Maintaining Ethical Standards

Topics: Family therapy, Ethics, Psychotherapy Pages: 5 (827 words) Published: April 19, 2015


Maintaining Ethical Standards
Patricia Castillo
BSHS 335
November 17, 2014
Carrie Natale
Maintaining Ethical Standards
Ludwig is a counselor who is trained and educated within individual therapy as opposed to family therapy. After working with Ella for some time, Ludwig realizes that Ella would benefit from family therapy sessions. Ludwig would like to refer Ella to someone who is capable of doing family therapy, but is worried that Ella might feel as though he is abandoning her. Therefore, he decides not to refer her and continues just to help her on an individual basis but is spending more time trying to figure out the family dynamics without having the family members involved. As a caseworker, there are multiple ethical issues that I might be confronted with in this situation. The first ethical issue is principle I, the responsibility to the client. This standard states, marriage and family therapists advance the welfare of families and individuals. They respect the rights of those persons seeking their assistance and make reasonable efforts to ensure that their services are used appropriately. (Corey, Schneider Corey, & Callanan, 2011) As the focus of therapy shifts from the individual to the family system, a new set of ethical questions arises. To whom and for whom does the therapist have primary loyalty and responsibility: the client identified as being the problem, the separate family members as individuals or the family as a whole? (Corey, Schneider Corey, & Callanan, 2011) Once Ludwig recognized the needs of Ella have changed, his priority should have remained with Ella and what was in her best interest. Keeping Ella in individual therapy was not benefitting her since her family needed to become involved. Balancing the rights and well-being of the individuals with the family as a whole is one of the most challenging aspects of ethical family practice. (Corey, Schneider Corey, & Callanan, 2011) Another ethical problem that I might have to face is principle II, professional competence and integrity. This standard states, marriage and family therapists maintain high standards of professional competence and integrity. (Corey, Schneider Corey, & Callanan, 2011) Once Ludwig determined that Ella needed family therapy, which he was not qualified to provide, he had an ethical responsibility to refer her for family therapy. Responsible clinicians keep abreast of developments in the field through continuing education and clinical experiences Competence in working with couples and families only comes with years of training and supervision. Family therapists continue to improve their skills through interactions with other therapists. (Corey, Schneider Corey, & Callanan, 2011) A third unethical issue is principle IV, responsibility to students and supervisee. This standard states marriage and family therapists do not exploit the trust and dependency of students and supervisees. (Corey, Schneider Corey, & Callanan, 2011) Practitioners are cautioned to avoid multiple relationships, which are likely to impair clinical judgment. Ludwig was worried about Ella feeling abandoned if he referred her to another therapist. This action indicates a possible multiple relationship was developing. This attachment could potentially grow stronger and lead to a relationship forming outside of the professional relationship. I am also hindering their chances of success by setting my personal beliefs about the relationship aside and referring them to the proper care. Most family therapy training programs encourage genogram work and other processes designed to engage students with their own family-of-origin issues. (Corey, Schneider Corey, & Callanan, 2011) When putting everything into perspective, I feel Ludwig was totally unprofessional with this case. Ludwig took it upon himself to work with a client in which he knew he did not have the skill set. As a case manager, I would have handled it completely opposite of how Ludwig...
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