Marcus provided a counseling session to a client who has been previously working with a colleague but have expressed that she does not want to work with her previous counselor. Marcus had already heard similar comments and observations but have no knowledge of the extent of the difficulties of the said counselor. He has also reported the said observations to their supervisor. Afterwards, Marcus was confronted by the said colleague asking why he had a session with her client.
Ethical Problem: Did Marcus behave ethically when he accepted a counseling relationship with a client who had been seeing another counselor? Analysis: By actually entering into a counseling relationship with the client, Marcus has accepted the allegations of the client that her previous counselor had been behaving erratically. Marcus’ decision to provide counseling to the client is based on the moral principle of beneficence and that is to contribute to the welfare of the client.
Obviously the other counselor has breached the principle of nonmaleficence due to the fact that her erratic behavior has only made clients feel unhappy and uncomfortable and not helped at all. However, the question still remains, was Marcus justified in taking over a client from another counselor? Facts: 1. A client wanted to change her counselor. 2. Marcus entered into a counseling relationship with a client. 3. The previous counselor did not know why the client did not schedule with her. Assumptions: 1.
The client felt that her previous counselor had been distracted, insensitive and sometimes hostile in sessions. 2. The previous counselor was experiencing personal difficulties. ACA Code of Ethics According to the American Counseling Association Code of Ethics (2005) under Section A, the counseling relationship, when a counselor learns that their client is in a professional relationship with another mental heal professional, the counselor must request release from the clients to inform the other professionals and strive to build a collaborative and positive relationship with the other professionals.
It is clear therefore, that Marcus had behaved unethically because he did not inform the client’s previous counselor that the client has transferred to him. Whether the previous counselor had been having problems or been behaving erratically, it did not justify Marcus decision. Consequently, Marcus should have not started a session with the client but instead informed the client of the proper protocol in terminating counselor-client relationship and then went on to inform the previous counselor before establishing any professional relationship with the said client.
As to the assumptions made by the client, Marcus only had to relay this to the supervisor and the supervisor would then be responsible for evaluating the performance and capability of the previous counselor.
American Counseling Association (2005). Code of Ethics. Alexandria, VA: Author.