In MFT Law & Ethics Lecture on September 4th 2018, we covered many topics including Ethics Philosophy and AAMFT Code of Ethics. First, we discussed how values contribute to our outlook on life. A specific example was presented to the class, and we were asked as a team to dissect the hypothetical life challenge and present how each character in the scenario may see things based on their position in life. From this discussion, it was clear to understand that the situation could be viewed from many angles. Demographics, family role, and life experiences all contribute to an individual’s perspective of a situation, but at the end of the day actions must adhere to the law. As a therapist, it is important to be well versed in the AAMFT code of ethics so that we know when a mandated report is legally required. While we may be exposed to stories that violate our own personal moral code, only those that are ethically and legally punishable should be handled outside of the office.
During this class we also discussed firing a client. Is it okay to do that? What protocols keep this act from appearing insulting or unprofessional? We discussed the importance of recording all accounts of hostile or threatening treatment from a client. Clear documentation will provide a professional means of explaining your case, where on-the-spot explanation does not look as credible. Referring your client to another therapist is also a graceful way of transitioning them. Explaining that their needs are outside of your personal scope of competence may demonstrate care for the quality of their treatment, and not reflection of how you feel.
Another challenge we may face as professionals is conflicting moral dilemmas. For instance, a double bind in which your support for one family member will come at the expense of another,
and making a choice is unavoidable. For these stressful decisions, it was suggested that students might develop a personalized hierarchy of principals. This way you will have an objective guide that simply reminds you of which guides you priorities outside of this particular situation. It may also be a good idea to ask a supervisor for their input.
In general, I found the material covered on September 4th to be informative and a good introduction to our education in MFT Law ; Ethics.