Reflection On Issues And Ethics

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Issues and Ethics: Reflection Paper Assignment
Fareeha Ikram

Ethical Dilemma:

1. You are working with a man who has a history of suicide attempts and has been hospitalized on more than one occasion. He tells you that he has found it very hard to get help in the past, because whenever he tells a counselor he is feeling suicidal they immediately call for help and he is hospitalized. He tells you that at those times he really just needs someone to talk to and wishes he could find a counselor he could confide in when he is feeling suicidal who would not call an ambulance and seek psychiatric help for him. He is a very high risk for suicide given his past attempts and frequent thoughts that include a detailed plan. He tells you that he wants to tell you something but is worried about how you will react. He wonders if he can tell you and if you can promise that you will just help him and not involve emergency services, if you cannot make that promise he will not tell you.

Part A

1. Step One: Identify the problem

The presenting problem is that as the counselor to a man with a history of suicide attempts and hospitalization, I’m in a situation where he has asked me to promise to not report any information he confides in me to emergency services.

The major participant in this situation is the man as his life and safety are at risk, given his troubling history, and as the counselor, it is my responsibility to help and support him. Therefore, I must use this 8-step ethical decision making model to decide the best course of action to solve this ethical dilemma. 2. Step Two: Identify the potential issues involved

The issues involved are ethical and legal. First of all, choosing to remain quite in this situation can be a form of enabling, but it will respect the client’s promise. But, if I were to report this to emergency services, I would be violating the client’s confidentiality and his trust. This is a moral and ethical issue. This issue is also legal in nature because while counselors must maintain confidentiality, as per certain provincial and territorial laws, there is a “duty to protect/warn/inform” in case of imminent danger to the client, even when it is inflicted by one’s own self.

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