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Issues and Ethics in the Helping Professions 10th Edition

Issues and Ethics in the Helping Professions (10th Edition)

Book Edition10th Edition
Author(s)Corey, Corey
PublisherCengage Learning
Chapter 9, Competence of Supervisors, The Case of Marisa, Exercise 01
Page 344

Practitioners need to formulate clear guidelines and consider appropriate boundaries when it comes to touching. In Neukrug and Milliken's study (2011), 83.9% of the counselors surveyed endorsed the idea that it was ethical to console clients using nonerotic touch, such as touching their shoulder, and 66.7% believed it was ethical to hug clients. Think about your position on the ethical implications of the practice of touching as part of the client-therapist relationship by answering these questions:


To what degree do you think your professional training has prepared you to determine when touching is appropriate and therapeutic?


Mental health practitioners may need to work under the supervision of experts before independently practicing counseling and therapy. Supervision of mental health experts helps amateurs to improve their professional skills and competence. Supervisors are supposed to provide better training and support to the supervisees to enhance their skills and potential related to mental health practice as it is their ethical duty. Moreover, the supervisors need to ensure that the supervisees who complete the required amount of training are competent and aware of the ethical code of conduct of counseling and therapy.


Providing inadequate or unsatisfactory training and support to supervisees may result in supervisors encountering legal consequences as it is an ethical violation. The misuse of authority or power, inappropriate relationship, and incompetency of supervisors negatively influence the competence level of supervisees, which further negatively influence their future clients because of the underdeveloped professional skills. A supervisee has the ethical right to inform the higher authority or other professors [if confrontation with the supervisor is not possible] regarding the incompetence of the supervisor.


In the case of Supervisee M, the supervisor's approach was inappropriate throughout the supervision period. The supervisor misused the power by not providing an opportunity to implement their ideas and by being rude, which hindered Supervisee M's professional development, which implies that the ideal way of handling the situation is to report the incident to the concerned authority. Confronting the supervisor directly may cause Supervisee M to suffer from negative impacts because of the emotional disturbance of the supervisor. Moreover, the supervisor might provide negative feedback about the supervisee or even fail the supervisee. As a result, reporting the issue to other professors and shifting to a new supervisor is ethically appropriate in the case of Supervisee M.

Verified Answer

Supervisee M's actions are appropriate against the incompetence and unsupportive approach of the supervisor. M chose to report the incompetence of the supervisor to a concerned individual or a responsible professional in the same field [a professor from the same course being pursued by M], which helped M to change the supervisor and take decisions ethically rather than directly dealing with the Supervisor K.

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