Legal and Ethical Considerations for Group and Family Therapy

Compare legal and ethical considerations for group and family therapy to legal and ethical considerations for individual therapy
Analyze the impact of legal and ethical considerations on therapeutic approaches for clients in group and family therapy
Recommend strategies to address legal and ethical considerations for group and family therapy
To prepare:
Review this week’s Learning Resources and consider the insights they provide on group and family therapy.
View the media, Legal and Ethical Issues for Mental Health Professions, Volume I, and reflect on legal and ethical considerations for group and family therapy and individual therapy.
Post an explanation of how legal and ethical considerations for group and family therapy differ from those for individual therapy. Then, explain how these differences might impact your therapeutic approaches for clients in group and family therapy. Support your rationale with evidence-based literature.


In group and family therapy, there are more ethical issues compared to individual therapy, yet legal and ethical principles, including the codes of conduct, are of no direct assistance (Jordan et al., 2014). One of the ethical considerations is confidentiality, as a group and family therapy often find it a challenge to remain confidential when the client is more than one. Other considerations include informed consent, and competence to practice regarding beneficence (Travaglini et al., 2012). In comparison, ethical considerations in individual therapy include psychological risks, session termination, and follow-up, and relationship with the client.

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            The legal and ethical considerations on therapeutic types/techniques and approaches have a significant impact on clients in group and family therapy. The impact, for instance, involves clients being informed of their confidentiality issues, personal issues, and level of competence practice (Pope & Vasquez, 2016). In this case, these considerations would influence the nature of the client-therapist relationship and the recovery process. The impact is also evidenced by the ease and speed of decision-making, especially when it involves informed consent and sharing information to family members about the client/patient.

            Additionally, some strategies should be adopted to address legal and ethical considerations for group and family therapy. For instance, throughout the group and family therapy sessions, the therapist should be well aware of the issues of confidentiality and competence before signing the therapy contract (Wilcoxon, Remley & Gladding, 2013). The therapist should also pay attention to the existing boundary violations regarding confidentiality, personal values, and competency, and try to work within these boundaries to sustain a professional relationship with the clients. However, if these boundaries are violated, measures should be taken to reduce the harm (Jordan et al., 2014).


Jordan, N. A., Russell, L., Afousi, E., Chemel, T., McVicker, M., Robertson, J., & Winek, J. (2014). The ethical use of social media in marriage and family therapy: Recommendations and future directions. The Family Journal, 22(1), 105-112.

Pope, K. S., & Vasquez, M. J. (2016). Ethics in psychotherapy and counseling: A practical guide. John Wiley & Sons.

Travaglini, L. E., Treadwell, T. W., & Reisch, E. E. (2012). Confidentiality and cohesion in groups: Collaborative story building and telling as a means of improving the therapeutic experience. Group, 36(4), 317-331.

Wilcoxon, A., Remley Jr, T. P., & Gladding, S. T. (2013). Ethical, legal, and professional issues in the practice of marriage and family therapy. Pearson Higher Ed.

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