- Center for Ethical Practice - https://centerforethicalpractice.org -

Practical Ethics:Implementing the Ethical Decisions You Have Made

“The Hardest Part”

Red Flags – Impediments to Making Good Ethical Decisions

  1. Rationalizing the Acceptability of a Contemplated Boundary Crossing
  2. Rationalizing Deviations from Standard Practice
  3. Concerns about Personal Ambition and Financial Gain
  4. Needs to Enhance One’s Own Self-Esteem
  5. Expecting the Client to Fulfill Your Personal or Social Needs
  6. Fear of Being Rejected or of Client Terminating Therapy
  7. Negative Feelings Toward a Client
  8. A Desire for a Different Relationship with a Client
  9. Crisis in the Client’s Life
  10. Crisis in the Therapist’s Life
  11. General Red Flags

Ethical Decision-Making Models

17-Step Model – Pope (2011)
9-Step Model – Koocher & Keith-Spiegel (2016)
4-Step Model – Fisher (2005) [1]

Stop Signs – Impediments to Carrying Out Decisions Once You Have Made Them

  1. “Ethical Fading”
  2. Lack of Support
  3. Fear of Retaliation
  4. Fear of Financial Implications
  5. “Burnout,” Illness, Lack of Energy, Personal Issues
  6. Distractions


1. Name three “red flags” that might indicate the need for ethical decision making
2. Give an example of an ethical decision-making model.
3. Describe three situations that might create impediments to carrying out your ethical decisions.