Legal Implications Of Engaging In Marriage And Family Therapy

Marriage And Family Therapy

An increasing fusion of legal concepts with social scientific conceptual frameworks has resulted in today’s social policy. These two sides have converged around similar goals, as with most unions. For ages, the legal system has worked to keep the family as the societal order’s core building block. Similarly, throughout the last century, mental health practitioners have gained greater prominence in assisting to draft legislation designed to promote healthy, supportive family structure. Nowadays, legal services and mental health experts’ expertise and help are intricately tied to most facets of public policy, to the point that the legal system is being actively used to support goals considered desirable by the mental health profession and conversely

Marriage and family therapists must be knowledgeable about the law. Marriage and family counsellors, for example, may volunteer to serve as expert witnesses to aid the court system. Expert witness evidence that is effective involves knowledge of not just marriage and family difficulties, but also the legal issues at hand and the method by which they will be determined. Even when they don’t want to, marriage and family therapists are occasionally called upon to testify as fact witnesses.

In recent times, the concepts on which professional legal duty and culpability judgements are founded have undergone significant modifications. To defend themselves and their patients, marriage and family counselors must stay current with these developments. For instance, knowing the appropriate law permits therapists to make more complex judgements about when confidentiality applies versus when information must be disseminated to the required party.

There is a need for ethical norms that take into consideration concerns that occur when treatment is done with more than one member of the family, given the growing number of psychotherapists engaged in marital and family psychotherapy. The ethical standards for psychologists and specialty recommendations for therapists are usually written in terms of a one therapist and one patient therapeutic interaction. When a group of relatives is seen in treatment, however, challenging ethical concerns that arise in personal therapy become even more problematic. The APA’s group therapy rules enhance the more basic ethical principles by taking into account circumstances when there are several clients. These principles, nevertheless, do not immediately address the concerns of professional family therapists, due to the differences in degrees of closeness and intensity observed in group relationships versus family relations.

The growing tendency among therapists to incorporate some sort of informed consent method as normal clinical practice indicates a shift in attitude toward clients as consumers as well as a realization of increased legal control of psychotherapeutic techniques. The most important concern in family therapy is that processes for informed consent be carried out with all those who engage in therapy, even those who catch up later.


MARGOLIN, G. (n.d.). Ethical and Legal Considerations in Marital and Family Therapy. Amercan Psychology, 1-14. Wilcoxon, A., & P., T. (2014).

Ethical, Legal, and Professional Issues in the Practice of Marriage and Family Therapy. Pearson Education, Inc.

Marriage And Family

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