The Ethical Dilemma of Having a Blog

The ethical dilemma of pursuing my master’s in school counseling and being a pro-life activist, speaker, and blogger.

ugh…where to begin.
This topic has been on my mind a lot lately.
Ever since I had to choose an “ethical dilemma” to do a 20 minute presentation on for my Legal and Ethical class, I knew this blog has been my biggest worry.
Even since the first assignment in this class: The Values Paper
(a paper defining values that we hold and how it may affect counseling negatively ie. I value choosing life in all circumstances, so this may negatively affect a client who has chosen abortion because they may think I dislike them which is totally and utterly false…but basically this paper was about how we can hold our values, but figure out a way not impose them on a client…which to me is impossible because we are humans and we live in a way that naturally “imposes” ideas/lifestyles on others)
Very tricky business.
I’m trying to navigate these waters of one of my biggest values: Authenticity, and also “client/student welfare”.
The ACA code that I’m bound by says (among other things)…

A.4.b Personal Values

  • Counselors are aware of – and avoid imposing – their own values, attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors.
Which I agree…we go by the same principles at my job…we don’t want to ever manipulate people into a set of values or beliefs, but rather be a minister by speaking truth in love.  Meet people where they’re at… Basically the philosophy I live by is, loving others no matter what, but still speaking and living truth. (yes I believe truth exists)
I think that’s what my training in graduate school is trying to get at but…then they seem to want me to bottle up, or contain, or “monitor” (as they say) my triggers and my values.
This program often feels like they are telling me…you can’t be yourself.  But then they say…”who YOU are is the most important factor in therapy…being yourself, using your skills, and personality…”

So I keep getting mixed signals….I can or can’t be myself? Or I can be myself, but I can’t be totally authentic, because then it might leak out that I’m pro-life, or I’m Catholic, or I hate cats..

So..back to the ethical dilemma.
I chose to do a presentation on ethical practice and social media…mostly because I have this blog and I wanted to know what my “ethical codes” say about it.
As people entering into the public “helping profession” how can we navigate our own use of Facebook, blogs, etc.?
I know I use these sites as a platform for the pro-life/pro-woman movement that I am so passionate about.  But, according to the research I did and the code of ethics that I applied…the “ethical” thing to do is have pseudonym blogs, and a hidden Facebook so that way a client/student can never stumble upon my information and have my values imposed on them when reading my profile.
So…sure I get it.  Counselors and teachers probably shouldn’t “friend” their students.  That’s just common sense.  But, I also feel pressured to end any social media activism that is linked to my name…because this may hinder me from getting a job, or it may be too controversial to have such a strong opinion floating around in the secular world, or future clients may feel imposed on.
This is something I just can’t come to terms with…because 1) I don’t think I’ve ever said on my blog that someone has to agree with me and 2) I can’t completely throw away something that gives me a lot of life and purpose.
I will not stop my activism, and my name being linked to the pro-woman movement is already out there.  I googled my name and found out I’m done for as far as the suggested “anonymity” we are supposed to strive for in public opinion goes.
So here I am caught in an “ethical dilemma” (assuming this is real ethics…because my philosophy courses at Benedictine would suggest that ethics do not exist outside of the  pursuit of truth.  And in this postmodern era of moral relativism…”truth does not exist”)
So according to the code of ethics I have to abide by, I should remove my blog…or create a pen name.
I’m undecided on this matter as of now because I value authenticity and truth…and as far as google searches go, my name is already pretty much out there as a pro-lifer.
In the meantime I am still going to take measures to have my “blog-related” sites become a little more separate from my personal sites.
This is also for the protection of my daughter and that is what is fueling this change more than anything.
So…If you want to stay posted on these things…please like or follow my new pages that are directly associated with the blog
Also..out of respect for my daughter…I’m also going to start calling her “little rose” on this blog and will be in the process of changing previous posts that use her name.

3 thoughts on “The Ethical Dilemma of Having a Blog

  1. That’s rough…and if I chose to go to grad school for psychology I’ll have to worry about that too. But, if you work for a catholic firm, you wouldn’t have to worry about them knowing your views and values would you?

  2. What a dilemma! I’m not really sure how I would handle this all – it sure does seem messy with the mixed signals. Reading so much online, I personally prefer to read blogs that are authentic and use pictures and names and such. And I love being able to see their instgram feeds. But I get how that could impact future clients. I totally get what you’re saying about how we naturally “impose” our beliefs. We can’t just tuck our most deeply held beliefs under the rug for fear of offending others. This is something interesting to think about, so thank for writing on the topic! I’m interested to see where it goes.

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