Scenario Imagine that you are on a team of counselors who have been called in to provide consultation. You begin your work by interviewing trainees…


Imagine that you are on a team of counselors who have been called in to provide consultation. You begin your work by interviewing trainees at the site. Your first interview is with Kara, a master’s level student at her local university who is doing an internship at the agency. Kara states that her most puzzling client is an Eastern European male named Dominik; he has been in the United States for about a year on a work visa and is working hard to “blend in.” Dominik sought counseling because his employer suggested that it might help him be less distracted at work improve his ability to complete tasks. Kara states that she diagnosed Dominik with ADHD because he was having difficulty sitting still and focusing, but she did not refer him for a medical evaluation.

Kara expresses confidence that things are going well because when Dominik arrives for his appointment, he says, “Hey Doc!” and gives her a kiss on the cheek. Dominik schedules appointments over his lunch hour so he will not miss work, and he brings Kara lunch so she can eat too. Kara wants Dominik to feel welcome and comfortable, so she accepts what he brings. Sometimes they sit outside if the weather is nice. Kara says she believes that fresh air is good for the wellbeing of her client. Kara confides to you that yesterday, Dominik asked if they could meet at a restaurant instead of eating at the office. Kara says she felt a little funny about this but she said, “Yes.”

Kara also discloses that recently Dominik “friend-requested” her on Facebook and LinkedIn, both of which she accepted. Kara enjoys talking to Dominik and finds him to be good company. He has only four more sessions of counseling left at the agency and she hopes they can still be friends after he completes treatment.

When you ask to review Kara’s case notes, you do not see a supervisor’s signature. Kara says she told her internship supervisor that things are going well so she does not feel the need to staff this case; she states that they agreed that Kara could exercise her own professional judgment. On the treatment plan, you see that Kara states that she is using a directive approach and supplementing it with humor therapy, which she read about on the Internet. She describes this approach as “common sense counseling,” but she is not able to articulate why it will be helpful for Dominik or discuss the evidence that this approach helps clients get better. When you ask Kara how she knows her counseling sessions are benefitting Dominik, she says, “Well, he keeps coming back, so it must be worth his while, right?”

Using your text, the Web sites for the ACA and AMHCA ethics codes, the ACA Ethical Decision-Making Model, and the Calmes, Piazza, and Laux (2013) article assigned in this unit’s studies, draft of your conclusions regarding this case that you will review with your consulting team. In your post, complete the following:

  • Detail at least two potential ethical violations in this case that may harm the client, citing a specific standard of one or more of the ethical codes for clinical mental health counselors.
  • Identify a potential ethical violation that may be harming Kara.
  • Identify two potential ethical violations that may result in harm to the profession.
  • Discuss ways in which Kara’s practices may harm the accountability and credibility of counselors.
  • multi-step plan for the agency to follow in re-aligning its interns’ and superiors’ clinical work with professional standards
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