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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
Assessment and Diagnosis as Professional Issues
Suggested Activities
Chapter 10, Deciding on the Goals of Counseling, The Case of Leon, Exercise 01
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The Case of Melinda


Melinda, a second year master's student, was thrilled when she found out she had been selected to do a 1-year internship at her college's counseling center. she hoped this experience would help launch her career as a college counselor upon completion of her degree. Unfortunately, a few weeks into the first semester Melinda began to suspect that her on-site supervisor, Kathy, was emotionally unstable. although Kathy was personable at times, her mood seemed to fluctuate in an unpredictable manner. On several occasions Kathy berated Melinda during supervision for not taking her direction. Melinda was starting to develop autonomy as a counselor, which was appropriate at this point in her training. nevertheless, whenever she expressed her own ideas, Kathy appeared to feel threatened and angry. not surprisingly, Melinda started to question her own abilities and felt reluctant to talk openly about her cases during supervision sessions. aware that she had an ethical responsibility to provide her clients with an acceptable standard of care, she began to worry that the inadequate supervision she was receiving might compromise her ability to provide proper services to her clients. she asked herself, "should i confront Kathy and tell her that i need more guidance from her? if i do that, will i compromise my chances of finishing the program because Kathy has the power to fail me? if i tell anyone about what's happening, will they think i am just being a difficult and rebellious supervisee?" Ultimately, Melinda took the risk of consulting with a professor in her program and transferred to a new supervisor. although she felt angry that she received such poor supervision from Kathy, she reported factual information only to her professor and did not vent her negative feelings. Despite some fallout from this experience, Melinda was able to complete the program and pursue her career as a college counselor.


If your supervisor appeared to be ineffective, what would you do? Would you confront the person directly, discuss the problem with other supervisors or professors, or try to ignore it and make the most out of a bad situation? Explain.


In the given case, goals that might be developed for Client L are:

  • The first goal for a therapist is to explore the reasons behind a client's decision to take therapy.
  • As Client L has a family history of suicide, a counselor might choose to first assess signs of suicidal tendencies in the client.
  • As the client reports depressive symptoms and exhibits reduced emotional expressions, a counselor might choose to first work on the client's low emoting capacity to make the client express their feelings and address them.
  • Exploring and treating depressive symptoms such as lack of interest, lower body weight, and so on might be a later goal after the client learns to express and address their emotions.
  • Another long-term goal might be addressing the problems related to the social relations of the client with their family members. A counselor might try to explore the reasons behind the problems in relationships and help the client find solutions.

Sample Response

Goal setting in counseling is an important step that determines the direction of the counseling process. Goal setting is done by a counselor, often in collaboration with the client, based on the client's condition. Initial goals in counseling might be smaller than later goals for making the goals easy to accomplish and for the client and the counselor to feel positive about the process. Taking smaller steps toward a goal while ensuring the client's autonomy and growth is a major responsibility.

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