Ethical Issues in Counseling Research

It is important that the approaches used by counselors and the counseling programs implemented in schools and agencies are effective for the clients and students who will be receiving these services. Counselors in the field often conduct research to test the effectiveness of their services. Consider one of the following questions that a counselor working in a school or agency may want to explore:

  • Does completion of eight group counseling sessions help to decrease levels of social anxiety (or other symptoms or issues)?
  • How do students or clients describe the experience of the counseling they have received and its impact on them?
  • What is the effect of counseling for adolescents who report serious issues with substance abuse?

In your post, specify which of the questions above you are considering, and respond to the following:

What legal or ethical issues would you consider as you select participants, if you were granted permission to answer one of these questions through a structured study at your school or agency?

How would you address issues of informed consent and confidentiality for participants in the study? Cite specific areas of the 2014 ACA Code of Ethics and other ethical guidelines to support your decisions.

Follow current APA style and formatting guidelines in your post.

Response Guidelines

Respond to the posts of two other learners. Find learners who responded to a different question than you and discuss what other legal or ethical considerations you might have made, or how you might go about addressing informed consent and confidentiality in a different way.

Learning Components

This activity will help you achieve the following learning components:

  • Learn about how ethical codes impact the counseling relationship.
  • Practice interpreting counseling-related information for different audiences.
  • Determine the proper application of APA formatting requirements.
  • Develop communication appropriate for professional counseling settings.
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