Clients’ and students’ rights and ethical behavior

Counselors who work with children and adolescents often need to balance their clients’ or students’ rights, their own views of moral and ethical behavior, and the demands of ethical codes and state laws.

Choose one of the following vignettes:

  1. A 13-year-old boy describes himself as being gay and discloses he has been sexually intimate with his 17-year-old friend LeRoy for the past 3 months. He is worried he may have a sexually transmitted disease. He wants your advice and support but does not want you to tell his parents.
  2. A 17-year-old girl reveals she is 4 months pregnant and is terrified to tell her parents or the father of the child; she believes they will force her to keep the baby. The girl admits she has already contacted a couple she found on the Internet to discuss placing the baby for adoption when it is born. She wants your help with her mood as she has been very sad and depressed.
  3. A 16-year-old boy who has an underlying medical disorder that causes chronic pain reveals he has been receiving medical marijuana from his dad who has a medical marijuana card. He wants your help communicating with his teacher who feels he has been distant and sluggish in class.

Now, answer these questions:

  • Is there anything in this vignette that is illegal? Cite your state law.
  • Is there anything in this vignette that is unethical? Cite the relevant codes from the 2014 ACACode of Ethics and/or the 2010 ASCA Ethical Standards for School Counselors.
  • Is there anything in this vignette that conflicts with your personal beliefs? If so, discuss strategies to help you maintain your professional role and objectivity.
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