Ethics Corner Fall 2003

In each publication of Professional Issues in Counseling, we will present an ethical case vignette and ask for feedback from the journal readers. Responses can be sent by e-mail to The responses will be included in the next issue of piic.

Case Vignette #1:

An LPC working for a nonprofit counseling center is counseling a family. The parents of a 15 year old girl request counseling for their daughter whose grades significantly dropped over the past six weeks. She received failing progress notes in math, science, and language arts. Their daughter has always been a good student and has never received a failing grade in any subject. The parents are very concerned and believe their daughter is depressed. The counselor began seeing the entire family, which consists of a paternal grandmother, the couple, and three children. The identified client is the oldest daughter and second born child of the couple. After the third session, the mother calls the counselor and wants to discuss the progress of their daughter. The counselor tells the mother that the problem is much more complicated than their daughter and prefers to discuss it in front of the entire family. Has the counselor acted ethically?

Explain your answer.

Case Vignette #2:

A new counselor in a middle school has been counseling a fifth grade student who shares that she has been seriously beaten by her mother. After the session, the counselor goes to the principal and shares the information. He tells the counselor not to report this to Family Protective Services because there are no visible signs of a beating. He continues that this child has a history of making up stories and can lie with a straight face. The counselor feels uncomfortable but decides to respect the request of the principal. Has the counselor acted ethically? Explain your answer.