Ethical Dilemma

Ethical Dilemma Title: The Client (John) shows his appreciation for his counsellor by getting tickets to the theatre for him/her.   John says “I have got tickets for you so you can go and enjoy it and have a good time.”   The tickets are for Starlight Express and the counsellor would love to go.


      It brightens the day of any care provider when a client presents them with a personal gift.   These thoughtful items express sincere appreciation and are evidence of a solid, trust-based provider-client relationship.   However in my opinion, there is a significant ethical difference between accepting small gifts of appreciation versus gifts of financial value, in this case the tickets.   Section 2.1 of the IACP Code of Ethics and Practice deals with ethical awareness, and Clause 3.4.1 states that practitioners shall use a systematic procedure for making ethical decisions.

      Using Bond’s six-step Solving Model was straightforward, however, step three (Consider all available Ethical Principles and Guidelines) sought the most conflict with me.   Reading the IACP Code of Ethics, I found it difficult to find anything to help us in this area.   My interpretation of section 4.3 (conflict of interests and exploitation) was that it could be perceived as exploitation now or in the future which could affect the client/counsellor relationship adversely affecting their treatment/progress this stood true to my values and beliefs and that of the group.

      I was reminded that where ethical decisions can be complex and difficult, and different ethical principles may be in conflict, the best decision comes from considering issues systematically.   We determined that while the client may be expressing appreciation with this gift, he may also be attempting to curry special consideration or feel some pressure to please the provider.   I considered it important to explore the meaning and conscious or unconscious intent of the gift with John.  In my belief the...