This paper is an analysis of a hypothetical vignette in which a counselor-in-training named Callie, a fairly experienced and nearly-licensed counselor supervisee, approaches her counselor supervisor for advice and direction regarding an ethical dilemma. The purpose of this paper is to identify the ethical and legal implications of the dilemma along with an optimal solution to ethically resolve the issue.
Using the Forrester-Miller and Davis Decision Making Model
Ethical dilemmas are situations that are difficult to navigate and include making a difficult choice. The Forrester-Miller and Davis Decision Making Model (1996) is a systematic approach to examine a situation and find an ethical, workable, and reasonable solution to a dilemma. The Forrester-Miller and Davis Model is often used in the counseling field for decision making because it implements Kitchener’s five moral principles and it easily adapts to the American Counselor Association’s Code of Ethics (2005) (Neuer, Michel, Davis, & Slaughter, 2011).
The Forrester-Miller and Davis Decision Making Model (1996) has seven steps. These steps are outlined in the subsequent sections (Forrester-Miller & Davis, 1996).
Identify the Problem
Callie is a month away from earning her Licensed Professional Counselor license in the Commonwealth of Virginia. She has been working with clients for several years and currently serves as a counselor for an agency in Virginia. Her agency’s director requested that Callie provide him a weekly list of the individuals she counsels along with a comprehensive list of other professionals she consults regarding her clients. The director told Callie he needs this information to provide to the Community Service Board (CSB). This is the primary ethical dilemma in the hypothetical vignette.
Callie informs her counseling supervisor that the agency’s director has a reputation for sharing information provided to him in confidence including patient diagnosis. The director also works with outside professionals and gives them referrals in exchange for extravagant gifts. Additionally, Callie has witnessed the director’s secretary sharing confidential patient information with other staff members. Callie is justifiably concerned that by sharing client information she will not only be violating confidentiality, there is a good chance that her client’s private information could be shared by the director and by his secretary. These external circumstances cause concern for Callie and, while they are presented as part of the ethical dilemma, the ultimate issue is the ethical dilemma of protecting client confidentiality. Callie is responsible for the initial decision of whether or not to disclose confidential client information to the director for his CSB report.
Callie is fearful that if she does not comply with the director’s request, she will be considered ‘insubordinate’ and may lose her job. At the same time, she knows that to turn over confidential client information would...