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Counseling Ethics Case Study

896 words - 4 pages

In the case study of Gwen, there is one major problem presented. That problem is whether it is ethical for a supervisor to counsel his supervisee. I think that Gwen is going through the grieving process after learning about her mother’s condition and is in a vulnerable spot. She feels like she cannot continue her work with hospice patients because of personal feelings. Ken thinks that Gwen is a great therapist and does not want to see her give up. He also feels like he would be the most effective person to give Gwen counseling, because of their trusting relationship. I think that this would be a bad idea and could cross professional boundaries. The Ethical Guidelines for Counseling Supervisors strongly suggest against a supervisor entering in a psychotherapeutic relationship with supervisees. It is important to limit the possibilities of a dual relationship. Dual relationships can easily become unethical and present problems or possible harm to the client, which in this case is the supervisee. They can also create dependency or have unfavorable symbolic meanings. I also do not think it was a good idea that the counseling happened in the supervision sessions. This time should be spent on improving knowledge and helping clients. Spending most of the supervisor sessions working on personal problems could potentially harm the progress and well-being of the supervisee’s clients. My reaction to Ken blending the roles of supervisor and counselor is that it was not a good, professional, decision. He has entered a dual relationship with Gwen that could potentially cause harm to her or create a conflict of interest. Since Ken is Gwen’s supervisor, he has more power over the relationship than Gwen does. This power can easily be abused by Ken, even if that was not his intent. Gwen might feel pressured into counseling or continuing her work with Ken because he is an authoritative figure to her. He might also present a biased decision because he thinks Gwen is a great counselor and does not want to see her quit, which could be the best thing for Gwen’s well-being. There was another way of dealing with this situation. Ken should have referred Gwen to another therapist to work on her problems and let her decide what the best path to choose is. He should have respected the professional boundaries of his career and known that the situation he was entering was potentially unethical. Extending the boundary beyond supervision can complicate the supervisory relationship. The same types of ethical issues still apply, if Ken had recommended to Gwen that she temporarily discontinue her field placement, and enter therapy in his private practice. He still has the establishment of the supervisor-supervisee relationship with Gwen; it is just temporarily on hold. It still creates a dual relationship that can potentially be harmful and the conflict of...

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