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Working With Family Systems

Working With Family Systems

Part 1

“Marriage and Family Therapists Have Unique Confidentiality Concerns Because the Client in a Therapeutic Relationship May be More Than one Person.

The therapist and the client have a relationship that calls for a lot of trust and confidentiality. According to Darby and Weinstock (2018), this is a relationship that requires that there should be boundaries. At the same time, the location of the meeting, privacy, and fees are the things that bind these two individuals together. The therapeutic relationship starts with disclosure. The first session should be a disclosure session because the client opens up to share all that is going on in their lives with the therapist so that the therapist can determine how best to help (Darby & Weinstock, 2018). The initial relationship between the therapist and the client is typically uneasy because they are presumably strangers. However, as the meeting continues the relationship becomes more substantial. Consistently, there are ethics that the client and the therapist should observe. To begin, the therapist ought to refrain from receiving gifts from the client. If a gift must be accepted, it should be inexpensive. Additionally, there can be ethical issues if the therapist and the client are close friends, family members, or coworkers. Moreover, there would also be ethical concerns if the therapist develops relationships with the client, which could lead to emotional bonds; hence these kinds of relationships are discouraged.

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However, in every case, the therapist should exercise confidentiality and ensure that anything spoken in the therapy room remains between them and the client. There are cases where the therapy may involve more than one person, like when the therapist works with a husband and a wife. In that case, also, confidentiality is to be maintained between the three. There is also a scenario where the therapist may request the client to disclose some of the things they have discussed in the counseling sessions (Darby & Weinstock, 2018). For instance, a therapist might be working with an individual who opens up about having an affair that the husband does not know. In such a case, the therapist may request the client to disclose the secret to their spouse. The therapist should also advise the individual to disclose the affair to their partner. It is important to note that the client is responsible for informing the spouse about the affair, not the therapist. In such a case, the therapist can advise the individual to terminate the other relationship for their Marriage to work. There should be an agreement between the spouses on the issue for the relationship to continue.

Part 2

What Do You Think?

Firstly, rules should be laid down by the therapist right at the beginning of the sessions. These rules should be very clear. When a therapist is working with a couple, it should be understood that there should be no deceit or withholding of information throughout the sessions and that everyone should be open and truthful. As such, it is expected that all the couples will practice openness and avoid any form of dishonesty for them to be helped. However, it is not uncommon if, in the intensity of the discussions and the sessions, one of the partners asks to speak privately to the therapist (Doshi et al., 2019). In this instance, Tim appears to want to share a secret with the therapist and asks if he can speak with him/her during the course of the therapy. If I were the therapist, I would agree to listen to Tim; however, I would remind him of my professional position and the rules we set in our first meeting. Subsequently, it is crucial to remember that the therapist should respect the client and avoid acting in a way that makes them uncomfortable or lose confidence while in therapy. Therefore, the first step I would take is to ask Tim to see me privately so he can open up. Once he has opened up, suppose the information he provides is something his partner should be aware of. In that case, I will try to get Tim to see and realize that the only way for the therapy to accomplish its objectives and for the treatment to be successful is if he stays open and truthful to his spouse (Doshi et al., 2019). I would remind him that we set rules and goals at the beginning of the treatment and that adhering to them was important. On the other hand, it is worth noting that Julie does not appreciate the secrets between her and Tim.

Furthermore, I would be supportive when Tim reveals his secret to his partner to help them adjust. It is vital to note that the clients do not want to feel alone during this time and want to know that they will have support from the therapist. I would make sure to be very supportive of both of them without favoring one over the other because my objective as a therapist is to assist them in reaching an agreement that is satisfying to both of them.


Darby, W. C., & Weinstock, R. (2018). The Limits of Confidentiality: Informed Consent and Psychotherapy. Focus (American Psychiatric Publishing), 16(4), 395–401.

Doshi, P., Robak, R., Griffin, P., & Ward, A. (2019). Confidentiality in counselor experiential training groups: An exploratory study. Journal of Counseling Research and Practice, 5(1), 29-48.


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Part 1: The AAMFT Code of Ethics, Standard II Confidentiality, states, “Marriage and family therapists have unique confidentiality concerns because the client in a therapeutic relationship may be more than one person. Therapists respect and guard the confidences of each individual client.” Write a brief 400 words) statement about what this standard means and an example of when (and how) it would be evoked.

Working With Family Systems

Working With Family Systems

Part 2: What do you think? A couple, Julie and Tim, have been coming to you for help, and Tim wants to speak to you alone. He has a secret that he hasn’t told his partner about, and he wants you to keep it a secret. Do you agree to speak with him alone? Why or why not? And what would your response be to Tim? This section should be 400 words.

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