Counselor ethical reasoning: Decision-making practice versus theory

Dana Heller Levitt, Tierney J. Farry, Julia R. Mazzarella

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


Counselors' decision-making processes have received little attention in the literature. The purpose of this study was to ascertain the ethical decision-making practices of counselors working in the field. The results of a phenomenological study indicate that linear models and an orientation to professional ethical guidelines learned in graduate training serve as a foundation, yet not a practical guide, in professional ethical decision making. The authors found that 4 themes guide counselors' ethical decision making: personal values, clients' best interest, transparency in decision making, and perceptions of formal training and practice. Implications for practice and counselor education are provided, with recommendations for future research.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)84-99
Number of pages16
JournalCounseling and Values
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Apr 2015


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