Luke, age 37 is an African American male who has been referred to a community mental health agency by his primary care physician after Luke reported he was depressed and angry that his wife left him for another man. Luke, has never received any mental health services and is not keen on attending any type of counseling, but is willing to “give it a try”. When Luke arrives for his intake session he realizes he has been assigned to Susan, a young, Caucasian female counselor and is not happy about this. Luke reluctantly enters the counseling room, sits down in the chair as far away from Susan as possible, stating, “There is no way you can possibly understand what is going on with me. You are too young and no white person will ‘get’ where I am coming from as a black man.”
Applying Reamer’s (2005) ethical decision model below, please explore Susan’s ethical dilemma as related to her competence to treat Luke and also consider possible discrimination that Luke may have experienced in the past.
1 – Identify the conflicts between the ethical and legal expectations and requirements, including the social work values and duties that conflict.
2- Identify the individuals, groups, and organizations that are likely to be affected by the ultimate ethical decision
3- Tentatively identify all possible courses of action and the participants involved in each, along with possible benefits and risks for each
4 – Thoroughly examine the reasons in favor of and opposed to each possible course of action, considering relevant (a) ethical theories (for example, deontological and teleological perspectives), principles, and guidelines from literature on professional ethics; (b) codes of ethics (especially the NASW pr ACA Code of Ethics); (c) constitutional provisions, statutes, regulations, court decisions, and executive orders; and (d) personal values (including religious, cultural, and ethnic values).
5 – Consult with colleagues and appropriate experts (such as professional colleagues, supervisors, agency administrators, attorneys, ethics scholars and consultants, agency-based ethics committees).
6 – Make the decision and document the decision-making process.
7- Monitor and evaluate the decision.
Additionally in thinking about Luke and Susan’s case, what are some specific cultural considerations unique to the African American community which might influence Susan’s role as a counselor based on our reading and research?