Title

Counselors in the Courtroom: Implications for Counselor Supervisors

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

2012

Originally Published In

In Ideas and research you can use: VISTAS 2012.

Volume Number

83

Abstract

An increasing number of counselors are being called to testify in child abuse and child custody cases (Snow & Cash, 2008). Court cases have greater potential for liability, and counselors often lack the necessary training to confidently and competently serve as witnesses (Faller,1993). Counselors must fully understand their role in relation to court cases and perform their duties within legal and ethical boundaries (Faller,1993; Snow & Cash, 2008).Otherwise, they may encounter ethical violations or legal sanctions (Boccaccini & Brodsky, 2002; Ceci & Hembrooke, 1998; Shuman & Greenberg, 2003; Snow & Cash, 2008; Snow & Letzring, 2009; Welder, 2000; Woody, 2009). When counselors are involved in court cases, they often look to their supervisors for education and guidance (Faller, 2007).This can be challenging for supervisors, because they must provide direction to the counselor while being cognizant of pertinent legal and ethical dilemmas related to such cases (Lane, 2012). Supervisors have an ethical obligation to provide the necessary direction to their supervisees, and they can be liable for inappropriate or inadequate services provided by their supervisees. Thus, as supervision may include a variety of roles such as teacher, consultant, or counselor, supervisors must perform competently to avoid the ramifications associated with vicarious liability.