Week 11 Discussion Assignment

Week 11 Discussion Assignment

Week 11 Discussion Assignment



Ethical Violations—When Things Go Wrong

Most complaints against clinical mental health counselors are in the areas of competence and conduct (e.g., client abandonment, sexual conduct, dishonesty); business practices (e.g., billing, reports, documentation); and professional practices (e.g., termination referrals, employment opportunities, nonprofessional relationships).

Specific information regarding ethical complaints to state licensure boards, despite its obvious importance, can be difficult to obtain. Complaints can be filed by clients, colleagues, attorneys, or some other interested party, such as an employer or parent of a client. The process of investigating these complaints is quite tedious and can lead to actions or sanctions against the counselor. This, in turn, can affect the counselor’s ability to practice. Clearly, no counselors are exempt from having complaints filed against them; therefore, the best protection is to maintain an ethical practice.

For this Discussion, use the Case Study Analysis Worksheet located in the Learning Resources for this week. Then select one case study from the ACA Ethical Standards Casebook and consider potential consequences of engaging in these violations and how you would safeguard against them in your own counseling practice.

Post by Day 3 a brief description of the case study you selected from the ACA Ethical Standards Casebook. Describe two ethical violations and two instances of professional misconduct presented in the case study. Explain one consequence that may result from each of these situations. Finally, explain what you would do to safeguard against each in your counseling practice.

Be sure to use the Learning Resources and the current literature to support your response.

Required Resources

Note: To access this week’s required library resources, please click on the link to the Course Readings List, found in the Course Materials section of your Syllabus.


    • Remley, T. P., Jr., & Herlihy, B. (2016). Ethical, legal, and professional issues in counseling (5th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson.
      • Chapter 13, “Professional Relationships, Private Practice, and Health Care Plans” (pp. 311-337)


  • Hendricks, B., Bradley, L. J., Brogan, W. C., III, & Brogan, C. (2009). Shelly: A case study focusing on ethics and counselor wellness. The Family Journal, 17(4), 355–359.
    Retrieved from the Walden Library databases.
  • Neukrug, E., Milliken, T., & Walden, S. (2001). Ethical complaints made against credentialed counselors: An updated survey of state licensing boards. Counselor Education & Supervision, 41(1), 57–70.
    Retrieved from the Walden Library databases.
  • Wilcoxon, S. A., & Magnuson, S. (2002). Concurrent academic and pre-licensure supervision: When supervision is not just supervision. Clinical Supervisor, 21(2), 55–66.
    Retrieved from the Walden Library databases.
  • Wilkerson, K. (2006). Impaired students: Applying the therapeutic process model to graduate training programs. Counselor Education & Supervision, 45(3), 207–217.
    Retrieved from the Walden Library databases.
  • Herlihy, B., & Corey, G. (2015). ACA ethical standards casebook (7th ed.). Alexandria, VA: American Counseling Association.
    • “Case Study 2: A Minor (?) Client” (pp. 150-153)
    • “Case Study 20: An Imposition of Values” (pp. 268-271)

Optional Resources

  • Magnuson, S., Black, L. L., & Norem, K. (2004). Supervising school counselors and interns: Resources for site supervisors. Journal of Professional Counseling, Practice, Theory, & Research, 32(2), 4–15.
    Retrieved from the Walden Library databases.
  • Welfel, E. R. (2005). Accepting fallibility: A model for personal responsibility for nonegregious ethics infractions. Counseling & Values, 49(2), 120–131.
    Retrieved from the Walden Library databases.
  • Wilcoxon, S. A., Norem, K., & Magnuson, S. (2005). Supervisees’ contributions to lousy supervision outcomes. Journal of Professional Counseling, Practice, Theory, & Research, 33(2), 31–49.
    Retrieved from the Walden Library databases.
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    Case Study

    The case study I choose to select was Case Study 2: A Minor Client. This case discusses a High School student named Tommy. Tommy was recently dismissed from the Baseball Team at his High School as a result of his behavior problems. During the time he was on the baseball team, he was involved in a verbal squabble with one of his teachers and than a fight occurred between him and a teammate. In additional to the recent changes in aggressive behavior, Tommy has begun to hang around with an familiar group of friends, that are labeled as trouble makers and drug users. Tommy’s parents are very concerned about his recent behavior and activities at school. Tommy’s grades are on a decline and his parents decide that counseling could help him in ways he may be struggling with (Herlihy & Corey, 2015). Week 11 Discussion Assignment

    Ethical Violation & Professional Misconduct

    In Tommy’s case there is evidences of drug use issues, as a counselor Ben has to ask himself is this activity create situations where Tommy behaviors in ways he didn’t before? In Section E.1.a of the ACA Code of Ethics (2014) discusses the important of assessments and its primary purpose in gathering information regarding the client for many different purposes from a client’s decision making, to treatment and planning. Assessments are either qualitative and or quantitative methodologies. Ben, the counselor did not ask enough appropriate questions during his assessment with Tommy to establish the severity of the issues he may facing. Ben attached a diagnosis on his client on the bases of information from family and not from Tommy. The second violation Ben had during this session with Tommy was the fact that he violated Tommy’s right by failing to make informed consent (ACA, 2014). During the session he had with Tommy, he is obligated to inform or alert him of the fact of becoming a legal adult and issues that could followed because of the submission of his diagnosis to the insurance company.

    Ben also had two instances of misconduct that were presented in the case study, the first being, Ben diagnosed Tommy with substance abuse from instances told by his parents, Ben didn’t consult with the family about a diagnosis and is afraid that let will follow him throughout his career. The ACA Code of Ethics (2014) Standard C.2.a. states that counselors practice only with the boundaries pf their competence, this is the second misconduct found in this case study. Tommy was not given the appropriate assessments that results in a found that Ben billed for.


    When counselors violate or have instances of professional misconduct, they can result to consequences like being sued or taken to court for malpractice. In Ben’s and Tommy’s case, Ben should have consulted with his supervisor or someone that is familial with issues like this. This is also considered fraud for the wrong or inappropriate diagnosis, this is when a counselor is found guilty of insurance fraud, by not being accurate and in honest.


    As a future counselor, there are many ways to safeguard against, misconduct and ethical violations. The first is to increase my understand of the ethics, this can be done through training, and seeking additional education. As a counselor I must know that if I am not trained in assessments and diagnosis that I should refer out, and let my client know their rights each time we began a new session and end one. Week 11 Discussion Assignment


    American Counseling Association (ACA). (2014). 2014 ACA code of ethics [White Paper]. Retrieved from http://www.counseling.org/docs/ethics/2014-aca-code-of-   bethics.pdf?sfvrsn=4

    Herlihy, B., & Corey, G. (2015). ACA ethical standards casebook (7th ed.). Alexandria, VA: American         Counseling Association. ◦“Case Study 2: A Minor (?) Client” (pp. 150-153).