VISTAS Counselor Education and Supervision

VISTAS Online is an innovative publication produced for ACA by Dr. Garry R. Walz and Dr. Jeanne C. Bleuer of Counseling Outfitters, LLC. Its purpose is to provide a means of capturing the ideas, information and experiences generated by the annual ACA Conference and selected ACA Division Conferences. Papers on a program or practice that has been validated through research or experience may also be submitted. This digital collection of peer-reviewed articles is authored by counselors, for counselors. VISTAS Online contains the full text of over 900 proprietary counseling articles published from 2004 to 2017.

Integrating Differentiation of Self Into Ethical Decision-Making: Counselor Training Method

Darren A. Wozny, Kimberly Hall, and Kirk Zinck


Ethical dilemmas are commonplace in the practice of counseling, and counselors
need to be effective in ethical decision making in order to address ethical
dilemmas as they arise. However, how a counselor handles anxiety or conflict
emotionally can impact the ethical decision-making process and outcome. Thus,
it is important to develop higher levels of differentiation of self in counselors to
avoid the pitfalls of emotional reactivity in situations where counselors may deal
with colleagues that disagree with their ethical course of action through distance
(emotional cutoff) or closeness (fusion—counselor gives up their reasoned
ethical course of action to maintain the professional relationship, eventually
resulting in loss of identity). To help counselors develop higher levels of
differentiation of self, counselors will be encouraged to participate in an ethical
debate with colleagues where they are outnumbered in the group consensus and
must advocate for their ethical course of action.

PDF, 254.92 KB

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