Identify a potential ethical violation that may be harming Lorena
This discussion will require you to draw on several competencies you have acquired as you have progressed through this course.
Consider the following scenario:
Imagine that you are on a team of counselors who have been called in to provide consultation for the Common Sense Counseling community agency. On their Web site and on social media sites, Common Sense Counseling describes their approach as “a fresh, new approach to changing lives” having a high rate of success (based on numerous testimonials), and displays friendly pictures of everyone who works there.
You begin your work by interviewing trainees at the site. Your first interview is with Lorena, who is doing an internship at the agency. Lorena mentions that her most interesting client is an Eastern European male named Dominik; he has been in the United States for about a year on a work visa. Dominik sought counseling, because his employer suggested that it might help him get along better at work and improve his ability to complete tasks. Lorena notes that she gets along fine with Dominik but diagnosed him with ADHD, because he was having difficulty sitting still and focusing. She did not refer him for further evaluation.
Lorena expresses confidence that things are going well with the case. Dominik schedules appointments over his lunch hour, so he will not miss work, and he bringsï»¿ extra food to share with Lorena. Lorena wants Dominik to feel welcome and comfortable, so she accepts what he brings. Sometimes they sit outside if the weather is nice, Lorena notes, because she believes that fresh air is good for the well-being of her client. Lorena confides to you that yesterday, Dominik asked if they could meet at a restaurant instead of eating at the office. Lorena says she felt a little funny about this but agreed to it, thinking that it was consistent with the friendly approach of the agency.
Lorena also discloses that recently Dominik sent her a friend request on Facebook, which she accepted. He has only four more sessions of counseling left at the agency, and she hopes they can still be friends after he completes treatment.
When you ask to review Lorena’s case notes, you do not see a supervisor’s signature. Lorena explains that because things are going well, she has not felt the need to staff this case. Apparently, the supervisor agreed that Lorena could exercise her own professional judgment. On the treatment plan, you see that Lorena describes using a directive approach and supplementing it with humor therapy, which she read about on the Internet. She describes this as “common sense counseling,” but she is not able to articulate why it will be helpful for Dominik or discuss the evidence that this approach helps clients get better. When you ask Lorena how she knows her counseling sessions are benefitting Dominik, she says, “Well, he keeps coming back, so it must be worth his while, right?”
Using your text, the Web sites for the ACA and AMHCA ethics codes and the Calmes, Piazza, and Laux (2013) article assigned in this unit’s studies, prepare a draft of your conclusions regarding this case that you will review with your consulting team. In your post, complete the following:
- Detail at least two potential ethical violations in this case that may harm the client, citing a specific standard of one or more of the ethical codes for clinical mental health counselors.
- Identify a potential ethical violation that may be harming Lorena.
- Discuss ways in which Lorena’s practices may harm public perceptions of the accountability and credibility of counselors.
- Prepare a multi-step plan for the agency to follow in re-aligning its interns’ and supervisors’ clinical work with professional standards.