What Is Our Role in Reporting Unethical Practices in Our Peers?
I first became aware that some of my peers were conducting themselves in ways that I considered questionable while I was under supervision. Even after several discussions with my supervisor, I was never very clear about where my responsibility lay. After 10 years in practice, I seem to face ethical decisions more often, but I still see many of these situations in shades of gray, rather than clearly black and white.
“When mental health counselors have knowledge of the impairment, incompetence, or unethical conduct of a mental health professional, they are obliged to attempt to rectify the situation. Failing an informal solution, mental health counselors should bring such unethical activities to the attention of the appropriate state licensure board and/or the ethics committee of the professional association.”
So, as I evaluate this situation using my own values and ethics, and the AMHCA and ACA guidelines, I consider the conduct of these two professionals to be unprofessional, unethical, and immoral. But is the conduct illegal, and if it is, what am I mandated to do about it?
I have decided to consult with several other counselors during our weekly peer-supervision meetings, and brainstorm and evaluate various options and their potential consequences. I will “begin with the end in mind” and hope that the action I decide to take will get the result I am seeking, which is to share the title “Licensed Professional Counselor” with peers who conduct themselves professionally, ethically, and morally—so that we can all be proud to have them as members of our profession.