psychotherapy-with-groups-and-families

Informed consent to the aforementioned forms of therapy is indispensable because it aims to ensure that the patient’s decision to participate in therapy is rational, voluntary, and informed. Cottone and Tarvydas (2016) perceive this ethical obligation as an approach aimed to protect the self-governing and self-determination rights of patients. Informed consent during therapy underscores a practitioner’s respect for personhood, and it highlights the collaborative aspect of psychotherapy. Furthermore, it emphasizes the client’s duty in making decisions about treatment and increasing the client’s ownership sense over the procedure. Family members or parents who hold licit rights of decision-making, protection, or consent should present or sign informed consent documentation on behalf of minors and those incapable of providing consent (Welfel, 2015).

Therapists have a legal and ethical duty to uphold the aspect of confidentiality and privileged communication during counseling. Remley and Herlihy (2016) identify privacy as the foundation of any form of therapy. Remley and Herlihy (2016) argue that without the guarantee for privacy, clients may fail to reveal embarrassing or personally damaging information during therapy. However, deviations from this legal and ethical precept may occur in specific circumstances. Conditions for deviation include instances where

  1. The therapist has to release information (confidential) without a client’s consent. Examples of these circumstances include reporting abuse, defending oneself from threatening and inappropriate client behavior, and protecting patients and their prospective threatened victims.
  2. The information gathered within the professional setting should be submitted as proof in a legal proceeding.
  3. The client threatens the therapist’s life or files a case against the therapist (Welfel, 2015).

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During group or family therapy, a therapy should discuss confidential issues according to the informed consent process, and this ought to be included in the therapeutic contract. Therapists should respect the client’s differing viewpoints and inform clients how, with whom, and when the information will be shared (Cottone & Tarvydas, 2016). Additionally, therapists should employ the necessary precautions to ensure confidentiality, particularly when using technologies, for example, voicemail, electronic mail, and computers. The privacy of deceased clients should also be maintained in line with the legal stipulations. Legal guardians and parents should be informed of the confidential aspect of the counseling relationship. Therapists should also develop a working relationship with legal guardians and parents to ensure the efficacy of service to clients Hecker & Sari, 2015).

During group or family therapy, a therapy should discuss confidential issues according to the informed consent process, and this ought to be included in the therapeutic contract. Therapists should respect the client’s differing viewpoints and inform clients how, with whom, and when the information will be shared (Cottone & Tarvydas, 2016). Additionally, therapists should employ the necessary precautions to ensure confidentiality, particularly when using technologies, for example, voicemail, electronic mail, and computers. The privacy of deceased clients should also be maintained in line with the legal stipulations. Legal guardians and parents should be informed of the confidential aspect of the counseling relationship. Therapists should also develop a working relationship with legal guardians and parents to ensure the efficacy of service to clients Hecker & Sari, 2015).

Therapists are required to provide patients with a detailed delineation of the therapeutic procedure; this includes its termination. The cessation of the therapy, either group or family, should be discussed through time during counseling. Pre-termination counseling must be done prior to the completion of the treatment (Welfel, 2015). Remley and Herlihy (2016) further indicate that it is unethical to terminate a therapy relationship between the client and patient due to the existence of a sexual relationship between the two parties.

According to Cottone and Tarvydas (2016), counselors are required to maintain a record of therapy. Clinicians must utilize their clinical judgment to maintain factual and concise therapy documentation while respecting clients’ privacy. Documentation should incorporate significant events during the treatment process or patient’s history, clinical observation of the client’s physical and mental state attempts by the psychiatrist to acquire pertinent information from different sources, suicidal ideations, and assessment data. Other information that should be documented includes the client’s threats to harm other people and child abuse history. Psychiatrists should not record their speculations or hypotheses.

Group and family therapists are required to possess the necessary knowledge, skills, and experience in a specific form of therapy. He or she must be aware of his or her emotional state and responsibilities towards self and patients. The therapist should also assume his or her roles with professional intent while upholding the precept of beneficence, justice, autonomy, fidelity, and nonmaleficence (Welfel, 2015). A licensed therapist may be found guilty of civil liability in instances where he or she fails to practice ‘due care’ while executing his or her professional duties. The therapist ought to release information without or with a patient’s consent if he or she receives a court order and subpoena. When handling potentially suicidal clients, therapists should

  1. Perform a lethal evaluation
  2. Ascertain the severe nature of the threat
  3. Decide whether the responsibility to warn is applicable ((Cottone & Tarvydas, 2016).

To sum up, family and group therapists have various ethical and legal obligations towards clients during practice. They should uphold the precept of beneficence, justice, autonomy, fidelity, and nonmaleficence. Furthermore, therapists ought to possess the required knowledge, skills, and experience, uphold the informed consent procedure, maintain a therapy record for clients and confidentiality, and avert boundary violations.

References

1.Cottone, R. R., and Tarvydas, V. M. (2016). Ethics and decision making in counseling and psychotherapy. New York: Springer Publishing Company

2.DeLucia-Waack, J. L. (2014). Handbook of group counseling and psychotherapy. Thousand Oaks, Calif: Sage Publications.

3.Hecker, L., and Sori, F., C., (2015). Ethical and Legal Considerations When Counseling Children and Families. Australian and New Zealand Journal of Family Therapy, 36(4), 450 – 464.

4.Remley, P., T., and Herlihy, B., (2016). Ethical, Legal, and Professional Issues in Counseling. River Street, Hoboken: Pearson Education.

5.Welfel, E. (2015). Ethics in Counseling and Psychotherapy. Pacific Grove, CA: Cengage US.

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