- In case the client was in my counseling room, I would first of all find out the details of irritation frustration the woman felt regarding her marriage. It is evident from her responses that she is fed up with her life and simply wants to refuse from everything, to escape, then to correct her life path. I would touch upon the topic of starting a new life versus making the present life better. I would also try to find out whether there were any attempts to preserve the marriage, and would find out the details of their prior life. My prime goal would be to find out why and when everything changed, and to make the client take an alternative approach to the situation, finding out the corrupt parts of her marriage and adequately assessing the chances for reunion.
- The present ethical issue is very complex for me since I appreciate the family relationship very highly, and I would do everything to preserve my marriage both for the sake of my, my spouse, and our children. However, at the same time, all people are individualities, and they are worth being happy. The main thing is to find the path to happiness – either striving for what you want, or learning to appreciate what you have. Every marriage can be saved; the main challenge is to overcome indifference of a partner and to enter the path of change together.
- The ethical principle of autonomy is highly applicable in the present case, though the counselor did not apply it in the conversation; it assumes that every person is autonomous, and thus is entitled to do what he or she wants (Boylan, Malley, & Reilly, 2001). The woman in the present situation decided to preserve her autonomy, and in case the marriage is truly frustrating for her, then she has the right to act so. The principles of beneficence and fidelity should be applied here, since the counselor tried to talk the woman into not destroying her marriage, conducting pressure through her love to children, which is unacceptable. As for nonmaleficence, there was no problem in the situation, as the counselor chose to protect the family of the client, which is quite reasonable in the light of destructive plans of the client.
Doing It My Way
- If I had such a client, I would certainly try to find out what her relationships with parents used to be before, and what bright moments she could remember. I would try to raise the positive feelings about parents, and to find out whether she was consciously aware of the moment when the gap appeared, and the underlying reasons for that split. I would aim at finding out her true feelings hiding behind indifference. To do that, I would target the particular points in which her parents dissatisfied her, and what claims they made about her behavior or attitudes. Explicating the true dissatisfaction in quarrels would help reveal the underlying reasons, and to make the client aware of the problem, thus pushing her to reconsideration of its irreversibility.
- In case I supervised the counselor, I would touch upon the move towards universal supportiveness that a counselor should pursue during counseling sessions. It is true that all people have their values, and they possess a certain bias predetermined by their personal, cultural, spiritual, and ethical principles. However, the counselor should always remember about the ultimate goal of counseling – to follow the lead of the client, and not to impose personal values on him or her. Issues of cultural diversity and cultural tolerance in counseling should be specifically targeted with this counselor, as her cultural values are too strong, and are easily exposed in her counseling work (Blonna, Loschiavo, & Watter, 2010).
- If I counseled this client, I would surely lead her to he disclosure of her values and attitudes revealed in the present approach to her sexuality and personal life. I would ask her about what kind of pleasure it brought to her besides ‘having fun’, whether she imagined this as a long-term perspective. I would find out when such behavior started, and when the client started to enjoy it. I would try to find out whether she has serious relationships, or she tried to start a serious relationship and failed, as this can be a generic problem explaining her behavior. I would ask her about serious relationships – whether she wanted them, with whom she would like to have them. I would find out whether her friends had constant partners or spouses, and how she felt about that. I hope this would initiate her sincerity about the true strivings and hopes she tried to conceal with her dissolute lifestyle.
- The “speaking the truth in love” principle can hardly act in the present situation, since the girl does not seem to need any education. I am sure that she knows the statistics, she cares about her health, but she does not want to disclose this because of her image of a funny, light-minded girl having fun. It is obvious that he image is defensive, and this client wants to find out what she escapes, or what she substitutes with this lifestyle. Hence, the task of the counselor is to find her true motivation for choosing this sexual life, and not teaching her obvious things. She looks as a fairly mature young woman, and she may refer to the counselor as a parent, a value imposer, or simply a person who does not understand her, and does not support her values. This may make the client alienated, and will challenge the process of establishing sincere, open relationships during the counseling sessions; maybe she will not even come next time, being afraid of new teaching and mentoring comments.
- In case I counseled this client, I would try to find out how the affair started, and how it has been developing, in order to find out whether the client is personally satisfied with it. I would try to find out her true feelings about her husband, and to find out what problem in their family caused her initiation of the affair. This would help me understand whether the client unconsciously tries to justify herself and to continue the affair, or she feels struggling about the affair and wants to quit. Understanding this would enable me to target her self-search towards searching the way out either in restoring close family relationships, or in quitting the troublesome marriage for the sake of genuine feelings and comfort.
- My personal values are ambiguous in terms of family affairs; I am a strong opponent thereof, but I realize that there are some challenging situations in which one of the spouses makes a false step. An affair creates an impression of stability and security in the conditions of a failing marriage. However, once the conflict is over, and stability in the family is restored, an affair may be a painful challenge for family happiness.
- It is essential to consult the supervisor in case the counselor and the counselee have different values, since it is often hard to feel the verge between counseling and imposition. The counselor should not be judgmental, endorsing, or reproaching; it is necessary to observe the optimal, neutral judgments, and to target the client instead of a situation. However, I am sure that no counselor can provide effective support and assistance to a client unless he or she is personally defined about a situation – in case the counselor cannot understand whether the conduct of the client is good or bad, he or she cannot direct the client correctly to self-search and self-awareness.
- I participate in practicum sessions that help me understand myself and my own values. Disclosing myself, I become more flexible in self-expression, as some values may become a revelation for the counselor as well (Boylan, Malley, & Reilly, 2001). Therefore, practicum sessions help every counselor get comfortable about his or her own values before assessing an discussing others’ ones.
Blonna, R., Loschiavo, J., & Watter, D. N. (2010). Health Counseling. Sudbury, MA: Jones & Bartlett Publishers.
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Boylan, J. C., Malley, P. B., & Reilly, E. P. (2001). Practicum and internship: textbook and resource guide for counseling and psychotherapy, Vol. 1. Vridgeport, NJ: Psychology Press.