Counselor Education and Supervision (ExCES)
School of Education
Ethical decision making, counseling ethics, moral dumbfounding, ethical dilemma, social intuitionism
How counselors should make ethical decisions frequently differs from how counselors actually make ethical decisions, which is often a non-linear process. Social Intuitionist Theory (Haidt, 2003) suggests this process entails a socially influenced intuitive judgment followed by post hoc rationale. The purpose of this study was to examine whether moral dumbfounding, which entails maintaining a moral judgment without supporting reason, occurs with practicing counselors. The results of survey data and open-ended coding showed that 58.5% of counselors were dumbfounded at least once when presented with four moral or ethical vignettes. Additional analyses exploring differences in dilemma-based vs. non-counseling vignettes, moral vs. ethical framing of dilemmas, and the potential moderating role of need for cognition were non-significant. The presence of moral dumbfounding among practicing counseling has implications for counselor education, ethical decision-making models, counseling philosophy, and future research.
Irizarry, I. (2021). COUNSELORS DUMBFOUNDED: IMPLICATIONS FOR COUNSELING ETHICS (Doctoral dissertation, Duquesne University). Retrieved from https://dsc.duq.edu/etd/2043