MENTAL HEALTH COUNSELING
At 18, Simone is a new mother who became pregnant while on a Spring Break vacation; she does not know who the father of her child is. Simone has few friends and dropped out of high school to care for her baby; she receives government assistance and has no immediate plans to return to school or look for a job. Her social worker has arranged for her to receive a grant for some short-term counseling in order to help her adjust to being a parent and to set some goals for the future.
Responding to Ethical and Legal Issues
Simone is estranged from her family and describes her early childhood as chaotic and abusive. Her mother was diagnosed with bipolar disorder and her father was alcoholic; they were barely able to hold jobs and the family was on welfare and frequently homeless. Simone says she was labeled with learning disabilities throughout school but does not remember receiving any help for them; she has a clear memory of overhearing a teacher describing her as having a low I.Q.
The counseling sessions focus mainly on Simone telling stories about her week; she is reluctant to explore her feelings and doesn’t understand why she would need to do any “counseling homework” between appointments. She says she has no real interests besides watching TV and listening to music and she has no idea about what she’d like to do in terms of a job or career. When pressed to talk about goals, Simone becomes irritable and changes the subject.
During one visit, Simone acknowledges that she sometimes smokes marijuana to help her cope with her anxiety and her inability to sleep. She indicates that she only smokes after her baby has been fed and is down for the night. She also admits that she has been selling marijuana to a neighbor in order to help pay for what she’s been using. “Otherwise, I wouldn’t be able to afford it myself, and I need to be able to relax so I can take good care of my baby!” Simone says her use of marijuana is temporary, and promises not to smoke more than two or three times a week. When asked if she’d like to use the next counseling sessions to learn some other ways to relax, Simone says that she’s not ready to do this.
The social worker has requested a brief summary of the progress Simone has made during her first 12 sessions in order to request additional counseling appointments. Simone gives permission for the report to be written, saying she doesn’t know what would happen to her or her baby if she couldn’t attend counseling sessions.
- Compare and contrast two ethical decision-making models. To aid in selection, first review: pages 14-17 of the Ethical, Legal, and Professional Issues in Counseling textbook and the readings included in the course from this unit. You can also choose an ethical decision making model from another current peer-reviewed article from a professional counseling journal of your choice. Some examples include: A Practitioner’s Guide to Ethical Decision Making (Forester-Miller & Davis, 1996; Intercultural Model (Luke, Goodrich, & Gilbride, 2013); and the Social Constructivist Model (Cottone, 2001). Analyze the effectiveness of these models and provide an example of how they might be used to resolve legal or ethical dilemmas when working with students or clients from diverse backgrounds.
- Apply your chosen decision-making model to the case you reviewed. If you were the counselor working with this case, discuss how you would apply each step of the ethical decision-making model you have selected to respond effectively to these legal and ethical issues.
- Include specific examples to illustrate the actions you would take at each step.
- Include the specific ethical standards and state laws that you would consult when determining your response to the situation. How would these laws and standards influence the choices you might make in responding to the situation?
- Describe how you would demonstrate developmental and cultural sensitivity when addressing the legal and ethical issues presented. Use specific examples to illustrate your ideas.
- Explain how your personal values and beliefs impact your understanding of the situation and the choices you might make when deciding how to respond to the legal and ethical issues that may arise in working with this client or student.
- Include at least two examples of specific values and beliefs you hold that may influence your reactions to this case and the actions you may take.
- Present at least two specific strategies that you will develop to address the influence that your personal values and beliefs may have on ethical decision making with clients or students.