School Counseling: A Case Study in Ethical Decision Making

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Whilst working in a remote area I observed a year nine indigenous student (Lorena Bannard) and a teacher (Bill James), alone together after school hours. I considered this could be an unprofessional situation. I spoke to Bill later regarding the situation and he replied, “I’m helping her with some family problems, and I’m concerned about the effect it’s having on her school work”. I suggested he refer Lorena to the Guidance Officer. During the initial interview with Lorena, I explained what was talked about in the interview was confidential, unless an unlawful act or event occurred, or if someone could be harmed. (Geldard & Geldard, 2005). I explained to her that as a counsellor I had a duty of care to her, which is part of the Child Protection act. This acts protects children from others and sometimes themselves. In the first interview, Lorena seemed suspicious and guarded, and I had to be cautious building a relationship with her. It was important to be congruent and show genuine interest by listening to her. Geldard & Geldard (2002) stated “children are very good at recognizing people who are not congruent”, (p, 38). Lorena is the eldest of four children; her mother is a single parent, unemployed, and Lorena reports that her mother is a drug and alcoholic addict. The father left the family and community ten years previously, and has not contacted them since. Over several interviews Lorena, disclosed a dysfunctional family environment where she and her siblings were at risk of neglect. Her mother left Lorena to prepare her siblings for school, prepare meals, and look after the housework; thus effecting her physiological growth and schooling. In the final interview, Lorena disclosed that Bill went to her h... ... middle of paper ... ...development. Summer 2000. Vol.78 pp. 279. Van Hoose, W.H. (1980). Ethics and counseling. Counseling & Human Development, 13(1), p 1-12. Van Hoose, W.H. & Paradise, L.V. (1979). Ethics in counseling and psychotherapy: Perspectives in issues and decision-making. Cranston, RI: Carroll Press. Watson, Z. E. P., Herlihy, B. R., Pierce, L. A. (2006). Forging the link between multicultural competence and ethical counseling practice: A historical perspective. In Counseling and Values, 50, 99-107. Welfel, E.R. (1998) Ethics in counselling ands psychotherapy: Standards, research and emerging issues. Pacific Grove, CA. Brooks/Cole. . In Journal of counselling & development. Summer 2000. Vol.78 pp 279. Welfel, E. R., & Lipsitz, N. E. (1984). The ethical behavior of professional psychologists: A critical analysis of the research. In The Counseling Psychologist, 12, 31-42

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