Ethical Dilemma Analysis

Step One

Step one is basically talking about the identification of the morally relevant features of the given situation to aid in justifying the violation of the moral rule. The step has several questions that a person tasked to solve to case or situation should consider helping in relevant decision making while handling the case. Some of the key objectives to be addressed in identifying the morally relevant features of the case include the moral rule that is being violated, harms that are caused in violation, avoided in violation, and prevented in violation (Bryan, Sanders & Kaplan, 2016). Also, beliefs and desires of a person that the rule is violated if the nature of the relationship of the person violating the rule and person rule is violated sometimes the former has a duty to break moral rules in concern to the latter exclusive of their permission. The kind of goods promoted in the violation of the rule and whether the rule is violated on a person so that violation of moral rule is prevented.

Additionally, if there can exist morally alternative actions that can be employed, whether the violation is acted intentionally and if the situation is an emergency (Bryan et al., 2016). Therefore, Step one is applicable to the case scenario of ethical dilemma #2, where Alan a social worker is torn in an ethical dilemma when one of the client Mr. Peter discloses critical information which if revealed to the other client Doris can lead to an instant break up, and if withheld from the client, she discovers later and be hurt much more. Mr. Alan has a decision to make remain honesty by not violating the moral rule and tell Doris the whole truth or remain silent by violating the moral rule. Thus, Alan has a duty to assess various factors mentioned in step one considering the harms on both sides of the clients before making a bold decision that is justifiable in whether he should violate the moral rule or not.

Step Two

Step two entails a social worker estimating consequences likely to occur on each client’s understanding that moral rule violation is publicly and impartially acceptable or not acceptable. Step two is effective in helping differentiate case details that are moral in nature and those that are not. In estimating consequences that clients can experience, the social worker needs to have information on circumstances encircling the facts of the case, so that comprehends the contemporary and possible harms (Bryan et al., 2016).  In ethical dilemma #2 situation, Alan, a social worker, is tasked with estimating the likely consequences his clients will experience with the emerging critical information from Mr. Peter. Alan will require to comprehend information that has been disclosed by the client lying and try to look for potential harms in case the information is withheld from the other client or is disclosed. Step two further reveals that the criteria for justifying moral rule violation should be applied impartially to all clients. Therefore, in the event, Mr. Alan decides to violate the moral rules by withholding information from Doris; it should be impartial.

Evaluation of Initial “Gut” Solution to the Problem

The initial “gut” solution to the problem in ethical dilemma #2 has two options that Mr. Alan should consider. However, all two options depend on the fact that the spirit of counseling sessions is to encourage open communication between clients, honesty, building trust, and truthfulness to clients (Gold). The first option Alan has is to ensure moral obligation whereby he should advise Mr. Peter to be open, honest, and build trust to Doris by telling her the truth as part of the reciliation and healing process (Kolay, 2012). The second option Alan has is in the event Peter does not engage Doris and disclose his lies that have caused their relationship to weaken, Alan should take a bold step to inform Doris what Peter told him in the presence of Peter and give a proper way forward in regards to the emerging information.

When a social worker is faced with such dilemmas, it is essential to stick to the moral rules of the therapy and only violate them if the potential harms have been assessed and consequences clients can experience will be minimal. Ethical dilemma #2 situation is not that critical for Mr. Alan to reach the level of a moral rule violation, but it is a good position for him to employ essential counseling knowledge to help solve the case. Therefore, it is of importance to see all social workers adhering to moral rules of the counseling, like ensuring open communication, allowing honesty between clients, building trust, and truthfulness in the clients. By observing moral values in the therapy sessions, it helps redefine the counseling profession where a few individuals are willing to lie on behalf of the client, which portrays the image of a broken system in the counseling profession field.

Alternative Solutions to the Problem

One of the alternative solutions to the ethical dilemma is accepting to violate the moral rule but with the following conditions observed keenly and strictly. The first condition to be observed is assessing the consequences each of the clients will be subjected to when honesty is withheld in the sessions. That is, what Peter and Doris will experience if the information Peter disclosed is not shared with Doris. The second condition to be followed, so that violation of the moral rule is done, the potential harms for both clients should be critically assessed before making such a decision. What will happen to Peter if his lies are kept from his wife? Some of the dangers on Peter’s side can include Peter to continue with the act of cheating and gambling, which will totally cripple the session to fail. On the other hand, Doris, when she discovers later that Peter is cheating on her and he is still gambling and am aware of the events, will hurt her and lose faith in counseling experts. Therefore, if such conditions are followed strictly, the solution will be effective for the problem.

Another alternative that is drawn from a biblical worldview and has biblical principles is the adherence to moral values and not immoral values. The Bible insists on solving problems amongst us in a moral and right way for a decent society. In the book of Ephesians chapter five, verse five says, “For this you know with certainty, that no immoral or impure person or covetous man, who is an idolater, has an inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God” (Wellman, 2015).  According to the Bible, the immoral people will not have space in his kingdom, and only observing moral values will ensure he has favor on us. Therefore, Peter and Doris’ situation requires moral values to have a lasting solution that is acceptable biblically.

Supervision and Consultation

The counseling profession is a critical matter that needs supervision and consultation so that an effective and lasting solution is reached. The dilemma in this case, if a supervisor is approached, an expert can get to hear others’ views that will be relevant in assisting in solving the problem. The best way to approach a supervisor concerning the case is to explain to the person about the situation and ask for views in a consultative manner.

Ethical dilemma #2 situation can be approached through engagement with other relevant partners who would have knowledge regarding the situation. One of the relevant partners that can be of assistance in this situation is church counselors, especially department mandated to handle marriage issues. With the assistance of the church, it will be easy to instill more moral values to the couples and also assist you to avoid violation of moral values, in case you had intended to go that way. The support of the church will be beneficial to help in making lasting and effective solutions to Peter and Doris’ situation.

Further, other additional resources that can be employed to help in evaluating a potential solution to the dilemma is federal laws on marriage and agency policy on marriage. States have formulated a civil marriage act that can be of importance to assist the expert in this situation to evaluate possible solutions. In most cases, couples are not aware of these laws, but with the help of experts intervening in the situation, they will understand and solve the marriage issues as the laws require of them. Thus, ethical dilemmas should be addressed with diverse views so that effective potential solutions can be found.


Bryan, V., Sanders, S. Kaplan, L. (2016) The helping professional’s guide to ethics: a new perspective. Liberty University

Gold, J. M. (2018). Recognizing and resolving ethical issues: In counseling stepfamilies. The Family Journal26(1), 73-76.

Kolay Akfert, S. (2012). Ethical dilemmas experienced by psychological counsellors working at different institutions and their attitudes and behaviours as a response to these dilemmas. Educational Sciences: Theory and Practice12(3), 1806-1812.

Wellman, J. (2015). Top 7 Bible Verses About Morality. Retrieved Aug 6, 2020, from 2015/06/23/top-7-bible-verses-about-morality/

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