Ethical dilemmas and multicultural issues are things that you will come across in your professional career. When we seek the assistance of a counselor in schools or in any other setting we want to know that what we share will not be shared with others. We want to feel comfortable and know that our standards and ethics will not be violated. While working in a school setting we came across Amy who is a 16 year old African American high school student. She went to talk to her high school counselor Mrs. Hill and revealed that she is pregnant but she wants the pregnancy terminated.
She has her boyfriend Michael support. Michael is 17 years and currently still in high school. Amy doesn’t want her mother to find out about her pregnancy. She feels her mother is already having a hard time because she works two jobs while to support her siblings as well as herself. Amy feels like a new baby in the home will only make things worse. Mrs. Hill gives her a lecture about premarital sex. Mrs. Hill also believes that this what Amy gets for not waiting for marriage. Mrs. Hill doesn’t believe in abortion and wants to contact Amy’s mother so that the situation can be resolved.
Later in the day she overhears her counselor addressing another counselor and discussing what she told her counselor in confidence. She also heard her counselor state, “teenage pregnancies are common in background such as hers. ” There are many things that can go wrong when addressing Amy situation without her consent or with other people. It is up to you to examine ethical codes and standards so that you won’t make mistakes in your professional career. There are several ethic codes and standards that are being violated by Amy’s counselor.
According to the Ethical Principles of Psychologist and Code of Conduct, Principle A Beneficence and Nonmaleficene states that “Psychologists strive to benefit those with whom they work and take care to do no harm” (APA, 2010). Psychologist much have the client’s best interest at heart. As a psychologists it is your job to not cause harm to your client, because as the client they are trusting you with helping them get back to where they need to be. One ethic code is that is being violated with this scenario is Standard 3. 01 unfair discrimination.
Standard 3. 1 states that “In their work-related activities, psychologists do not engage in unfair discrimination based on age, gender, gender identity, race, ethnicity, culture, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, disability, socioeconomic status or any basis proscribed by law (APA, 2010). When Amy overhears her counselor talking about her race with another counselor, this is clearly wrong. Your race shouldn’t have any effect on you talking to a counselor. Race is difficult to address in everyday life. When you talk to your counselor you want to feel like you have their complete trust so you can be able to talk to them so you can.
Her counselor discussing her race and her background is unacceptable and should be addressed. The next code that is being violated is Standard 3. 04 Avoiding Harm. Standard 3. 04 states “Psychologists take reasonable steps to avoid harming their clients/patients, students, supervisees, research participants, organizational clients and others with whom they work, and to minimize harm where it is foreseeable and unavoidable” (APA, 2010). Amy right know is in a vulnerable state that is why she seeks the help of her counselor. Her counselor on the other hand is not being very supportive.
She is trying to make Amy change her mind about having an abortion, pushing her beliefs on Amy. As a counselor is your job to listen to your client and not pass judgment. You need to check your values at the door because it is not about what you believe in or what you think is right. Yes you may have a difference of opinion but why you bring up that during their sessions. I believe as a counselor you are going to hear things that are not going to believe in, things that you never thought were possible, or things you feel are not right, but it is not your place to judge.
You took an oath and you must follow that oath in order to do your job. Standard 4. 01 maintaining confidentiality is violated when Mrs. Hill chose to discuss Amy situation with another counselor. Stand 4. 01 states, “Psychologists have a primary obligation and take reasonable precautions to protect confidential information obtained through or stored in any medium, recognizing that the extent and limits of confidentiality may be regulated by law or established by institutional rules or professional or scientific relationship” (APA, 2010). Confidentiality is important and as a counselor you should maintain a client’s confidentiality.
Patient confidentiality means that information received during that session should remain private. No other person should have access to that information. Anything that is discuss between nt and counselor is between them unless consent was given by the client. Mrs. Hill has clearly broken the confidentially rules and should be disciplined accordingly. The only time confidentiality agreement can be broken is when the client safety is of concern. Amy safety is not in question so all information gathered during her session should have stayed that way.