Read the following Case Study:
Joe, a 35-year-old, male mental-health counselor, received a client referral, 35-
year-old Jill, from a community-counseling clinic. He began providing counseling
services to her. Jill’s problem was that she was unsatisfied with her current job as
a bank teller and was experiencing mild anxiety and depression. Joe had been
providing services to Jill for three weeks when she disclosed that she was
confused about her sexuality because she was sexually attracted toward women.
Joe immediately responded to Jill with wide eyes and a shocked look. He told Jill
that he was a traditional Catholic, who felt that this type of feeling was immoral
and wrong. He informed her that she should avoid thinking about this and pray
for forgiveness. He also told her that he felt uncomfortable talking about the issue
any further. Jill continued to talk to Joe about dealing with her family issues.
Joe had recently read about a new technique and immediately became excited
about trying it in therapy. He explained to her that he read an article in a
magazine about a new technique called rebirthing. The new technique was being
used in Europe to help people change their views about their relationships with
their family. “It is supposed to be really effective in almost wiping out your
memory of your family; it is like hypnosis” Joe said. “I would really like to try it on
you today, what do you think?” Jill declined his offer and continued to talk about
her family. Joe thought to himself that even though Jill said no, he was still going
to try to hypnotize her as they talked. He thought she could benefit from
Jill disclosed that she was raised in a traditional Asian-American home with many
cultural influences and culture-specific rules and behavior. Jill was struggling with
balancing her individualism and her cultural heritage. Joe explained to her that
because he was living and working in a rural community, mostly consisting of
people of East European descent, he could not relate to Jill’s culture and the
issues with which she was struggling. He apologized and explained that he was
not required to study these cultural issues because of his geographical location.
Jill moved on to talk about her depression. She began talking about feeling lonely
and how it contributed to her depression. During a counseling session, she
revealed that she was attracted to Joe and would like a closer, intimate
relationship with him. Joe, aware that he was also attracted to Jill, talked about
his feelings toward her but explained that engaging in a relationship outside the
established counseling relationship was unethical. He informed her that because
of the mutual feelings of attraction, the counseling relationship would be
ineffective and that he would refer her to another counselor for continued
services. Jill agreed and they terminated the counseling relationship. Jill asked
for time to think it over and left the office. Later, she contacted him to continue
counseling and to discuss the referral. Joe agreed to meet her that evening at a
restaurant and bring her the referral information. That night they began an
intimate sexual relationship.
Joe never got around to providing the referral for Jill even though he was aware
of her ongoing state of depression and anxiety. Joe stopped seeing Jill after a
month of intimate sexual encounters. Joe enjoyed the relationship but felt guilty
due to the unethical nature of the relationship. Because of his continued concern
about Jill’s depression, Joe considered going to his current clinical supervisor to
discuss the case. However, he decided against it and never contacted her. This
was because he and his supervisor had recently started a sexual relationship,
and he knew it would hurt the supervisor’s feelings if she knew of his sexual
relations with Jill.
Joe decided to call Jill’s boss at the bank to check on her and see how she was
doing. He called her boss and explained that he had been counseling her for
anxiety and depression and wanted to check if she was feeling fine. Her boss
informed Joe that Jill had quit her job and was in the county hospital undergoing
treatment for severe depression. Joe quickly hung up and decided not to call or
visit the bank again. After thinking it over, Joe decided that general counseling
might not be for him. He decided to begin marriage and family therapy. He
ordered some business cards and advertised in the yellow pages. He thought,
“after all, I am a health counselor and it can’t be hard to counsel a couple. You
don’t need anything special. I already have one degree, and that’s enough!”
Examine the ACA’s ethical guidelines (http://www.counseling.org/Resources/aca-code-of-ethics.pdf) related to the issue of Supervision in Section F and answer the following questions:
- Was the counselor’s behavior with his clinical supervisor a breach of ethics on the counselor’s part?
- Was the counselor’s behavior with his clinical supervisor a breach of ethics on the supervisor’s part?
- Examine the influence of your own personal values as it relates to the issues presented in the case.
- Compare this violation to the APA’s ethical standards and describe the similarities or differences in the ethical code, using the following Web site:
- Imagine you are a member of the ACA ethics committee. Recommend appropriate behavioral codes for counselors with reference to relationships with clinical supervisors.
Your response should be at least two pages long.