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An Ethical Decision-Making Model


Given the fact that ethical dilemmas may not always be readily resolved through the use of codes of ethics, it might be useful to have a framework in which to analyze and make ethical decisions. The following ethical decison-making model comes from the work of Corey et al. (1998).

Step 1: Identify the problem.

Step 2: Identify the potential issues involved.

Step 3: Review relevant ethical guidelines.

Step 4: Know relevant laws and regulations.

Step 5: Obtain Consultation.

Step 6: Consider possible and probable courses of action.

Step 7: List the consequences of the probable courses of action.

Step 8:
Decide on what appears to be the best course of action.

It is extremely important that you keep your immediate supervisor and all involved parties informed during this process. After you have made your decision, take some time to reflect on the process and to review what you have learned with a trusted supervisor or colleague.

How do you think this model is helpful in the resolution of ethical dilemmas? How might the model be improved? Try applying this model to an ethical dilemma that you have experienced or try one of the cases included in this module.
Now that we have looked codes of ethics and how they apply to counseling and humans services, we will now look more specifically at how ethics apply to clinical supervision in counseling and human services. This is not meant to be an exhaustive treatment of the subject. For a more thorough treatment, see Chapter 9 in Bernard and Goodyear (1999). Then next section of the module will focus on some of the key ethical issues that surface may during the clinical supervision process.