1.) Identify the potential ethical issues involved in this case.
Among the potential ethical issues that may arise from this case are the psychologist’s competence, the confidentiality of the clients’ records, and the necessity of informed consent. First, the psychologist’s competence in the conduct of group processes may be an issue here since the workshop clearly involves multiple clients that may pose difficulties for a single therapist or psychologist in providing quality service to each individual client. Second, safeguarding the confidentiality of the clients’ records may be problematic since Lynn may be obliged by the principal who hired her for the workshop to turn over the results and minutes of the group consultation.
Accordingly, the psychologist’s integrity may also be challenged as she confronts pressure from the employer to report the not only the outcomes but also the process undergone in the workshop. (Hepworth, Rooney, & Larsen 60) The nature of the session may also result in breaches of confidentiality that are beyond Lynn’s control as the proceedings of the workshop could be a source of conversation and even become gossip-fodder for its participants. Third, informed consent could be an issue here since the participants of the workshop could have been pressured by the administration to attend or they might not be aware of the risks involved in their participation.
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The consultation relationship that defined in this case is that of the partnership between Lynn as the therapist and the group of teachers and administrators as client. On the other hand, while this may be an undertaking that they go through as a group, the psychologist or therapist must bear in mind the individual rights of the clients involved in the consultation process such as self-determination or the client’s freedom to choose solutions and alternatives for his or herself. Likewise, each individual client in this setting has the right to decline participation in the consultation process, to be properly informed of the advantages and possible disadvantages if they choose to participate, and for confidentiality to be safeguarded.
3.) Discuss the role informed consent plays in this case.
As previously discussed, the issue of confidentiality in this case may be more difficult to maintain given the nature of the workshop. Hence, informed consent plays a relevant role in ensuring that clients’ welfare is protected. It is Lynn’s responsibility to ensure that the participants of the workshop were properly informed of the risks involved especially in this case where other issues such as labor-management may arise.
4.) Discuss the main ethical considerations that need to be taken into account when entering into consultation relationships.
Accordingly, therapists and other professionals involved in helping relationships should always take into consideration their primary ethical responsibilities to ensure that the helping relationship established between the therapist and client is as close to the ideal as possible. (Butler & Gardner, 209) Ethical practice therefore means putting client’s rights and welfare at the fore of the relationship and considering key ethical issues including a) client self-determination, b) confidentiality, c) informed consent, d) maintaining professional boundaries, and e) integrity. These ethics are interrelated. Client self-determination underlines the importance of involving the client as much as possible in the consulting process from goal-setting to setting the expectations of the relationship and this underlines the relevance of informed consent and confidentiality. Corey, Schneider-Corey, & Callanan (2007) stress the importance of informing the clients and participants of the consulting process on all aspects of the consultation particularly the “goals and purpose of the consultation, the limits to confidentiality, the potential benefits, any potential risk, the potential outcomes of intervention, and their freedom to decline to participate in the consulting process.” (386) Likewise, maintaining professional boundaries and ensuring confidentiality enables the client to be freely share his or her thoughts, issues, and other sensitive information with the therapist because of the knowledge that this is a professional relationship established and that the professional therapist would safeguard his or her personal information (Hepworth, Rooney, & Larsen 65). Thus, the therapist is also able to practice integrity and honesty in his or her dealing with the client.
Butler, M.H. & Gardner, B. C. (2001). Ethics and the ideal helping relationship: Response to Hill and Mamalakis. Family Relations, 50(3): 209-214.
Corey, G., Schneider-Corey, M. & Callanan, P. (2007) Issues and Ethics in the Helping Professions (7th ed.) Belmont, CA: Thomson Brooks/Cole.
Hepworth, D.H., Rooney, R.H. & Larsen, J. (2006). Direct Social Work Practice: Theory and Skills (7th ed.) Pacific Grove, CA: Brooks/Cole.
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