Counseling and Sexual Orientation

Oct 25, 2018 | 0 comments

Oct 25, 2018 | Miscellaneous | 0 comments

Executive Summary

The AJ method is used in ethical decision making. The method involves a five-step process that is followed when making decisions. In the first step information is gathered and ethical questions are asked. The ethical question in this case is with regards to the moral dilemma that is present; there are no moral dilemmas since the counselor owes the patient the duty to offer counseling services. The second step is creative problem solving that sets rules that define the relationship. The third step is listing of the pros and cons, the pros for treating the patient are much more than the cons and the cons of treating the patient are more. The next stage is the evaluation stage where the strengths for the list of pros and cons are weighed. The last stage is justification that has an introduction, for example the counselor should treat the patient. Then the support for the intro, which gives reasons why the patient deserves treatment. There is also the defense that answers the second option questions. The last part is the summary that has the final decision of the ethical issue.

Counseling and Sexual Orientation


Sexual orientation refers to the sexual and emotional traction of person. Sexual orientation ranges from those people who are attracted to either sexes, those attracted to the same sex or those attracted to different sexes. Sexual orientation is determined by both biological and environmental factors (Borden 60). Counselors are expected to adhere to ethics when handling different kinds of patient. Counseling involves giving the patient a chance to talk about their feelings and guide them accordingly. In the case study scenario provided he patient in question is gay and requires counseling services. Being the best counselor in the town who exercises ethics in her work I will listen to the patient (Stracuzi et al 303). This paper shall explain my ethical decision s per the case study provided. With the use of the AJ method I will provide arguments that will guide my moral decision making.

The AJ, also known as the analysis and justification method provides procedure to follow when one is faced with n ethical issue. It is expected that as one goes through the guides and steps they should carefully analyze and give justifiable way of handling the situation. The four steps in the AJ method re referred to as the neutral steps since they involve analysis lone. In the last step, one is then required to make a decision, by giving reasons for the decisions. The AJ method is mostly used in ethical reasoning because it helps expand the imagination of a person (White et al 90)

Step 1: Information gathering

Question: What moral dilemmas exist in this case?


Information gathering is the first step of the AJ method , here like the name suggests one is required to collect the relevant information that will help in the decision making process. This can be done by coming up with questions that will help resolve the ethical issue in question. In the case study provided for example, the question we are answering concerns the moral dilemmas that exist. My answer to the question is that since I have vast experience in my career as a counselor I will not have any moral dilemmas listening to the patient talk. First I have nothing against people’s sexual orientation choices since I believe they all have the right of choice. An ethical decision making theory looks at the individual, environment and the situation s the min variables to decision making. It is required that during the process the problem solver should recognize the moral issue, and then make the moral judgment, raise the moral concerns and address those concerns. Decision-making processes should influence individual characteristics and the environmental factors.

Step 2: Creative Problem solving

The second step is creative problem solving that involves setting boundaries for each pry in this case. Since I have accepted the gay patient, I will have to recognize his sexual orientation and not be judgmental or ask questions why he is gay. This would be the creative plan since the patient will feel free to share information, which is the very essence of a counseling session. On my part as a counselor it will prevent conflict. The creative plan provides compromise, the patient will share information and in return the counselor will help the patient solve the personal dilemmas.

Step 3: Listing Pros and Cons

Options Pros Cons
Accept the Patient
  1. The patient has right to access treatment despite his sexual orientation
  2. Doctors owe patients ethical obligations to treat them without discrimination
The doctor has nothing to lose if he treats the patient.
Refuse to treat the patient
  1. Patients need access to treatment.
  1. It would be unethical not to treat the patient
  2. The doctor will have discriminated against the patient.
  3. Doctor’s reputation might be tainted.
  4. Patient will have to travel very far away to accesses similar services.

Listing of the pros and cons in the third step in the AJ method. In this situation the advantages lie in assisting the patient get the professional counseling they need. There are no disadvantages since I have accepted the patient’s sexual orientation. With the pros and cons chart, I will void bias decisions.

Step 4: Evaluation

The next stage is evaluation where the strengths of the pros and cons are identified. In the case scenario, I find that the pros have more strength since I will not only be fulfilling my ethical obligation as a counselor but also helping a patient. Several assumptions are also made at this stage, for example the informational assumptions. These are the kind of assumptions that are based on probabilities. Value assumptions are based on the relevance of the ethical question.

Step 5: Justification

  1. Intro

The counselor should accept to treat the patient. Sexual orientation is not the patient’s problem.

  1. Support

Since the counseling ethics require that a counselor should not discriminate against a patient on the grounds of sexual orientation it is appropriate that the patient be treated ( Eliason, Michelle and Tonda 630). Another reason is that doctors owe patients the obligation to treat them. Additionally, treating the patient will earn the counselor better reputation among the people of the same sexual orientation as the patient.

  1. Defense

Some of the reasons for not treating the patient include, is that the patient will have to travel to another town to access the treatment. The patient may face hindrances to traveling due to financial constraints and other barriers and may not eventfully access treatment. Another reason is that not treating the patient will affect the reputation of the doctor. He may be painted s the doctor who refuses to treat gay or lesbian patients. Sexual discrimination is a Key issue in this error and most professional are advised to treat all their patients equally.

  1. Summary

The counselor should treat the patient despite his or her sexual orientation. The Primary duty of a counselor is to put the needs of their patients first, for this reason the counseling needs of the patients override the needs of the counselor (Robson et al 533). To add on, treating the patient will build a remarkable reputation for the counselor.


Ethical decision making process requires proper evaluation of the issues in the case, identification of the strengths and weakness and making the final decision. The AJ method is used to assist in making ethical decisions. The method has five-steps that are all involved in decision making. The first step is where information is collected. After the necessary information has been collected, a moral question is then asked and answered. Later there is the creative problem solving that identifies the barriers or limits to the relationship in question. This stage assist the people involved in the decision making process to respect each other and stick to finding a solution to the ethical issue. The third stage is the listing of the pros and cons, where each decisions weakness and strengths are identified. The fourth stage is evaluation that expounds on the pros and cons. The last stage of the AJ method is justification which gives the final solution to the ethical issue.

Works Cited

Borden, Lindsay. et l. “ Perceptions of Self-Disclosing Counselors among Lesbians, Gay and Bisexual Individuals.” Journal of LGBT Issues in Counseling 4.2 (2010): 54-69.

Eliason, Michelle J., and Tonda Hughes. “Treatment Counselor’s attitudes about Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgendered Clients: Urban vs. Rural Settings.” Substance Use and Misuse 39.4 (2004): 625-644.

Robson, Maggie, et al. “Towards Ethical Decision-Making in Counseling Research.” British Journal Of Guidance & Counseling 28.4 (2000): 533-547.

Stracuzi, Thomas., Jonathan, Mohr and Jairo Fuetes. “Gay and Bisexual Male clients’ Perceptions of Counseling: The role of Perceived sexual Orientation Similarity and Counselor Universal-Diverse Orientation”. Journal of Counseling Psychology 58.3 (2011): 299-309.

White, Cox and Gampel, Eric. “Resolving Moral Dilemmas: A case-study Method,” HEC Forum, Vol.8.2 (996), pp89-90.

Yadegarfard, Mohammdrasool, and Fatemeh Bahramabadian. “Sexual Orientation and Human Rights In the ethics code of the Psychology and Counseling Organization of the Islamic Republic of Iran (PCOIRI)”. Ethics and Behavior 24.5 (2014): 350-363.