Ethi-call – because the human experience can be complex

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It really is for everyone. Whether the ethical dilemma is personal or professional, large or small, the trained volunteer ethics counsellors will help you through it in a private, one hour conversation. They’ll never tell you what ‘the right thing to do’ is – but they will help you make a decision that suits your unique values and principles.

Ethi-call is available day and night, seven days a week.

You can book an appointment here.


The service is so unique we’ve asked Peta, one of our Ethi-call counsellors, to explain how it works and why it could be useful for you.

1. HOW DO I KNOW IF I HAVE AN ETHICAL DILEMMA?

You know that knot in your stomach, or that worry you just can’t shake off? It might be an ethical dilemma – a situation where you can’t see what the right thing to do is. You might be feeling confused and like there’s nothing you can do, or you might be leaning towards an option that just doesn’t feel right.

Most importantly, it involves you and an action you need to take. In an ethical dilemma, you have to do something – but you don’t know what.

2. WHAT KIND OF ETHICAL DILEMMAS DO PEOPLE CALL ABOUT?

It could be anything related to family, friends, work, or the wider community. For example, it could be asking:

  • Do I share my estate with my child, even if we don’t speak anymore?
  • Do I call out bad behaviour at work that doesn’t feel right?
  • Do I lie to my friend to protect her?
  • Do I check my child’s phone if I’m worried they are not coping?

3. WHY NOT JUST TALK TO A TRUSTED FRIEND?

Ethi-call is about having someone impartial to talk to. There are times when a friend or colleague would be too close to the situation to present a different point of view. A benign question from your counsellor could be something a friend would never ask! At a time when you’re confused and at a loss, you might need a little bit more help from someone without an interest in the outcome.

4. WHAT MAKES ETHI-CALL DIFFERENT TO AN ADVICE LINE OR THERAPEUTIC COUNSELLING SERVICE?

Ethi-call is designed to assist individuals with ethical dilemmas only – questions of ‘what should I do?’ The one hour session is comprehensive and individuals rarely need to use the service again for the same dilemma.

Our counsellors are impartial which means we don’t tell you what to do or provide advice in relation to laws or professional codes. Instead we ask you questions related to your moral character, your duties, and your purpose and help you come to the conclusion that’s right for you.

5. HOW DID YOU BECOME A COUNSELLOR? COULD I BECOME A COUNSELLOR?

Our counsellors have a wide range of experience and some have been volunteering with the service for over 15 years! I only became a qualified counsellor this year.
You don’t need to be a psychologist or have industry specific knowledge to be a counsellor since it’s not an advice line or a traditional counselling service.

In training to become a counsellor you participate in:

  1. online training
  2. face to face workshop series
  3. probationary period and mentoring
  4. assessments at the end of each phase.

We concluded the training program this year but if you would like to be notified of the next intake please send your details to counselling@ethics.org.au.

6. WHAT’S BEEN THE MOST CHALLENGING PART OF BEING AN ETHI-CALL COUNSELLOR?

All of it! It’s challenging because every dilemma and caller is different but that’s why it’s so rewarding. Every call has its own unique angles. You never know what the dilemma is going to be until you begin the session, but that’s the beauty of the service. It’s private and voluntary so callers only need to tell us what they feel comfortable to share. As a counsellor this can be a bit daunting at times but you soon learn to dive in and trust the model developed and used by The Ethics Centre over the last 25 years.

7. WHAT’S THE MOST REWARDING PART OF BEING AN ETHI-CALL COUNSELLOR?

The best part is helping an individual feel better about a situation than they did before they phoned the service. This doesn’t always happen but when it does, it’s really great. The Ethi-call session is a mutual experience – you’re asking questions, they’re thinking critically, they’re asking themselves what’s important to them, and when the energy is right or the caller has a breakthrough – those are really great moments.

We ask callers to complete an evaluation of the service after their session so we can constantly improve the service and the responses we receive are really positive. Knowing that people would recommend the service to others means that we are doing something right.

A benefit of becoming a counsellor – one that I hadn’t expected – is that it has taught me a lot about myself and about how I make decisions. It keeps me on my game, reminding me to challenge my assumptions, apply different perspectives to situations, and slow down, especially in those stressful moments.

8. WHAT WOULD YOU LIKE POTENTIAL CALLERS TO KNOW?

Sometimes people don’t use the service because they think their dilemma is ‘too small’. If the issue is important to you and you don’t know what to do but know you care about the decision you make then it can’t hurt to book a session.

When you reflect back on your decision a year later, five years later, or even ten years later, you’re unlikely to regret trying to make the most informed and considered decision by speaking with an Ethi-call counsellor.

The ‘right thing to do’ isn’t always clear. But doing all you can to make it clearer can’t be wrong.

Peta is an Ethi-call counsellor and Project Manager of The Ethics Centre’s Counselling services.

This post by sponsored by The Ethics Centre.

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