|Monash University (MU)
|Ethics for counsellors Case Study
Case Studies for Assignment 2 (Term 4) Case Options
Case Vignette 1: Stevie
Stevie works for a community agency and has been seeing Obsa as a client for 6 months for counseling to support his adjustment following migration to manage acculturation stress and trauma. Obsa has a wife and two young children and they have recently been reunited following the lengthy and difficult immigration process. Obsa is seeking work to support his family and has had difficulties in securing interviews.
In their most recent session, Obsa asks Stevie to write a letter as a referee, stating that his counselor knows him better than anyone in this country and that this letter will be able to help him gain a job. The family is struggling financially and it is important for Obsa’s wellbeing that he finds employment soon. Stevie looks at the advertisement for the job and realises that the prospective employer is also their partner’s place of employment, where they hold a senior role. What are the ethical issues that Stevie is facing? What would an ethical counsellor do in this situation?
Case Option 2: Odette
Odette (she/her) is undertaking a placement at a private practice as part of her Master’s course in counselling. The practice is owned by Raqib (he/him), who provides supervision for Odette, and his wife Nila (she/her) who works as the practice manager. Raqib is so far very impressed with Odette’s progress and ability to connect with the clients she has seen at the practice. Unfortunately, referrals have slowed down in the past couple of months and Odette is finding it difficult to gain enough client contact hours, she is worried she may not be able to finish her placement on time.
Odette discusses this issue with Raqib during a supervision session. Raqib suggests Odette provides counselling for his 15-year-old daughter Aria, who is having some significant friendship difficulties at school as this will provide Odette with the experience and client contact hours she needs while giving Aria support at a difficult time. What should Odette do as an ethical counsellor?
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Case Option 3: Violet
Violet [she/her] is a counsellor in private practice, she has been seeing a client Henry [he/his] for a few months to manage his wellbeing during a separation period with his partner Charlie [they/them]. Today, Violet received an email from Henry out of the blue. Henry has requested Violet give him the notes from their sessions, he is concerned that they may compromise his right to care for his children during the separation.
Violet is an early career counsellor and has not had this kind of request before. She is uncomfortable about the request but wonders if she is compelled to give the notes to Henry. Violet is worried about her rapport with Henry if she refuses the notes, but she also feels vulnerable as a counsellor. It is possible that Henry may feel uncomfortable reading the notes. What are the ethical issues that Violet is facing? What would an ethical counsellor do in Violet’s position?
Case Option 4: Zara
Zara has started a new job as a wellbeing co-ordinator at a secondary school and she is the first trained counsellor that has been employed in this role. The principal outlines that all parents have signed a form upon enrolment allowing their child to see the wellbeing co-ordinator if they wish. On Zara’s first day, Tien, a 15-year old student drops in to Zara’s office to work through some issues he has been experiencing with his outside of school sporting team. A good rapport develops quickly between Zara and Tien. In the course of discussion, Tien reveals that he is same sex attracted, and he is romantically involved with one of his team mates. He has been experiencing relationship issues because his partner is angry that he and some of the others have been sniffing glue on weekends to “get away from their problems”.
The bell rings and Tien leaves abruptly as he has an important class test to attend, leaving Zara in her office with a racing heart. Later that afternoon, Zara receives an email from Tien’s teacher Mr. Lee, who asks for an update on how things went during the session, he is worried as Tien has been less attentive in class lately, and he saw Tien leaving the wellbeing office. The next morning, there is a message on the answering machine from Tien’s mother. Her son mentioned that he had seen Zara the day before, and she would like to be updated on his therapy progress. Tien has been quite irritable at home over the last month and she is very worried that something is wrong.
What would an ethical counsellor do in Zara’s situation?
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