10 Nov You will write a research paper of 8 pages, reviewing the literature on a specific ethics dilemma. 1) You will choose an ethical dilemma from one of your choice. 2) Do your own researc
You will write a research paper of 8 pages, reviewing the literature on a specific ethics dilemma.
1) You will choose an ethical dilemma from one of your choice.
2) Do your own research to develop how you would ethically respond to the ethical situation you have chosen.
3) Using the attached example, follow the steps in the attachment for you writing your paper.
Running head: ETHICAL ACTION PLAN 1
[Student’s Name Omitted]
[INSTRUCTOR NOTE: While this is a great example of how to write your Ethical Action Plan,
it is not perfect and contains a few APA 6th formatting errors, as well as various issues with
mechanics and/or writing style. The purpose of providing this to you is to demonstrate the
level of detail and the thoroughness with which you should approach your own plan.
This material is the intellectual property of another individual and permission to use this
paper in this fashion has been granted to Amridge University by the author. Using this paper
for any use other than the academic purposes stated above may constitute plagiarism or an
ethical violation and result in disciplinary actions.]
ETHICAL ACTION PLAN 2
This is the case of Nicholas, a fourth-grade student who is facing difficulties at school;
something that has not happened before. Based on the information from his mother Juanita, she
suffers from domestic violence at home, which has probably caused a lasting effect on Nicholas,
at school. Differences between his parents and the fact that his father moved out of the home, did
not go well with Nicholas, who is now having anger outbursts, resulting in fights both at home
and school. To make matters worse, his school performance is deteriorating. Through
counseling, Nicholas has revealed a lot of information regarding what is happening at their
home. He has also changed his behavior and showed signs of improvement in other areas.
Nicholas’ parents are not on good terms. His father Russell is demanding information from the
therapist concerning Nicholas and his mother’s sessions. He is threatening to bring an attorney if
the therapist does not give him what he wants. He furthers states that Juanita is trying to get full
custody of the children, so needs to know what the counseling sessions are about.
The main issue is confidentiality and if the therapist should share with Russell what
Nicholas disclosed to the counselor, or should the counselor keep quiet, even when faced with
legal threats. Another issue the counselor faces is whether or not Juanita is being honest in
keeping this counseling information from Russell; and if this is the right thing to do.
At the end of this paper, I would like the reader to understand the ethical requirements
that a counselor should abide by, even in situations where one feels they are doing something
wrong. I would like to show how important confidentiality is in counseling and why it is
important to put the needs of the patients first.
ETHICAL ACTION PLAN 3
Identifying the problem
The main problem in this scenario is confidentiality, where the counselor is faced with a
tough decision of whether or not to inform Nicholas’ father of the counseling session details.
Nicholas is showing progress in his behavior and school interaction through counseling. An
agreement is put into place between Nicholas and his mother that the counselor should not
disclose the counseling session details to his father. However, Russell vows to continue
pressuring the counselor for information and threatens to report the counselor if she fails to
This is an ethical issue since Russell asking the counselor to go against the will of the
client and give him information about their sessions. The ACA Code of Ethics requires
counselors to maintain the privacy of patients’ information unless their consent is given. He is
attempting to intimidate the counselor by using threats of taking legal action, instead of seeking a
court permit to be given access to this information. Because of Russell’s domestic violence
actions, this kind of information should be kept from him since this can harm the progress of the
minor. Russell’s history of violence might ruin chances of improvement in Nicholas’ counseling
Application of the Code of Ethics
The primary purpose of counselors is to facilitate growth and foster the welfare and
interests of their clients. According to the ACA Code, Section A.1., it is the sole responsibility
of the counselor to protect the welfare and dignity of the clients involved. In this case, it is the
counselor’s duty to ensure that Nicholas improves in school (meeting the necessary
requirements), can manage his anger issues and develop well. Therefore, the counselor must
make sure nothing gets in the way of the client’s recovery and improvement. Section A.4 also
ETHICAL ACTION PLAN 4
requires that the counselor should ensure that they avoid imposing values that might harm the
clients, due to what they believe is wrong or right. In this case, the counselor should not
demonize Nicholas’ father, but rather encourage Nicholas that all will be well and that his father
might change with time.
Section B. of the ACA Code of Ethics states that counselors must recognize that trust is
the cornerstone of a counseling relationship (Herlihy, 2014). Based on this as a counselor, it is
important that they make sure that they do not break their trust by disclosing the counseling
information to Russell even though he is pressing the issue and threatening legal action against
the counselor. Furthermore, Section B.1.c of the ACA Code of Ethics states that counselors
should not disclose client’s confidential information without appropriate consent or any legal
jurisdiction to do so. The pressure from Nicholas’ father to disclose information has no legal
authority. Furthermore, with strict instructions from the client and his mother of non-disclosure,
the counselor has no reason to share this information even though the client is a minor.
Section C of the ACA Code of Ethics states that counselors are supposed to be ethical
and honest in dealing with other professionals in public. Based on this, it is important as
professionals to ensure that we create a harmonious relationship with others so that we do not
violate the Code of Ethics. In this instance, the counselor is faced with the challenge of dealing
with Nicholas’ father, who is equally frustrated while facing a divorce. Despite the fact that the
counselor is feeling uncomfortable, she is still able to act professionally by informing him that
his son is faring well. Although Russell has threatened to report the counselor to the ACA Board
of Ethics Committee, the counselor maintains her stance on upholding the ethical standard.
ETHICAL ACTION PLAN 5
Nature of the Dilemma
In this case study, various moral principles and dilemmas come into play. The code of
ethics provides guidance and standards in which counselors are governed by. In this case, the
counselor would like her client to grow up in an environment that does not involve violence or
put a strain on him; causing him to have anger outbursts and fights both in school and at home,
Nicholas needs a positive role model in his life to set examples of healthy relationships.
Therefore, it is the therapist’s moral duty to counsel and guide him to become a better person.
Non-malfeasance is a moral principle based on professional ethical behavior in which
counselor avoids actions that might cause the client harm. Nicholas is involved in fights at school
because this is the behavior that he sees at home. He needs to refrain from this kind of behavior
because it can cause problems in his personal relationships and possibly affect him later in life.
Fidelity is a moral principle which states that a counselor should strive to honor their
promises and make sure that they fulfill their responsibilities. The counselor’s sole responsibility
is that her client, Nicholas makes considerable progress and can adjust his behavior and learn
how to manage his anger. In order for this to take place, the counselor cannot tolerate situations
that might ruin his chances of improvement.
Beneficence is another law which means that the counselor is working for the benefit of
the client; she acts in the client’s best interest. In the counseling sessions with Nicholas and his
mother, it was very important to make sure that Nicholas understands that people do not resolve
issues by fighting. Nicholas should be comfortable confiding in the counselor about his feelings.
It is critical in ensuring that the counselor eliminates any discrepancies in this counseling
session, so that she can help re-build a positive attitude and way of thinking in Nicholas.
ETHICAL ACTION PLAN 6
One particular article that I read talks about children who live in homes where domestic
violence is very common. According to this article, these kids have been forgotten, silent and
termed secondary victims of domestic violence (Richards, 2011). However, according to a recent
study, the effects of this exposure have become increasingly recognized. This article describes
that violence in Australia can be witnessed by several ways such as hearing, injuries, seeing
parents arrested and many more actions. All this shows that these effects are very much harmful
to the child in such a setting (Carlson, 2000). This information is considerably important, and
various interventions are being proposed by this article to avoid this scenario without parental
knowledge. The article has incorporated a lot of valuable data and comparison of researched
information on the major areas that affect the growth of children. Data from this article is well
documented and the information regarding its impact is also presented. Furthermore, the article
has tried to compare this data from Australia with those from other parts of the world, and the
results have been found to be the same. The way information from various areas, plus
interventions and creation of laws to protect the children show how well information has been
incorporated to address this issue. The adverse effects of exposure have been well researched and
documented to back up these claims. This article best explains what Nicholas was facing, from
exposure to this form of violence. It is understandable why he is portraying the same behavior to
others in the classroom through fighting and anger outbursts.
Despite being only estimates, it is considered that a huge number of children are exposed
to domestic violence. The focus has been mostly on women, but children too face this problem
for an extended period of time and as such, this prevalence is very high in the modern day. This
ETHICAL ACTION PLAN 7
article discusses the current limitation of the sensitive data regarding the prevalence of the
children that are exposed to domestic violence (Fantuzzo, 1999).
Limitations come in many ways and thus making this research on problems that children
face methodological problems. Children sometimes are influenced and cannot give firsthand
information that makes this kind of the investigation very reliable. A variety of factors based on
this article, which acts are variables such substance abuse; children’s ages affect the credibility
and the chances of getting relevant information (Edleson, 1999). The article documents scientific
research studies that have identified important steps that can be crucial in getting research data
that can address the gaps available.
Counselors who often provide services to those people affected can give an exact number
of domestic violence cases that gets reported to them. However, counselors are people whose
work is based on trust and honesty; therefore, getting this data is sometimes a difficult task. Their
ethical codes bind them from disclosing their client’s information; and if violated could result in
a sanction (Williams, 1997). These ideas have opened new ways through which information can
be obtained, and therefore before any study, social workers can be requested to provide relevant
information that is essential for the study. Allowing access to data on domestic violence can help
people understand how this information can be a substantial key to ensuring that these impacts
are reduced to the extent that is manageable, and the education on this is made readily available
Possible Courses of Action
The course of actions varies so here are a few ideas that can help in solving this issue:
• Declining to provide the information to the father. Allowing him to go ahead with the lawsuit
or whatever measures that he feels the need to pursue. As long as the counselor is performing
ETHICAL ACTION PLAN 8
their duties professionally and their actions are in line with the code ethics, I don’t think that
there will be anything for the counselor to worry about.
• By choosing to act autonomously. The actions of the father seeking to get information about
his son/wife’s counseling session can possibly jeopardize their progress.
• Choosing to ignore the father despite all his threats. Apart from being violent, his action is
not to be emulated and as such should be kept far from Nicholas. These are meant to protect the
client from further witnessing any form violence between the divorcing parents.
• Asking co-workers or supervisors how to deal with this issue. By getting insight from others,
the counselor will be able to make sound decisions regarding the most effective way to deal with
this issue of confidentiality in the family.
• Talking to the parents about the Code of Ethic standards and professionalism and why there is
a need to uphold it. By having a discussion and explaining to the father about this decision, he
might be able to understand why this information is being withheld.
The first course of action was purposely identified because Nicholas’s father thought the
counselor was acting unprofessionally by withholding information. It may be possible for the
father to talk to his lawyer to get information on the code of ethics that governs the counselor’s
Acting autonomously is the freedom of choice to do what is right, and in this situation,
keeping this information confidential can protect Nicholas from blame. Giving the father
information can lead to deeper issues within the family.
Seeking for advice from colleagues and getting valuable information from experienced
counselors can be crucial to solving this family’s dilemma of domestic violence and divorce.
ETHICAL ACTION PLAN 9
Talking to the parents and having them sit down for the sake of their son can help resolve
this issue. Through counseling, the father can learn of the impact and effects of domestic
violence on children and how this can be avoided. Furthermore, he may see that involving the
ACA will not help him secure the counseling session notes/details for Nicholas and his mother.
Chosen Course of Action
Bringing the parents to the table and informing them of the decision to keep their son’s
counseling session information confidential is the plan that I opted to implement for this
situation. From this course of action, the client will face little challenges. However, incidences of
violence will be eliminated, and the children will not have these behavior issues, such as fighting
and poor class performance. Nicholas’ parents will leave the meeting with knowledge of how
important it is to avoid domestic violence and more specifically, not to fight in front of their
children. The counselor will close the session/case as a professional who has performed her
duties well, without compromising her beliefs or the ethical standards that she vowed to uphold.
Justice: This course of action is fair to the client who is the priority in this case, as he will
improve over time. The parents should be held responsible for their actions and to learn to raise
their children in an environment that will foster love and peace within the family.
Publicity: This approach will eliminate the issue of lawyers publicizing the issue of
domestic violence and divorce, which could cause the healing process to take longer for all
parties involved. Through these settlements and agreements, it saves the client from public issues
that might further aggravate the situation, given the progress he has made.
Universality: The course of action will take into consideration various factors, such as
aggression and hostility; and challenge the father to stop any form of violence, especially where
ETHICAL ACTION PLAN 10
children are involved. When those negative behaviors are eliminated, it will create a culture of
peace, which will reduce the violence that is a common phenomenon in the world.
The course can be evaluated through getting information from the child regarding the
current environment at home. At home, Nicholas’ behavior can be observed and recorded to
identify the progress he has made. At school, teachers can provide valuable information
regarding his performance and behavior around other students. Comparing the current
information with the previous information will help in determining whether this course of action
worked or not. Feedback from those around him can also provide the needed information
regarding what was implemented and how effective this it was.
The purpose of this paper was to ensure that confidentiality of a client should be guarded
well given the fact that this is a job dependent on trust. As a counselor, this paper shows how
important it is to uphold the ethical codes and standards, and how professional counselors can
determine the progress of a patient. Readers should understand the laws regarding confidentiality
and the necessity to respect a client’s wishes. Parents’ actions can affect children in either a
positive or negative way, and in order for them to live healthy, happy lives, they need to be
reared in a healthy and loving environment.
ETHICAL ACTION PLAN 11
Bemak, F., & Hanna, F. J. (1998). The twenty-first century counselor: An emerging role in
changing times. International Journal for the Advancement of Counselling, 20(3), 209-
Bent-Goodley, T. B. (2004). Perceptions of domestic violence: A dialogue with African
American women. Health & Social Work, 29(4), 307-316.
Carlson, B. E. (2000). Children exposed to intimate partner violence research findings and
implications for intervention. Trauma, Violence, & Abuse, 1(4), 321-342.
Edleson, J. L. (1999). Children's witnessing of adult domestic violence. Journal of interpersonal
Violence, 14(8), 839-870.
Fantuzzo, J. W., & Mohr, W. K. (1999). Prevalence and Effects of Child Exposure to Domestic
Violence. THE FUTURE OF CHILDREN, 22.
Herlihy, B., & Corey, G. (2014). ACA ethical standards casebook. John Wiley & Sons.
Holt, S., Buckley, H., & Whelan, S. (2008). The impact of exposure to domestic violence on
children and young people: A review of the literature. Child abuse & neglect, 32(8), 797-
Kaplan, D. M., Kocet, M. M., Cottone, R. R., Glosoff, H. L., Miranti, J. G., Moll, E. C., …
&Tarvydas, V. M. (2009). New mandates and imperatives in the revised ACA Code of
Ethics. Journal of Counseling and Development: JCD, 87(2), 241.
Richards, K. (2011). Children's exposure to domestic violence in Australia. Trends and issues in
crime and criminal justice, (419), 1.
Weithorn, L. A. (2013). Protecting Children from Exposure to Domestic Violence: Use & Abuse
of Child Maltreatment Statutes.
ETHICAL ACTION PLAN 12
Williams, M. H. (1997). Boundary violations: Do some contended standards of care fail to
encompass commonplace procedures of humanistic, behavioral, and eclectic
psychotherapies?. Psychotherapy: Theory, Research, Practice, Training, 34(3), 238