PSYC FPX 4900 Assessment 2 An Ethical Analysis of a Case Study
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PSYC FPX 4900 Assessment 2 An Ethical Analysis of a Case Study

PSYC FPX 4900 Assessment 2 An Ethical Analysis of a Case Study


Capella University

PSYC FPX 4900 Psychology Capstone Project

Prof. Name


Case Study

This evaluation is centered on the case study involving Hannah (the staff) and Adara (the student) at Riverbend City High School. Hannah, a 36-year-old African American female, serves as a high school guidance counselor. She is assisting Adara, a 15-year-old Muslim-American female student, who has conveyed feeling isolated due to being the only Muslim-American in her friend circle. Adara has been consistently subjected to online and school bullying based on her appearance. Although Adara finds comfort in expressing herself to Hannah, she is hesitant to seek additional counseling outside of school without her parents’ approval. In a session, Adara discloses thoughts of self-harm, prompting Hannah to share this information with Adara’s family. Unfortunately, this disclosure results in a breakdown of trust between Adara and Hannah.

Ethical Concerns and Principles

In the context of Adara and Hannah, ethical concerns arise regarding how Hannah addresses bullying, cultural bias, and the consequences of Adara’s disclosure. The American School Counselor Association (ASCA) and the American Psychological Association (APA) offer specific ethical standards pertaining to these issues. This paper aims to explore the ethical principles associated with reporting bullying incidents and concerns of self-harm to a client, emphasizing the need for immediate and delicate intervention in such cases.

Applied Ethical Principles and Standards

Following the ethical principles and code of conduct outlined by the American Psychological Association, two critical principles are relevant to Adara’s case. General Principle E underscores the importance of psychologists eliminating biases based on factors such as age, gender, religion, and culture, emphasizing respect for clients’ rights and dignity (American Psychological Association, 2010). In this case, Hannah should have acknowledged Adara’s cultural background and conducted research to better understand and respect it before continuing counseling sessions.

PSYC FPX 4900 Assessment 2 An Ethical Analysis of a Case Study

APA Principle

Application to Case

General Principle E Hannah should have acknowledged and respected Adara’s cultural background to eliminate biases.

Another pertinent principle is 4.05 disclosures, which allows psychologists to disclose confidential information to prevent harm to the client or others. In Adara’s case, while this principle was applicable, the combination of informing the parents and a lack of research on cultural bias led to a breakdown in trust. A more informed and less invasive approach could have ensured compliance with ethical guidelines and maintained support for Adara.

APA Principle

Application to Case

Principle 4.05 disclosures A more informed and less invasive approach to disclosing information could have preserved trust.

Additionally, the American School Counselor Association’s principle A.9, addressing Serious and Foreseeable Harm to Self and Others, aligns with APA principles, emphasizing the obligation to inform family and authorities when a client discloses information posing a danger to themselves or others. However, Hannah’s release of Adara after her disclosure of self-harm without appropriate assessment and support contradicts this principle.

ASCA Principle

Application to Case

A.9 Serious and Foreseeable Harm to Self and Others Hannah’s release of Adara without appropriate assessment contradicts this principle.

Alternative Solutions

An alternative approach to achieve a better outcome would involve Hannah promptly addressing and reporting the bullying claims, collaborating with Adara to investigate and report them, and creating educational opportunities to combat future bullying. This proactive involvement could have preserved the trust built within their professional relationship.

Alternatively, a more cautious disclosure approach could have been taken by Hannah, involving consultation with a colleague without revealing confidential information. This would require additional training for school site teams and increased availability of mental health professionals.


Addressing bullying from its root cause would benefit all involved parties. A three-tiered approach, as suggested by Laletas (2019), focuses on support and counseling for both victims and aggressors to prevent future incidents. Early intervention, as supported by Smith’s research (2015), is crucial in stopping cyberbullying. This approach aligns with the proposed action plan, emphasizing early intervention and comprehensive support for all students.

Challenges to this approach are noted in Eklund et al.’s study (2019), which indicates that school counselors may be spread too thin to implement a three-tiered system effectively. However, addressing this challenge involves creating additional positions for mental health support in schools.


In conclusion, addressing bullying and self-harm concerns in schools requires a proactive and ethical approach. Immediate reporting, collaboration with students, and early intervention are crucial to prevent further harm. The proposed action plan aligns with ethical principles outlined by APA and ASCA, emphasizing the importance of creating a safe environment for all students. By addressing these issues head-on, schools can empower students and reduce the likelihood of harmful actions.


American Psychological Association. (2020). Publication manual of the American Psychological Association (7th ed.). Author. American Psychological Association. (2010). Ethical principles of psychologists and code of conduct.

Eklund, K., DeMarchena, S. L., Rossen, E., Izumi, J. T., Vaillancourt, K., & Rader Kelly, S. (2020). Examining the role of school psychologists as providers of mental and behavioral health services. Psychology in the Schools, 57(4), 489-

Laletas, S. (2019). Ethical decision making for professional school counselors: Use of practicebased models in secondary school settings. British Journal of Guidance & Counselling, 47(3), 283-291.

PSYC FPX 4900 Assessment 2 An Ethical Analysis of a Case Study

Mayworm, A. M., & Sharkey, J. D. (2014). ethical considerations in a three-tiered approach to school discipline policy and practice. Psychology in the Schools, 51(7), 693-

Smith, L. J. (2015). Minors’ right to confidentiality: Addressing the issue of bullying and the ethical obligation to prevent harm. Journal of Human Behavior in the Social Environment, 25(7), 746-755.

Stone, C., & Zirkel, P. (2010). School counselor advocacy: When law and ethics may collide. Professional School Counseling, 13(4), 244-

PSYC FPX 4900 Assessment 2 An Ethical Analysis of a Case Study

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