Ethical Dilemmas Experienced by Australian Rehabilitation Counsellors
V McLennan, K Ryan, C Randall
Abstract: Private sector rehabilitation counsellors operate in a dynamic and complex environment in which their decisions are influenced by several stakeholder interests including workers’ compensation authority regulators, scheme appointed agents, employers, and injured workers. The potentially competing interests of all parties often challenge the values and professional responsibilities of rehabilitation counsellors. The current study aimed to address the gap identified in the literature concerning ethical dilemmas unique to private sector rehabilitation counselling in Australia. A qualitative methodology was adopted to examine: a) the types of ethical dilemmas most encountered by rehabilitation counsellors working in the context of private sector settings; and b) rehabilitation counsellors' preferred methods for resolving ethical dilemmas in this context. Findings revealed that rehabilitation counsellors interviewed had experienced an array of ethical dilemmas in their practice, reflecting some of the inherent challenges in Australia’s private rehabilitation sector. The findings have implications for the ethics education and professional development of rehabilitation counsellors, and provide a foundation for future ethics research in rehabilitation counselling.