Ethical Decision Making Case Study - You are a therapist in private

Question # 00645394
Subject: Psychology
Due on: 03/22/2023
Posted On: 03/22/2023 05:35 AM
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Ethical Decision Making Case Study

Assignment:

This final paper assignment is intended to give you practical experience in ethical and legal decisionmaking as a MFT. You are the therapist in this situation making decisions and taking action. The structure for your paper is to apply the ethical decisionmaking framework below to this situation, with no additional sections. You are the therapist. Remember that you are being asked to focus on ethical/legal decisionmaking in the context of therapy for this paper. You need to show in each step of the framework how you are applying the step in this particular scenario. Talk in specific terms about what you are thinking and doing.

Case Study:

You are a therapist in private practice with 5 years’ experience postgrad from your MFT program.  Prior to opening your practice, while gaining hours toward licensure, you worked for two years in a program for youth sexoffenders and their families, doing both preventive and treatment focused family therapy.  In your private practice, you see John (Black, cisgender, hetero, male, age 36) for individual therapy.  John is divorced from Alaina (White, cisgender, bi-sexual, female, age 38) with whom he shares joint custody of their 7-year-old son by birth - kevin. John lives with his current spouse Karen (Black, cis, hetero, age 32, conservative Christian), who has a 5-year old daughter, Rhea, from a previous relationship.  John and Karen have Rhea and Kevin living with them several days each week when the children are not with their respective other parents.  

The focus of therapy for John is managing the stress and recent panic attacks related to - COVID stressors and fear of job loss, being a black father raising a black son, and managing his conflictual custody and co-parenting relationship with Alaina. Occasionally Karen also attends therapy and the focus is on couple issues or parenting.  

One day John comes to session upset about an incident that occurred over the weekend.  He relates to you that Rhea told Karen that Kevin asked Rhea to show her “privates” when they were playing and offered to show her his.  Rhea said “no” and went to find her mother (Karen).  Karen and John spoke with one another and agreed to speak with both children about appropriate touch/play and to explore if anyone had crossed boundaries with either of them.  Kevin was upset by the talk, would not talk to them and ran out of the room.  Rhea confirmed that it was an isolated event.  John asked for your advice about how to further handle the situation.  You called on your experience from your previous work and helped John develop a safety plan while offering some suggestions for helping Kevin with his reactivity.  John shared the safety plan with both Karen and Alaina; wanting Alaina to be aware in case any unusual behavior developed while at her house. Alaina has a 17-mo.-old son in addition to Kevin but does not live with this son’s father.  John and you had no further conversation in therapy about the situation after it seemed to resolve itself once Kevin was able to talk to John about his embarrassment and apologize to Rhea.  

Several weeks later you receive a call from Alaina leaving a message stating that she wants a copy of her son’s medical record.  You contact Alaina by phone at the number Alaina gave and leave a message stating that you are not Kevin’s therapist and do not have a record to share with her.  Alaina leaves a second angry message and sends an email stating that she knows John is seeing you for therapy about their son and threatening you that if she does not get the record, she will report you to the licensing board for withholding her son’s record and for not calling child protective services and her.  You decide not to respond, and three weeks later receive a subpoena for therapy notes about Kevin. 

John comes to therapy the next day and says that Alaina is taking him to court for full custody.  He asks you to testify for him and to write a letter attesting to his parenting capabilities.  He reports that he is also experiencing increased panic attacks from all the stress and breaks down in tears in the session.  Karen, who has accompanied him to the session this week asks you to pray with them for John’s panic attacks to stop and for help in getting through this difficult time.

Questions to Answer:

1.What is the clearest possible statement of the ethical/legal or questions you may have to act?

2. Review relevant formal ethical standards (AAMFT Code of Ethics)

3. Review relevant legal standards

4. Who is the client in this situation?

5. Assess areas of competence and of missing knowledge, skills, or experience with regard to this situation.

6. Review the relevant research and theory

7. Consider how personal feelings & biases affect judgement or decision making

8. Consider cultural, religious, political, historical, social and contextual factors

9. Consider obtaining consultation

10. Develop possible c0urces of action

11. Try to adopt the prespeptive of each person who will be affected by your actions.

12. Decide what to do.

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