Application: Addressing Ethical Issues

Counselors often face difficult decisions in their work that may have ethical ramifications. Ethical dilemmas span all areas of the counseling practice from record keeping and fee setting to confidentiality, privacy, and cultural considerations. For this Assignment you concentrate on cultural considerations that may pose challenges to ethical practice. (Culture is broadly defined here as the behaviors, traditions, and/or beliefs of any subgroup.) Select one of the two case studies below to use for this assignment. After analyzing the case study, consider how you might address the issues present using the codes of ethics put forth by either the American Counseling Association (ACA) or the International Association of Marriage and Family Counselors (IAMFC).

Review the case studies below before completing the assignment.

Case Study #1

Nitin and Priya Pathak came to your office for counseling, along with their 16-year-old son Sujay. Nitin and Priya are first generation Indian-American immigrants, while their son was born and raised in the United States. They were reluctant to engage in counseling, but are doing so at the request of Sujay. In Sujay’s view, his parents are being overly controlling regarding his upcoming choice of college, which is causing increasingly frequent clashes between him and his parents. Sujay wants to attend art school, while his parents want him to attend engineering school. They state that a career in science, religion, law, or medicine is the appropriate path for a person of his caste. Sujay claims that while he wants to please his parents, he feels they are stifling his passion and imposing cultural norms that, to him, are a part of their “world” and not his. You have little knowledge of Indian culture or the caste system and are unsure whether the issue at hand is a matter of controlling parents dealing with a life transition issue or a serious conflict involving social and cultural influences.

Case Study #2

Nicole and Julia explain to you that their relationship has felt strained lately and that they fear they are heading for a breakup. The couple explain to you that they have been in a long-term, non-monogamous relationship, but that lately, Nicole has expressed desire to change this practice. Julia feels that Nicole is “changing the rules halfway through the game” and that her sexual relationships with others are of no consequence to how she feels about Nicole. Their current relationship practice conflicts with your own personal opinion about the role of monogamy in relationships, and thus you feel conflicted about how to handle the situation.

The assignment (2–3 pages)

  • Identify the case study you chose and describe the ethical issue(s) present in it.
  • Explain how you would address each of these issues.
  • Justify your response using the appropriate ACA/IAMFC codes of ethics.

Support your Application Assignment with specific references to all resources used in its preparation. You are asked to provide a reference list for all resources, including those in the Learning Resources for this course.

Readings

  • Course Text: Gurman, A. S., Lebow, J. L., & Snyder, D.  (2015). Clinical handbook of couple therapy (5th ed.). New York, NY: Guilford Press.
    • Chapter 19, “Couple Therapy and Intercultural Relationships”
    • Chapter 18, “Gay, Lesbian, and Bisexual Issues in Couple Therapy”
  • Article: American Counseling Association (ACA). (2014). ACA Code of Ethics. Retrieved fromhttp://www.counseling.org/docs/ethics/2014-aca-code-of-ethics.pdf?sfvrsn=4
  • Website: American Mental Health Counselors Association. (n.d.). Transformation in action. Retrieved from http://www.amhca.org/
  • Article: Hernández, P., Rickard, J., & Giambruno, P. (2008). Transformative family therapy with a lesbian couple: A case study. Journal of Feminist Family Therapy, 20(4), 281–298.
    Retrieved from the Walden Library databases.
  • Article: Hendricks, B.E., Bradley, L. J., Southern, S., Oliver, M., & Birdsall, B. (2011). Ethical code for the International Association of Marriage and Family Counselors. The Family Journal, 19(2), 217-224.
    Retrieved from the Walden Library databases.
  • Article: Seto, A., & Woodford, M. S. (2007). Helping a Japanese immigrant family cope with acculturation issues: A case study. The Family Journal, 15(2), 167–173.
    Retrieved from the Walden Library databases.
  • Website: American Mental Health Counselors Association. (n.d.). Transformation in action. Retrieved from http://www.amhca.org/
  • Website: American Counseling Association. (n.d.). American Counseling Association. Your passion. Your profession. Our purpose. Retrieved from http://www.counseling.org/
  • Website: International Association of Marriage and Family Counselors. (n.d.). Excellence in couples and family counseling. Retrieved from http://www.iamfconline.org/

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