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Ethical Decision-Making Models in Clinical Supervision

Teaching ethical decision-making models to LPC Associates during clinical supervision is essential for fostering ethical competence and guiding ethical practice in counseling. It also helps to reduce your liability. Here are explanations of three popular best practice models of ethical decision-making that can be effectively taught in clinical supervision:

The Four-Step Ethical Decision-Making Model (Forester-Miller & Davis, 1996):

This model provides a systematic approach to ethical decision-making and is widely used in counseling practice and training. It consists of the following steps:

  • Step 1: Identify the Problem: Begin by clearly identifying the ethical issue or dilemma faced in the counseling situation. Consider all relevant factors, including legal, ethical, cultural, and personal aspects.

  • Step 2: Apply Ethical Codes and Standards: Consult relevant ethical guidelines, such as the ACA (American Counseling Association) Code of Ethics or state licensing regulations. Identify specific principles and standards that apply to the situation.

  • Step 3: Consider Stakeholders and Alternative Courses of Action: Reflect on the potential impact of different courses of action on all stakeholders involved, including clients, colleagues, and the counseling profession. Explore alternative solutions and their consequences.

  • Step 4: Implement and Evaluate the Decision: Make a well-informed ethical decision based on the analysis of the problem and available options. Implement the chosen course of action and evaluate its effectiveness and ethical implications over time.

This model emphasizes a thorough and systematic approach to ethical decision-making, guiding LPC Associates in navigating complex ethical dilemmas in counseling practice.

The Kitchener's Five-Principle Approach (Kitchener, 1984):

Developed by Patricia Kitchener, this approach focuses on five key ethical principles that guide ethical decision-making in counseling:

  • Autonomy: Respecting the rights of clients to make informed choices and decisions.

  • Nonmaleficence: Avoiding harm and promoting the well-being of clients.

  • Beneficence: Acting in the best interests of clients and promoting their welfare.

  • Justice: Ensuring fairness and equality in the treatment of clients.

  • Fidelity: Upholding trustworthiness, honesty, and integrity in professional relationships.

LPC Associates can use these principles as a framework for analyzing ethical dilemmas and making ethical decisions that prioritize client welfare and professional integrity.

The Multidimensional Ethics Scale (MES) (Gallagher & VandeCreek, 2008):

The Multidimensional Ethics Scale (MES) is a comprehensive framework that integrates multiple dimensions of ethical decision-making in counseling. It includes the following dimensions:

  • Societal Standards: Considers societal norms, laws, and ethical guidelines.

  • Professional Standards: Considers professional codes of ethics and standards.

  • Personal Values: Considers the counselor's personal values, beliefs, and moral principles.

  • Client Values: Considers the values and preferences of the client.

  • Theoretical Orientation: Considers the counselor's theoretical approach and ethical implications.

LPC Associates can use the MES to assess ethical dilemmas from various perspectives and dimensions, promoting a holistic and nuanced approach to ethical decision-making in counseling practice.

In teaching these or other ethical decision-making models during clinical supervision, LPC supervisors can facilitate discussions, case analyses, and role-playing exercises to help associates apply these models to real-world counseling scenarios. By integrating these best practice models into supervision sessions, LPC Associates can develop the skills and confidence needed to navigate ethical challenges effectively and ethically in their counseling practice.

...supervision matters.

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