ethical issues of counseling

Benchmark Reaction Paper Assignment Instructions


Understanding the professional, ethical, and legal implications of value-based referrals are important before making decisions to refer clients to another counselor. This assignment will help you learn to objectively evaluate literature and ACA’s position on value-based referrals. Reflecting and examining your values are essential when facing a values-based conflict. This assignment aims to explore the professional and ethical issues of counseling when counselor-client value differences exist within the therapeutic relationship.



To begin this assignment, you will need to access and read the following sources, the first 3 of which can be found in the Module 2: Week 2 Learn section:


  1. Kocet and Herlihy’s article on values based ethical decisions: Kocet, M. M., & Herlihy, B. J. (2014). Addressing value‐based conflicts within the counseling relationship: A decision‐making model.Journal of Counseling & Development92(2), 180-186.
  2. The American Counseling Association’s (ACA) position on referrals: Martz, E., & Kaplan, D. (2014). New responsibilities when making referrals.Counseling Today57(4), 24-25.
  3. Sells, J. N., & Hagedorn, W. B. (2016). CACREP accreditation, ethics, and the affirmation of both religious and sexual identities: A response to Smith and Okech. Journal of Counseling & Development, 94(3), 265-279.*

*For this article you need to focus on the material starting on page 273 at “Embracing the Tension of Humanity” to the end.


Your paper must be in current APA format including a title page and reference page. The paper should be 3–6 pages in length. (This does not include title page and reference page). Your paper must cite all articles.


Divide your paper into the headings below and address each question under each heading:


Summarize (1–2 pages)

In this section, summarize what you have read by condensing the three articles. Prove that you have comprehended the material by writing a clear, brief summary of the main points of each source. A summarization is not a commentary; rather, it is an insightful précis of the longer, more elaborate article. It must provide a clear overview of the material.


Reflect (1–2 pages)

In this section reflect on what you just read and answer the following questions:

  • Having read the articles, what new realizations and/or questions occurred for you?
  • How do you feel about the ACA’s position of not referring clients based on value differences?
  • Because referrals based on value differences are not ethical under the American Counseling Associations (your profession) ethics codes, read the list below of common populations and problems encountered in counseling. What personal and professional dilemmas, around specific populations or problems, might this pose for you?

Population List


____1.   A person with fundamentalist religious beliefs.

____2.   A woman who says that if she could turn her life over to Christ she would find peace.

____3.   A person who shows little conscience development, is strictly interested in his/her own advancement, and uses others for personal gain.

____4.   A gay or lesbian couple wanting to work on conflicts in their relationship.

____5.   A man who wants to leave his wife and children for the sake of sexual adventures with other women.

____6.   A woman who has decided to leave her husband and children to gain independence.

____7.   A woman who has decided to get an abortion but wants to process her feelings around it.

____8.   A teenager who is having unsafe sex and sees no problem with the behavior.

____9.   A high school student who is sent to you by his parents because they suspect he is using drugs.

____10. A person who is very cerebral and is convinced that feelings are a private matter.

____11. A man who believes the best way to discipline his children is through spanking.

____12. An interracial couple coming for premarital counseling.

____13. A high school student who believes she is a lesbian and wants to discuss how to “come out” to her parents.

____14. A gay or lesbian couple wanting to adopt a child.

____15. A man who has found a way of cheating the system and getting more than his legal share of public assistance.

____16. A woman who comes with her husband for couples counseling while maintaining an extramarital affair.

____17. A man who believes internet sex can be a creative way to express sexuality.

____18. A couple who believe that sex with multiple partners is okay.

____19. A man convicted of pedophilia and court-ordered for counseling.

____20. A woman who makes her living as an exotic dancer.

____21. A man convicted of domestic violence.

____22. A woman whose children have been removed by Child Protective Services.

____23. A man recently released from jail after serving a sentence for rape.

____24. A man with terminal cancer who wants to discuss stopping all treatment to hasten his death.

____25. A woman who believes in an egalitarian marriage.

*Modified from Corey, G., Cory M.S., & Callanan, P. (2011). Issues and ethics in the helping professions, 8th ed. Belmont, CA: Brooks/Cole.



Act (1–2 pages)

In this section put into action what you have just learned/realized as a result of the reading. Specifically address these questions:

  • What actions or changes are you going to make as a result of this information?
  • Who and what might you consult to assist you in resolving any personal/professional dilemmas that remain for you?

After you have completed your paper, follow the steps below to submit your draft via the Turnitin link, for checking plagiarism, and your final copy to the grade book for grading:


Step 1: Submit your paper via the Turnitin draft link by 11:59 p.m. (ET) on Thursday of the assigned module.


Step 2: Wait until the link indicates that Turnitin has analyzed your paper and prepared a report.


Step 3: Evaluate the Turnitin report by opening the report and looking at the highlighted sections of your paper. You will notice that Turnitin often matches (highlights) on headings, titles, and references. These are not considered plagiarized.

If you see matches on entire sentences or paragraphs that are not enclosed in quotation marks, then you have unintentionally plagiarized. You will need to go back and re-write those sections in your own words.


Step 4: Save your final paper as a Microsoft Word document using your name and assignment title, (e.g., Doe_J_reaction_paper), and submit the final paper to the grade book using the second assignment link. The final assignment is due by 11:59 p.m. (ET) on Sunday of the assigned module.


Step 5: Submit your completed paper to Tevera.


Note: Your assignment will be checked for originality via the Turnitin plagiarism tool.


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