I'm acutely aware of the ethical challenges which arise in practice; new ones seem come to my awareness every week. There are no easy, 'right'/'wrong' answers. Instead we find ourselves in situations where we're forced to decide between conflicting values and needs. Ethical judgments need to be made in context and its complicated. All we can do is to be thoughtfully and reflexively aware. While rules, codes, and guidelines equip us with useful maps and anchors as we navigate turbulent waters, they don't replace the personal and professional reflection needed. It is important to negotiate ethical dilemmas that arise in practice on a case-to-case basis and with the therapeutic relationship to the fore.
Some dilemmas that I've discussed recently with colleagues include:
1) Can we ask clients if they have been vaccinated, or even require that they are, before we see them in-person?
2) If a therapist strongly disagrees with a client's political views (for instance, re: attitudes to Covid or vaccination), should they discuss these differences and/or should the therapist try to challenge a client's views?
3) If a client asks for closer physical contact with a therapist who is cautiously trying to ensure a 2 metre distance between them, what should the therapist do?
4) If a therapist tests positive what should they do about reporting any clients they have seen that week to the Government's 'track and trace' system? What if a client asks not to be reported?
5) How much should a therapist disclose to a client when they share a personal experience of having Covid or have faced similar traumas (e.g. family member has died of Covid)?
6) A therapist hears that a colleague has tested positive but is still seeing clients in-person. What is the responsible thing to do?...
and so on...