The Julea Ward Case Settled Out of Court

Julea_Ward-dismissed-from-East-Michigan-UniversityWard v. EMU has been settled out of court according to various new reports here and here. You will recall that this was a case in which Julea Ward was dismissed from her counseling program for not participating in a remediation program after making a referral of a gay client who requested counseling for relationship issues. That referral was made in consultation with her supervisor, but her program had insisted she go through remediation.

The settlement has EMU paying Julea Ward $75,000.

In my previous writing on the topic, I discussed my talk on value conflicts in counseling, so I will not reiterate all of what I wrote, but let me say this: I agree with Warren Throckmorton here that this case should not primarily be framed as a gay rights issue so much as a question about how value conflicts are handled in therapy. Value conflicts extend far beyond any one topic, as important as that topic may be. I believe the case is also an important lesson in professional mentoring of students who are training to function as licensed mental health professionals, who are essentially preparing to enter into fiduciary space, providing services to the public under a board of counseling.

There were many missed opportunities in this situation. Opportunities that have nothing to do with the culture wars but rather with how we identify superordinate goals and work together to provide the public broadly (and specific clients narrowly) with the best clinical services.

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