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Ethical Dilemmas in Counselling, particularly when it comes to MS

Ethics was not my favourite course during my counselling program, but it is the one which taught me the most. I learned that if a seriously ill, depressed client tells me he or she is considering committing suicide, I have to work around my tendency to be overwhelmingly supportive and empathetic. Fear, anxiety, anger and professional impotence are among the emotions counselors commonly experience when faced with a client who is considering suicide (Reeves, Mintz 2006), but the empathy that I will experience is less common. As a counselor who lives with an incurable, debilitating disease and who has suffered long-term depression, I will empathize with the client who is considering ending their struggle. A counselor faced with this issue should identify the key ethical issues here and together with the client, should examine the moral and ethical principles of the situation. Working with the client, the counselor can generate alternatives and examine the risks and benefits of each of them, while examining the probable outcomes of the various courses of action (Martin, Shepard and Lehr, ed, 2015). I am also, and this is important, OBLIGATED to report the client’s intention to commit suicide to the appropriate authorities. This is true for all counsellors working in Canada.

I think medical staff have an obligation to report such things, here in the UK. Threat of suicide, or murder means the clinician can break confidentiality. I guess supporting others can be hard work, especially when we have to support ourselves. Sounds tough being in this line of work. I’m sure your support is very important and totally appreciated. We all need psychological support. It is good for the mind, body and soul. 👌


I totally understand the obligation with regard to minor's, but I do think it feels a very questionable thing for counsellors to become ethical and moral arbitrators or anyone tbh with regard to this 🤔 Also how does this work with ‘assisted dying’ which I thought was legalised in in Canada now, which always ‘felt’ like a really progressive attitude for a country to take in opening the ethics and morality debate up around this.