Ethics and Counselor

3763 Words Jul 31st, 2010 16 Pages
Case Vignette1: Jessica
Jessica is sixteen years old, and is sent to the school counselor following concerns from her year level coordinator. Jessica is finding it difficult to concentrate in class, is continuously late to school, and often arrives to school disheveled and unkempt. The coordinator is concerned about what may be happening at home with Jessica, and that she may be getting involved in a notoriously bad circle of friends in the area known for drug taking and other delinquent activities. Although reluctant during the first few sessions to disclose anything much, Jessica begins to trust the counselor and opens up about her frequent drug use. She says she used to only smoke marijuana, but that now this had increased to weekly
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Counselors are sensitive to the cultural diversity of families and respect the inherent rights and responsibilities of parents/ guardians over the welfare of their children/ charges according to law. Counsellors work to establish, as appropriate, collaborative relationships with parents/ guardians to best serve clients.
Ethical trap possibilities:
There being not enough information about the counselor in the case, to ascertain the possibility of a values or objectivity trap.
Circumstantiality: Jessica is a minor but she is 16, which is a bit of a grey area between being a child and adult and depending on Jessica’s psychological development, the counsellor may fall into a Circumstantiality trap and procrastinate about informing her parents.

Preliminary response:
Jessica is a minor and her parents are stake holders in her well-being. Drug abuse is a major clinical and life issue and her parents deserve to be informed. Having said that, the counselor should discuss it with Jessica first and sensitively deal with her inevitable resistance. The counselor should inform her of her duty to take the parents into confidence and draw her attention to the limits of confidentiality and also the informed consent process that she must have gone through at the beginning of the therapy.
How to deal with this disclosure depends on her own state of mind and her family situation.
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