Joe is a 15-year-old, who has been referred to see the school counsellor by his teacher: Ethics and professional issues in counselling and psychology Case Study, MUM


Monash University Malaysia (MUM)

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Ethics and professional issues in counselling and psychology

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Case Study : Joe

Joe is a 15-year-old, who has been referred to see the school counsellor by his teacher who has noted that he has become withdrawn and inattentive in class, appears disheveled, and is often late to school. Joe tells the counsellor that his parents separated recently, and Joe has been living with his father, who is rarely home as he works 60 hours per week. Joe also reveals that he has been stealing money and items to support his frequent drug habit – which involves mostly marijuana, but sometimes methamphetamine (“ice”) on weekends with his friends.

Joe wants to be more in control of his drug use, and sees counselling as a way to do this. Joe tells the counsellor to promise not to tell anyone about it as he wants to be selected for a Google internship when he finishes school.  This is the only reason he attends school, and has been a long held dream.

At the time of the referral, Joe’s father requested that the counsellor did not contact or discuss therapy with Joe’s mother. After the third session with Joe, the counsellor is contacted by Joe’s mother, who requests information relating to the services being provided and wants to know how Joe is progressing.

How would an ethical counselor address the ethical issues in this case?

Details of task for case study:

This assignment requires students to work through an ethical decision making model using the structure suggested by Steinman, McEnroe, & Richardson (1998).

Analyse the ethical dilemma in the case study using the following sub-headings to ensure that all steps are taken to reach a satisfactory decision. See the marking criteria for further detail of each element.

Step 1. Identify the ethical issue/s involved
Step 2. Ethical trap possibilities (i.e., objectivity, values, and circumstantiality)
Step 3. Preliminary response
Step 4. Possible consequences
Step 5. Ethical resolution

Self reflection: From the case study, outline which aspect/s of this dilemma do you anticipate would be the most challenging for you to deal with? Why?

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