Models of Ethical Decision Making

Categories: Decision MakingEthics
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As a counselor it is common to come across certain issues that make you question whether you are making the right decision or not. Many counselors have methods they use when they are faced with these challenges, but how does one decide which method is fit for them. Counselors must make sound ethical decisions but, often, determining the appropriate course to take when confronted with difficult ethical dilemmas can be a challenge (Forester-Miller &Davis 2001). Ethical decisions making plays a major role in the counseling profession, because the counselor becomes responsible for everything the client does ethically and legally.

Forester- Miller, Davis, and Corey have very similar decisions making models. Forester-Miller and Davis came up with a seven-step decision making model that focused on the ethical problem and the consequences that may come about while trying to work through it. The Steps are, identify the problem, apply to the American Counseling Association Code of Ethics, determine the nature and dimensions of the dilemma, generate a potential course of action, consider potential consequences and determine a course of action, evaluate the selected course of action, and implement the course of action.

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A group of licensed professional counselors were surveyed in 2000 on what decision making model they preferred using when dealing with clients. 61. 9 percent of counselors chose the Forester-Mill and Davis’s model (Elwyn, Gray, & Clarke, 2000). It is clear that this model has evolved into one of the top choices for counselors when dealing with ethical issues and clients. Corey however came up with his decision making model based on eight steps.

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Identify the problem, identify the potential issues involved, review relevant ethical guidelines, know relaxant laws and regulations, obtain consultation, consider possible and probably course of action, list consequences of the probable action, decide on what appears to be the best course of action. Researcher Vandecreek believed that Corey’s model worked best for clients who were fully invested in the counseling process (2006). He also believed that Corey’s model was most beneficial when the therapeutic relationship was strong.

Forester-Miller and Davis’s model and Corey’s model differ in many aspects. Corey focuses more on the client and how they will be able to adjust to the course of action chosen. This logic seems as if it would help the counseling relationship because the client is somewhat included in the process. Forester-Miller and Davis on the hand focus more on appropriateness and keeping the decision making process consistent from client to client (Knapp & VandeCreek, 2006). They also focus on evaluating the consequences of both the potential and selected course of action.

Answering the questions that fall below each section of the models really helps one decipher between which choices one should make. In both models the early steps are consistent with one another by first identifying the problem then relating the problem to the Code of Ethics. Corey’s model has a separate section for obtaining consultation while Forester-Miller and Davis’s model included consultation with generating potential course of actions. Obtaining consultation is time consuming and prolongs the decision-making process but can be supportive when choosing the best course of action based on the clients needs.

I believe that both models can work hand and hand at any given time, since they are similar in content. Choosing the best decision making model for the client is important. It is essential that counselor’s thoroughly research what course of action they will be taking. My preferred model of choice is the Corey Model. Although the consultation portion of the model may be time consuming I believe that it is crucial that you seek help from others that have more experience than you. Also the client is the primary focus in the Corey model, which I presume will be better for the therapeutic relationship in the long run.

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Models of Ethical Decision Making. (2016, Oct 03). Retrieved from

Models of Ethical Decision Making

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