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Ethical Dilema Paper

Question # 00007796
Subject: Sociology
Due on: 02/14/2014
Posted On: 02/04/2014 03:30 AM

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Ethical Dilemma Paper:

The purpose of this assignment is to identify an ethical dilemma and to use the course theories and concepts to analyze the complexity and moral ambiguity of the ethical situation to come to a theoretically justifiable decision.

For this paper, you will be selecting an ethical dilemma from your own human service experience. If you absolutely cannot come up with a conflict or if you have no human service experience then I will provide you with an ethical dilemma. You must contact your instructor immediately if you need assistance with a dilemma.

One of the most important aspects of the assignment is to make sure that the problem that you come up with is actually a true ethical dilemma. Many students come up with examples that are ethical problems, but not ethical dilemmas. One of the keys to recognizing whether or not a problem is truly an ethical dilemma has to do with the level of moral ambiguity. Ethical dilemmas are high in moral ambiguity. Let me point you to two sections in the text that may be of some help. On pages 59-60, Linzer discusses the concept of “moral traces”. He states: “The concept ‘moral traces’ refers to the consequences of having chosen one path, as opposed to the other path in an ethical dilemma. Since both choices are ethical, the decision to act on one creates the feeling of having violated the other. There is no winner in ethical decision making” (p. 60 italics added). One of the observations that Dr. Linzer made in his lectures was that in a true ethical dilemma you never know whether or not you made the “right” decision because both arguments are compelling and you will never know the outcome of the option that you did not choose and you will always wonder if you make the right decision. That is the “moral trace”.

The second section that you should read is on pages 204 to 207. Linzer notes: “In circumstances pervaded by ethical ambiguity, the key is to acknowledge the complexity of the issues and the pull of contradictory moral imperatives” (p. 205). Read that section and if you want to be sure that your scenario is a true ethical dilemma you can check with me. I don’t want you to spend a lot of time developing and writing the paper only for me to tell you that it is not an ethical dilemma. It is much easier if you have any doubts to contact me directly and describe the scenario. And remember, in an ethical dilemma it is you and not the client who has to make the decision.

When writing your paper, please follow this outline:

1. Briefly describe your agency’s services and setting.

2. Present a conflict situation from your own human service work that involves any number of parties, including yourself (you must be a part of the conflict/dilemma), the client, the family, the agency, the board, the funding agency, etc. Summarize the conflict in one paragraph.

3. Clearly state the ethical dilemma. Discuss what makes this an ethical dilemma. It would be excellent if you can identify the values that are in conflict (For more on this please see the mini-lecture on Beauchamp and Childress). Analyze the conflict from the value perspective of each of the parties. (You could use Levy’s classification of values to do this.)

4. Offer your resolution of this dilemma and the reasoning behind your decision. Your decision should be theoretically justified. (You cannot simply say that I decided to do this based on my own personal values.) Be sure to substantiate your rationale with the relevant literature.

It is strongly suggested you seek the guidance of the writing center before submitting your paper. Please review the APA information listed on the course for assistance and you may even refer to the Unit 1 discussion board under the course information thread for great resources.


You are employed by a school district, providing counseling services for students in a program for emotionally & behaviorally-challenged youth.

One of your clients is Max, a 16 year old boy who struggles with mood swings, depression, and aggressive acting-out. He has a long history of suspensions and other disciplinary actions at school. He lives with his father, and about a year ago you had to contact Child Protective Services after Max disclosed that his father had beaten him up while drunk. The father was extremely angry at Max and at you, threatened both of you, and Max had to live in a foster home for about 6 months. At the time you considered getting a restraining order based on the father’s threats toward you, but decided against it.

Max returned to his father’s home about half a year ago, and things seem only slightly better. Father continues to drink and to threaten Max, but so far he has not been violent. You’ve tried to contact the father to discuss issues having to do with Max’s behavior at school, but he remains angry at you and very negative about his son.

You and Max have developed a good relationship and over time he’s been more trusting in his conversations with you. He has made good use of counseling, and teachers report progress in the way he handles himself at school. A year ago he was on the verge of being kicked out of the program due to his acting-out, now he is doing much better and the school is considering moving him to a more mainstream program.

One day Max begins a session by reminding you of confidentiality. You had explained that you would only break confidentiality if he told you something that could be seriously dangerous to himself or others, and he asks if that’s still true. You say yes. Max says he’s felt like he’s lying to you lately because he’s been keeping a secret, and he wants to tell you. The secret is that he recently started growing marijuana in a lot behind his house. He intends to smoke a little of it, but most of it he’ll sell to an adult he trusts. Max says his foster care experience taught him that he needs to build some independence, and making this money from marijuana will give him some independence. He says he’s been very careful because he knows his father would kill him if he knew, and because he doesn’t want to get kicked out of school or mess up his chances of moving to the mainstream program.

Max says he wants you to know because he trusts you and had to tell someone, but that he does not want you to do anything about it. He asks you not to try talking him out of it, and definitely not to tell his father, school, or the police. He’s trusting you to keep his confidentiality.

Your dilemma is whether or not to share this information with Max’s father, school, child protective services, and/or the police, and how to proceed with whatever you decide. nine pages a must!

Tags paper dilema ethical ethical dilemma school decision father says contact come moral true paper program year want conflict tell know services experience having course ambiguity linzer pages confidentiality section mainstream concept traces

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