Turkish school counselors’ ethical dilemmas regarding court-mandated counseling: A preliminary study

Siviş Çetinkaya R.

22. Uluslararası PDR Kongresi, Muş Alparslan Üniversitesi, Muş, Muş, Turkey, 7 - 10 October 2021, pp.200-201

  • Publication Type: Conference Paper / Summary Text
  • City: Muş
  • Country: Turkey
  • Page Numbers: pp.200-201
  • Bursa Uludag University Affiliated: Yes


The court-mandated counseling model geared towards minors and their parents in Turkey is a supportive measure to protect vulnerable children without removing them from their homes. It is also aimed as a precautionary initiative to rehabilitate juvenile offenders in order to prevent juvenile recidivism. The law defines vulnerable children as those whose physical, cognitive, moral, social and/ or emotional wellbeing is jeopardized. Children and youth who are neglected, abused or victimized are also defined as vulnerable. Juvenile offenders are defined as those who committed a crime and were prosecuted. The model stipulates these children and their parents to attend mandated-counseling sessions provided by school counselors. As counselors are required to abide by the ethics of their profession in their professional practices, an examination of the ethical dilemmas as experienced by school counselors in providing court-mandated counseling seems worthwhile to shed light to the ethical aspect of this model. 

This preliminary study set out to explore Turkish school counselors’ ethical dilemmas regarding counseling court-mandated clients. Qualitative data were collected from a purposive sample of 32 (21 female and 11 male) school counselors from the seven regions of Turkey who counseled mandated clients. Using Critical Incidents Technique (CIT), participants were required to describe ethical dilemmas they encountered in counseling court-mandated clients within the last three years. Content analysis of the submitted ethical dilemmas was performed by the researcher. Recurrent themes were identified using the categories of the American Counseling Association code of ethics as a guide. Reliability of the data was ensured by multiple reviews of the submitted dilemmas. Excerpts from the dilemmas are presented in order to establish internal validity. Most participants cited incidents involving the counseling relationship, followed by those regarding confidentiality. Incidents regarding the counseling relationship were predominantly pertinent to a lack of informed consent in the model. Implications for an ethically-sound court-mandated counseling model are discussed. Recommendations for future research are provided.