Week 7 Discussion 1

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Discussion 1: Minor Clients

Counselors often work with children and adolescents; people who have cognitive, emotional, and/or physical disabilities; and people in prison or on probation. It is important to keep in mind the issues of informed consent and assent for treatment with all clients, but especially for those clients from vulnerable populations. There are other ethical issues that may require special attention when working with vulnerable populations such as confidentiality (e.g., exclusions to confidentiality), parameters to disclosure (e.g., HIPPA and working with minors in school and non-school settings), and the legal status of relationships within a family (e.g., legal dependents, legal guardianship, marriage, and custodial/noncustodial parents).

For this Discussion, review the ethical and legal requirements related to counseling minors. Reflect on potential courses of action.

Post by Day 2

two ethical and legal challenges related to counseling minors. Then, explain the potential course of action you may take to address them. Use the codes of ethics to support this action.

Be sure to use the Learning Resources and the current literature to support your response.

Required Resources


  • Herlihy, B., & Corey, G. (2015). ACA ethical standards casebook (7th ed.). Alexandria, VA: American Counseling Association.

    • Chapter 6, “Counseling Minor Clients” (pp. 205–207)
    • Chapter 8, “Working With Clients Who May Harm Themselves” (pp. 231–237)
  • Remley, T. P., Jr., & Herlihy, B. (2016). Ethical, legal, and professional issues in counseling (5th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson.

    • Chapter 11, “Counseling Children and Vulnerable Adults” (pp. 264-288)
    • Chapter 12, “Counseling Families and Groups” (pp. 289-310)
  • Diaz, A., Neal, W. P., Nucci, A. T., Ludmer, P., Bitterman, J., & Edwards, S. (2004). Legal and ethical issues facing adolescent health care professionals. Mount Sinai Journal of Medicine, 71(3), 181–185.Retrieved from the Walden Library databases.
  • Duba, J. D., & Magenta, M. (2008). End-of-life decision making: A preliminary outline for preparing counselors to work with terminally ill individuals. The Family Journal, 16(4), 384–390.Retrieved from the Walden Library databases.
  • Lawrence, G., & Robinson Kirpius, S. E. (2000). Legal and ethical issues involved when counseling minors in nonschool settings. Journal of Counseling & Development, 78(2), 130–136.Retrieved from the Walden Library databases.

  • Document:

    Case Study Analysis Worksheet (Word Document)

Case Studies

  • Herlihy, B., & Corey, G. (2015). ACA ethical standards casebook (7th ed.). Alexandria, VA: American Counseling Association.

    • “Case Study 11: A Legal Guardian Presses for Confidential Information” (pp. 207)
    • “Case Study 12: A Pregnant Teenager: A School Counselor’s Quandary” (pp. 211)
    • “Case Study 15: Suicide or a Well-Reasoned End-of-Life Decision?” (pp. 237)

Optional Resources

  • Crespi, T. D. (2009). Group counseling in the schools: Legal, ethical, and treatment issues in school practice. Psychology in the Schools, 46(3), 273–280.Retrieved from the Walden Library databases.
  • McCurdy, K. G., & Murray, K. C. (2003). Confidentiality issues when minor children disclose family secrets in family counseling. The Family Journal, 11(4), 393–398.Retrieved from the Walden Library databases.
  • Miller, C. P., & Forrest, A. W. (2009). Ethics of family narrative therapy. The Family Journal, 17(2), 156–159.Retrieved from the Walden Library databases.
  • Sommers-Flanagan, R. (2007). Ethical considerations in crisis and humanitarian interventions. Ethics & Behavior, 17(2), 187–202.Retrieved from the Walden Library databases.
  • Waggoner, E. A., Howard, R., & Markos, P. A. (2004). Ethical considerations for people who are homeless and mentally ill. Guidance & Counseling, 19(3), 132–138. Retrieved from the Walden Library databases.

Week 7 Discussion 1
Working With Minors Counselors often times work with children and adolescents. It is very important to keep in mind any ethical and legal dilemmas that can arise in these sessions with minor clients. This population is extremely vulnerable during sessions and may not fully understand their rights during treatment. With so many potential legal and ethical issues. Ethical and Legal Challenge As a professional counselor on ethical dilemma I believe could come up is understanding confidentiality. Confidentiality is the building block for trust in a therapeutic setting. Diaz et al (2014) define confidentiality as the principle that any information a client discloses will not be talked about to others without his or her permission and consent. When working with minors, a clear understanding of when they share something that is potentially putting themselves or others in harm they must know and understand confidentiality to limited in order to protect them. A counselor has to find that balance of respecting the trust in sessions but also protecting the client and others. This becomes a legal issue becomes in many states parental consent is not required if a minor wants to receive counseling (Herlihy & Corey, 2015). This is when section A2.a comes into play for the AVA code of ethics (2014), informed consent is the rights and responsibilities of both counselor and clients. This is extremely important because it falls but on both the client and counselor. As a counselor informed consent must be explained to a client in a way that they fully understand and often times is repeated through out the sessions. As a counselor, another major ethical challenge with working with children is understanding and setting the right boundaries for a therapeutic relationship. Many children like to express their affection but touch. This is considered boundary crossing because they are entering someone’s else personal space without consent. This becomes a potential issue for children who have been sexual abused because they are putting themselves in potential harms way. In regards to boundaries with minors there is not only a ethical but legal concern as well. In the ACA Code of Ethics i(2014) section A.6.b. talks about extending counseling boundaries. An example of this is attending a client’s formal ceremony like graduation. There are appropriate professional precautions that must be taken in order to ensure judgment is not impaired and no harm occurs. Course of Action As a professional counselor if any of the above ethical or legal issues were presented with a client my first course of action would be to seek advise for collage or take a look the ACA Code of Ethics. Especial in regards to managing and maintaining boundaries and professional relationships. This section talks about the ethical challenges a counselor may face and in what ways to prevent harm. For a counselor who accepts a request from a client to attend a graduation ACA states, informed consent, consultation, supervision and documentation is need to ensure no harm occurs to the relationship between client and counselor. (ACA, 2014). When counseling minors section A.2.d. in ACA Code of Ethics is also important to note, for individuals who have an inability to give consent. A counselor must recognize the need to balance the ethical rights of the client to make choice, their capacity to give consent and parental or legal rights and responsibility. References American Counseling Association (ACA). (2014). 2014 ACA code of ethics [White Paper]. Retrieved from http://www.counseling.org/docs/ethics/2014-aca-code-of-ethics.pdf?sfvrsn=4 Diaz, A., Neal, W. P., Nucci, A. T., Ludmer, P., Bitterman, J., & Edwards, S. (2004). Legal and ethical issues facing adolescent health care professionals. Mount Sinai Journal of Medicine, 71(3), 181–185.


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