2 Discussion Essay Samples on Legal and Ethical Considerations for Group and Family Therapy

This article is an essay sample on legal and ethical considerations for group and family therapy. Study it to learn how to write essays about legal and ethical considerations for group and family therapy and gain insights into how you can get expert essay writing help.

Legal and Ethical Considerations for Group and Family Therapy Discussion Essay Samples -1

Psychotherapy has been shown to be effective in treating a variety of mental diseases in both individual and group settings. Individual therapy is the application of a therapeutic process between an individual and the treating professional, while group therapy involves two or more people seeking therapeutic involvement. The practicing therapist must be aware of the legal and ethical consequences of treating clients in both individual and group psychotherapy sessions, regardless of the location.

According to Wheeler (2014), group therapy allows clinicians to increase client access to care, diversify their practice by availing services other than individual, couple, or family therapy, and providing clients with a cost-effective and evidence-based intervention for addressing mental health issues.

There are some criteria that must be followed in both individual and group treatment settings to avoid ethical or legal ramifications. Unless the physician has reason to suspect that an individual client or a member of a group is a risk to themselves or others, privacy and confidentiality must be preserved in both individual and group treatment.

In group therapy, however, these norms do not apply just to one client and the treating clinician, and the therapist must be aware of this. “Anything communicated between any two or more group members at any time is part of the group and is confidential,” (Breeskin, 2011).

Informed consent is another ethical consideration in both individual and group treatment. Informed consent permits the client or clients to have adequate knowledge about the therapeutic environment’s services to determine whether or not they want to participate. An introduction to the therapy environment, including proper boundaries, restrictions, goal setting, and anticipated behaviors, should be offered to all clients.

As with individual treatment, all legal issues related to safeguarding the privacy of participants’ protected health information apply in group therapy. During the orientation period and during the group’s lifetime, participants should be urged to protect the confidentiality of all group members.

According to McClanahan (2014), one of the most essential group norms is secrecy, which should be addressed freely, extensively, and often among group members. This consequence also applies to minors in group treatment settings. Guardians must be informed about the use of secrecy and advised that, unlike in individual therapeutic settings, total confidentiality cannot be guaranteed. According to Ware & Dillman-Taylor (2014), therapists cannot guarantee perfect anonymity because of their lack of control over other members and the possibility of mandated reporting, which must be addressed with parents.

If these elements are not considered while giving services to clients in a group or family context vs those in individual treatment, the therapeutic environment may be harmed. When dealing with a group vs an individual therapy session, the therapist must be aware that the therapeutic dynamic changes.

To accomplish the aims of the development of the specific group session, client trust and therapeutic alliance must be developed not only with the group facilitator but also with the group members. Members of the group should feel comfortable to communicate within the therapeutic environment without fear of intimidation, criticism, or unnecessarily disclosing personal information. Some of these issues have an influence on interpersonal learning, group cohesion, and catharsis principles. A skilled psychotherapist is also aware of their ability to provide successful therapy utilizing the proper treatment techniques.

According to Wheeler (2014), all practicing psychotherapists must be proficient in specific theoretical orientations, but they must also be aware of the nuances, ambiguities, and subtleties of interpersonal interaction, and how to handle them in the immediacy of the clinical encounter to therapeutic effect.

Legal and Ethical Considerations for Group and Family Therapy Discussion Essay Samples –2

Legal and ethics

To safeguard patient privacy, legal and ethical considerations are critical throughout treatment. As a practitioner, I am required to follow the code of ethics. Distinct states have different privacy laws, so it’s important to acquaint yourself with them and understand the scope and boundaries of legal secrecy.

The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) includes a privacy regulation that establishes national standards for protecting people’s medical records and personal health information, including psychotherapy and mental health information.

Confidentiality in group vs. individual treatment

According to McClanahan (2014), confidentiality is not guaranteed in group therapy and family therapy since information shared with the therapist is shared with other group members, and there is no assurance that other group members would retain confidentiality. Individual therapy, at the very least, is between the therapist and the client, ensuring anonymity. There is limited precision about confidentiality in group therapy, according to the APA Ethical Guidelines.

Exclusive information

The protected information distinguishes group therapy and family therapy from individual treatment. Due to the third-party rule, which stipulates that information divulged in front of a third party was not meant to be private and is not privileged, privileged communication does not exist in most states in group situations (McClanahan, 2014).

As a result, unless state legislation prohibits it, group members may be asked to testify against their peers about information collected in group meetings. Individual treatment notes, on the other hand, are kept private and confidential. According to the US Department of Health and Human Services (2014) Privacy Rule, a covered entity must obtain a patient’s permission before disclosing psychotherapy notes for any reason, including for treatment purposes to a health care provider other than the notes’ originator [45 CFR 164.508(a)(2)].

Influence your therapeutic methods

The repercussions of breaching this secrecy and privileges include the influence of these distinctions on therapeutic techniques. Keep in mind that a violation of confidentiality might result in malpractice charges (Loewenberg, Dolgoff, & Harrington, 2000). Because poor cognition may impede comprehension of consents exchanged between the client and the practitioner or gained under duress, client competency is particularly significant. Mandatory reporting and required treatments are two further issues that might affect therapeutic techniques.

Essay Samples on Legal and Ethical Considerations for Group and Family Therapy
Don’t Worry, Our Professionals Will Help You With Your Legal and Ethical Considerations for Group and Family Therapy Essay

Do not hesitate to contact our professionals at Studyaffiliates.com if you feel you need help with your legal and ethical considerations for group and family therapy essay assignments even after going through our essay example guide.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1. What are ethical and legal considerations?

Legal and Ethical Considerations for Group and Family Therapy
Ethical and Legal Considerations, What are they?

Human notions of right and evil underpin ethical standards. The following are the distinctions between them: Ethical standards are based on human rights and wrongs, whereas legal standards are based on written legislation. It is possible for something to be legal yet unethical.

2. What ethical issues do you need to be aware of during therapy?

  • Boundaries.
  • Ability to work professionally.
  • Personal issues.
  • Confidentiality.
  • Respecting clients’ opinions.
  • Involvement of the authorities.
  • Maintain your Position.
  • Maintaining your treatment.

3. Why are ethics important in therapy?

Ethics are crucial in therapy because they safeguard the client’s and counselors’ welfare by explicitly defining what is proper. Counselors and therapists often encounter challenging and sensitive issues. This puts the customer in a dangerous situation.

Additional content on the topic.


  • Breeskin, J. (2011). Procedures and guidelines for group therapy. The Group Psychologist, 21(1). Retrieved from http://www.apadivisions.org/division-49/publications/newsletter/group-psychologist/2011/04/group-procedures.aspx
  • Loewenberg, F. M.; Dolgoff, R. & Harrington, D. (2000). Ethical decisions for social work practice, 6th edition. Itasca, IL: F. E. Peacock.
  • McClanahan, K.K. (2014). Can confidentiality be maintained in group therapy? Retrieved from http://nationalpsychologist.com/2014/07/can-confidentiality-be-maintained-in-group-therapy/102566.html
  • U.S. Department of Health &Human Services. (2014). HIPAA privacy rules and sharing information related to mental health. Retrieved from http://www.hhs.gov/sites/default/files/ocr/privacy/hipaa/understanding/speail/mhguidencepdf.pdf
  • Ware, J.N., & Dillman-Taylor, D. (2014). Concerns about confidentiality: The application of ethical decision-making within-group play therapy. International Journal of Play Therapy, 23(3), 172-186. doi:10.1037/a0036667
  • Wheeler, K. (Eds.). (2014). Psychotherapy for the advanced practice psychiatric nurse: A how-to guide for evidence-based practice. New York, NY: Springer.

Essay Samples on Legal and Ethical Considerations for Group and Family Therapy