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Posted: January 10th, 2022

African American male


What ethical dilemmas are presented in the vignette? Are there any sociocultural variables to consider in understanding this case and possible ethical issues? What are the next steps that the counselor in this scenario should take?


Steven is a 29-year-old African American male who just completed requirements for licensure as a marriage and family therapist. During his training, he worked as both a practicum student and as an intern at an agency that provides mental health services for older adults suffering from depression and anxiety. During his graduate school, all of his clinical training focused on work with older adults. Now that he is licensed he is considering starting a private practice with a specialty in older adults. Although he has several connections, getting clients has been more of a challenge and he is concerned about financial income.

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The agency where he completed his training is expanding its services and offers a position to Steven in its new Adolescent Substance Abuse Program. The position will involve providing individual, group, and family therapy services to adolescents with significant drug and alcohol abuse. Steven is thrilled to have this job offer and remembers learning about family systems theory and evidence-based treatment models that addressed substance abuse in teenagers during his master’s program. Steven enjoyed his work at the agency and feels like it would be a supportive atmosphere to learn and grow. 

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