Ethical problems encountered by mental health practitioners working with deaf clients are often complex and involve issues not fully addressed in professional codes of ethics. A principles-based ethical reasoning process can assist in resolving many of these ethical concerns. Principles such as beneficence, nonmaleficence, autonomy, fairness, integrity, and respect are found in the ethical codes of many disciplines; these can also create a common language or reference point when professionals from different fields attempt to deal with shared problems. This article discusses some applications of these principles in working with deaf individuals and proposes an ethical decision-making process that can provide a framework for ethical reasoning in thinking through complex problems.
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