School Counseling: A Case Study in Ethical Decision Making Essay

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Whilst working in a remote area I observed a year nine indigenous student (Lorena Bannard) and a teacher (Bill James), alone together after school hours. I considered this could be an unprofessional situation. I spoke to Bill later regarding the situation and he replied, “I’m helping her with some family problems, and I’m concerned about the effect it’s having on her school work”. I suggested he refer Lorena to the Guidance Officer. During the initial interview with Lorena, I explained what was talked about in the interview was confidential, unless an unlawful act or event occurred, or if someone could be harmed. (Geldard & Geldard, 2005). I explained to her that as a counsellor I had a duty of care to her, which is part of the…show more content…
Identify the problem This case had several ethical, legal and professional ramifications, including aspects of cultural differences between non-indigenous and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander clients. There is a requirement for counsellors to actively understand the diverse cultural backgrounds, and differences in behaviour of their clients; stated in; The Australian Counselling Association (ACA-Au., 2008); Code of Conduct (2, 2.1), American Counselling Association (ACA, US, 2005), Code of Ethics (A.2c; B.1a; c.2a) and Education Queensland (EQ) Code of Conduct (1994) 2.1.1, and Education Queensland (EQ) (2008) Ethical Code, and Watson, Herlihy & Pierce, 2006. Confidentiality Confidentiality was explained to Lorena, and also the exceptions in which, confidentiality would have to be breached. Lorena was asked if she understood this, she replied “Yea”. ACA (2005, Section, 2.3.3.1. Breaching the confidentiality and therefore trust between Lorena and myself in this instance, was necessary and unavoidable, ACA, 2.3.4.1, (2008), and 2.3.4.3 and ACA, , B.2a, B.2c(2005). Legally Bill James had breached the EQ’s (2008) Code of Conduct (2.3.3.1) in suspected breaches of this code, “the principal must be informed immediately of any suspected harm to a student” (p. 5), (EQ) Student Protection Policy, SMS-PR-012; section 365. The Queensland Child Protection Act, (1999),

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