Analysis
Case Conceptualization
Presenting Issues
The case concerns a new client, Johnny, a 35-year-old middle-class Caucasian man mandated to attend counseling. He was recently arrested, and the court required that he attend counseling sessions due to the charges presented against him for domestic abuse. Counseling was regarded as necessary as Johnny conducted the violence while his children were present. During the session, Johnny stated that he was angry due to the requirement to attend counseling and leave his home. He seemed to be directing his anger toward others by blaming his wife and children for his suffering. Johnny provided guarded responses and was not fully open about his feelings. This aspect showed that he was unwilling to participate fully and complete his sessions.
Maladaptive Patterns
Johnny’s life has changed as he suffers from substance use addiction or dependence. He feels pressured due to the requirement to attend counseling sessions, arguing that his wife is equally to blame. He is also resentful about being a parent and feels trapped in family life. These pressures influenced him to adopt maladaptive drinking behaviors that gave him the feeling of freedom and a break from the family life he never wanted.
The factors predisposing Johnny to disordered behavior and substance abuse include the loss of his job and house. These factors increased the life pressures, making Johnny increasingly prone to anger. Indulgence in substance abuse predisposed the client to compromised anger and emotional regulation. This aspect paved the way for the altercation with his wife, prompting law enforcement involvement.
Ethical Codes
Various ethical codes could help evaluate this case as its focus or scope includes values and confidentiality. One code relevant to the case is A.4.b. The code focuses on personal values. It advances that counselors should avoid imposing subjective views on patients (American Counseling Association, 2015). Counselors should aid clients in developing action plans and interventions for problematic habits, struggles, and pain (Sangganjanavanich & Reynolds, 2013). The ACA code would require the counselor to help Johnny manage his anger and alcoholism. The counselor should avoid suggesting or referencing personal views to the client, such as divorce, separation, and marriage.
The second code that would effectively apply to the case scenario is B.1.c focusing on respect for confidentiality. The regulation provides crucial guidelines regarding the standard approaches for acquiring consent for disclosure (American Counseling Association, 2015). This code is highly relevant to the case, especially when the counselor is out for dinner but notices Johnny at the bar drinking. The ethical code would consider it inappropriate and unprofessional for a counselor to acknowledge or approach the client in public. Speaking with the client outside the clinical or private office settings could constitute a confidentiality breach.
The third code relevant to the case study is A.2.e. This code considers mandated clients and argues that counselors are responsible for facilitating patients’ awareness regarding confidentiality limits and the information that can be shared following a request by the court or state (American Counseling Association, 2015). The code applies to the case as the court required Johnny to attend counseling but did not explicitly express whether he could not drink or visit an establishment providing alcohol. Counselors must explain the potential consequences if the client declines or refuses to continue with the therapeutic services. The counselor should explain to Johnny the results of not respecting the court’s sentencing.
Decision Making
The American Counseling Associations Center for counseling practices, polity, and research is the ethical decision-making model adopted for conceptualizing this case. The model employs a seven-step approach when (Forester-Miller & Davis, n.d.). Must consider the worldview of their clients and individuals that the model impacts.
Historical Precedence
Ethical decision-making models are evaluated in different steps beginning with problem identification. In the case scenario, the problem involves witnessing the client breaking the mandates related to his probation case. In California, the Tarasoff law requires counselors to limit confidentiality and report signs of abuse, violence or violating orders, such as in the case scenario (Sori & Hecker, 2015). Seeing the client at the bar does not indicate signs of violence, but the dilemma occurs when he returns to his sessions after the counselor witnesses the incident. Bringing up the incident could make the client feel that confidentiality has been breached, making him upset, angry, or unwilling to continue with the counseling sessions.
The second phase must utilize ACA’s codes of ethics A.2.e and B.1.c. The former focuses on confidentiality when dealing with clients. It aims at ensuring that all personally identifiable deals are kept private while clarifying confidentiality limitations. The latter focuses on mandated clients’ rights that remain a leading concern in the case scenario. The third step involves determining the nature and scope of the dilemma. In the scenario, Johnny drinks at the bar, but the counselor ignores him. Failing to report the behavior could place the client at risk of hurting himself or those around him. In this situation, it would be crucial to consider whether the client could mistrust the counselor if he referred him to another specialist. It would also be essential to determine whether to start treating Johnny differently in the subsequent sessions after witnessing him break the mandated terms.
The fourth step in the ACAC model is developing potential solutions and measures. They could include discussing the issue with the client or contacting authorities due to the possible violation. It would be crucial to create and consider multiple ideas and potential actions to guarantee the client’s safety and protection. The fifth and sixty steps involve evaluating possible outcomes, selecting a specific approach, and evaluating the desired action. This aspect would enable the counselor to choose practical strategies that do not evoke guilty feelings in the client or force him to lie about his habits. The final step based on the model involves implementing the chosen strategy. It is also crucial to follow up on the intervention to determine whether it facilitated the attainment of the intended results. The counselor should strive to engage Johnny completely in therapy to address his needs. He should also implement strategies based on real-life scenarios to promote the desired outcomes for the client.
The case scenario shows the need for being a proactive and professional counselor, primarily when operating with clients in diverse contexts. This aspect would increase the chances of attaining beneficial outcomes for clients and their future. The case also revealed that counselors should not enforce subjective views and decisions or implement punitive measures against clients. Therapists should support clients to make effective life choices and ensure they make the decisions themselves. Counselors should guide their clients to develop or identify beneficial solutions. They should also help them determine the triggers or motivations behind the wrong choices. Counselors working with mandated clients must understand their boundaries and limitations and the courts that issue the orders. They must recognize that ethics is complex and may not always provide the correct answers to presenting issues. Clients should be empowered to make decisions and life choices as they have independent thinking that the counselor cannot predict. Counselors must consider the clients’ unique attributes and develop interventions customized to their needs.
American Counseling Association. (2015). ACA code of ethics. Retrieved from
Forester-Miller, H., & Davis, T. E. (2016). Practitioners guide to (Rev. ed.). Retrieved from
Sangganjanavanich, V. F., & Reynolds, C. (Eds.). (2013).Introduction to professional counseling. SAGE Publications.
Sori, C. F., & Hecker, L. L. (2015). Ethical and legal considerations when counselling children and families.Australian and New Zealand Journal of Family Therapy,36(4), 450-464.

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