Using the ACA code of ethics, read through the ethics vignette located below. Respond to the questions at the end of the vignette and post any additional ethical implications related to the vignette that you identify for your instructor and fellow learners to review.
Linda is a 42-year-old licensed mental health counselor, who has been seeing Julie as a client for six months. Julie, 38 years old, came to counseling feeling depressed. She works hard to raise two children by herself, feels overwhelmed much of the time, and has low self-esteem. She’s very sensitive to rejection, and has ended several friendships when she believed the other person was critical or not accepting of her.
Over the course of their counseling relationship, Julie has developed very warm feelings for her therapist, and has sometimes wished that they had met under different circumstances so they could have been friends. Linda and Julie have a lot in common. They are close in age, were raised in the same religion, have similar values, and enjoy the same activities. Coincidentally, both of their children are in the high school band together. Julie has seen Linda at some of the band rehearsals, and they’ve chatted briefly by their cars afterward while waiting for their children.
In the past few sessions, Julie has talked about something “missing” in her life and has expressed a desire to reconnect with a church community. She has heard from her children that Linda’s family attends a church of the same denomination she was raised in – the only one in their small town — and tells Linda that she’d also like to go to services there. She asks if Linda would introduce her to some of the members of the congregation, and help her to get acquainted with church activities or committees she might become involved in. She states, “It would be so good to see you on Sundays, too!”
Linda knows how difficult it has been for Julie to connect with other people, and believes this type of community would be very supportive for her. However, Linda is a very active member in this church. She and her husband serve on several of the major committees with some of their closest friends. A good deal of her family’s social life centers around church functions and meetings, many of which regularly take place in Linda’s home.
What potential legal or ethical issues are involved and who will be impacted by them?
What possible courses of action are there and what are the consequences?
How would you address this issue in your counseling sessions?