Exploring Ethical Dilemmas: Applying SRM's Decision-Making Model - Essay Sample

Paper Type:  Essay
Pages:  5
Wordcount:  1364 Words
Date:  2023-08-28


In this case, a professional counselor will be used to explore how these categories of people counter ethical dilemmas. Steinman, Richardson, and McEnroe's (1998) ethical decision-making model will be applied to solve the ethical dilemma that occurs from the profession's demands and Christian viewpoints and beliefs. The model constitutes stages, which include identifying the problem, ethical trap, making a preliminary response, evaluating ethical consequences, and preparing the resolution.

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The ethical dilemma is defined as the problem of choice between two possible moral imperatives and thus require ethical decision making, which is identified as the process of rational analysis of an ethical dilemma in the attempt to seek the most appropriate solution (Noonan). The ethical decision-making process follows a model which is anteceded to puzzle through the inherently complex dilemma. The most common ethical decision-making model is that of Steinman, Richardson, and McEnroe (1998), which is applied in the process of acquiring resolution to the ethical dilemmas. It is essential to note that the model does not make the decision, but the counselor does with the models.

However, they must incorporate personal characteristics, clinical experience, orientations, ethical training, and knowledge in the decision-making process. These personal attributes will, in a more substantial degree, influence the action or decision that the counselor will take. Besides, there exist other variables involved in the decision-making process, which include; conversancy with the profession's guidelines like the code of ethics, existing legislation governing the counselor's profession, community standards, cultural practices, and religious beliefs. The variables will primarily assist all through while working and consider the best interest of the client instead of solely providing solutions that are only based on avoiding legal and ethical infringements.

Christian viewpoint and faith are guided by the writings in both the New Testament and Old Testament of the bible, giving them a better understanding of God (Tinder). To some extent, Christianity viewpoints tend to contradict with professional requirements of counselors while practicing putting them into an ethical dilemma. There exists confusion between the ends in which work is put, and it is done, but the end of the work is usually decided by the religious outlook (Sayers). Generally, Christians are guided by the quotations from the bible emphasizing the teachings from the Ten Commandments to shape their behavior and decide between right and wrong. The ethical decision-making model is necessary and essential while counselors are practicing since it ensures the protection of the client, promotes quality care and Practice, counselor's development, and reflective Practice.

Most of the dilemmas that counselors usually encounter are as a result of confidentiality and privacy of clients’ information, which is regarded as an ethical issue (Kirschenbaum). An example of a dilemma to use is, during therapy, a client may disclose that they were involved in a criminal offense, for instance, robbery with violence. If the counselor is a Christian, they may think of reporting the client to the authorities because, according to the bible, stealing is wrong and a sin which will be punished. Besides, the Scripture states that God hates sinners. In this case, the counselor will be tempted to report this matter. Still, then according to the professional counselors' code of ethics, it is unethical to disclose information shared during a session with a client. Professional counseling bodies like the ACA Code of Ethics, National Counselling Society (NCS), UK Council for Psychotherapy (UKCP), and British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP), among others, emphasize the importance of maintaining confidentiality to promote trust with the clients.

For the counselor to acquire a resolution to the ethical problem, it is essential to follow the ethical decision-making model to evaluate the course of both actions and make the most appropriate decision with repercussions he/she will be in a position to bear. The counselors may find themselves falling into ethical traps, which will make the issue more complicated. Generally, an ethical trap arises when there exists two decision that has to be made where one is primary, and the other is secondary. Primary decisions lead to a secondary decision, which is inherently more complex to resolve. Therefore, the initial decision requires justification and a clear elaboration of the reasons behind the decision or the course of action. In this case, the counselor may fall into the ethical trap where disclosing the client's criminal action may lead to punitive action for infringement of the code of ethics. Further, if they decide not to reveal, then a sense of self-denial and betrayal will develop since, according to the Christianity belief, it is unethical not to report indecency. Besides, the counselor may argue that the code of ethics provides for the minimum standards and behavioral requirements from a practitioner, and collective moral character outdoes the code of ethics. The counselor will only move out of the ethical trap by re-evaluating their position and role in this matter.

The counselor should make preliminary responses considering the set values, principles, and personal moral qualities as required by the international counseling bodies as well as respect their attributes, including the religious belief. The ethical principles a counselor should emphasize are trustworthy, autonomy, beneficence, non-maleficence, justice, and self-respect. They should consider personal morals, including empathy, sincerity, integrity, resilience, respect, humility, competence, fairness, wisdom, and courage.

The counselor should evaluate the ethical consequences of both actions. The most likely impacts from reporting the client to the authorities are, if the client files a complaint on a confidential violation, then the practitioner may be punished through revoking of the counseling license, being aligned to court following litigation, and probably lose the job if he/she is an employee. On the other hand, if the counselor decides that he/she will not report the client's disclosure, they will have sinned since he/she will have acted against one of the biblical teachings on lying. Sins are ironic and concern our actions, behavior, and the nature of the setting people live (Tinder). According to the bible, in precise Revelation 21:8, the cowards, murderers, non-believers, sexually immoral, idolaters, and the liars will be exposed to the fiery lake of burning sulfur which is the second death. There is a clear elaboration that sinners will burn in hell, which is an issue that the Christian community emphasizes. Further, Mathew 13:50 states that the sinners will be thrown into a blazing furnace where they weep and garnish teeth forever.

The counselor should prepare ethical resolution where if the tends to be biased to any of the actions, then he/she will have both ethical and legal defense. What is meant is if the counselor decides that they must follow the Christianity viewpoint, then they should be ready to provide tangible evidence in defense of the code of ethics violation. If they chose to comply with the ethical legislations according to counseling professional bodies, then they must find a way of cleansing from the sins. In the part of the resolution, the counselor should consider whether currently, the criminal activity that was executed by the client is exposing people to risk. If not, then they should abandon the issue. Conversely, if the issue is likely to cause harm, we should consult legal practitioners and colleagues on how to handle the issue. Besides, the professional bodies provide for the guidelines to take since counselors have a significant role in crime prevention.


In conclusion, there exist numerous ethical dilemmas in the counseling profession. Most of them are caused by the profession requirements, which, to some degree, tend to contract with personal attributes like religious beliefs and morals. Christian viewpoints on ethical issues relatively differ from the professional guidelines. Therefore, the counselor must combine knowledge, experience, and skills acquired during training to tackle the complex problems during the interactions and treatment of clients.

Works Cited

Tinder, Glenn. Can We Be Good Without God? Regent College, 1993.

Sayers, Dorothy L. Why Work?

Noonan, Ellen. "The Responsible Counsellor and The Ethics Of The Counselling Relationship." Psychodynamic Practice, vol 23, no. 4, 2017, pp. 357-367. Informa UK Limited, doi:10.1080/14753634.2017.1391472. Accessed 10 June 2020.

Jenkins, Peter. Professional Practice in counselling and psychotherapy, SAGE Publications Ltd. 2017

Kirschenbaum, Howard, Values, and ethics in counseling and psychotherapy British Journal of Guidance & Counselling, vol. 43 Issue 3, 2015, pp. 372-375. DOI: 10.1080/03069885.2015.1017718.

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Exploring Ethical Dilemmas: Applying SRM's Decision-Making Model - Essay Sample. (2023, Aug 28). Retrieved from https://proessays.net/essays/exploring-ethical-dilemmas-applying-srms-decision-making-model-essay-sample

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