Listed below is a situation that may or may not violate codes of ethics when working with families. Study the scenario carefully and then go to the codes of ethics for AAMFT, IAMFC, AACC, and ACA to find the ethical answers to the dilemmas presented. Be sure to record the code location on each ethical code where the violation or permission is given for the counselor to do what had been done (ex: AAMFT 2.2 or ACA B.7.2).
You have been counseling a family of Korean origin for the past 5 weeks. Specific family members have been suffering from generalized anxiety disorder, which is connected to family discord and what you see as blurred boundary issues. In your fifth counseling session, the daughter tells you that Americans do not understand their cultural differences and how they affect family rules. Having worked with over a hundred clients struggling with anxiety, you feel she needs to set clear boundaries for her family members. You instruct her to exercise more independence from her family and seek to become self-actualized.
As a competent Christian counselor, you also give her Mark 10:6–9 and Luke 14:26–27 and ask her to study them this week to see how individuals must distance themselves and become self-differentiated.
In your reply, look for other confirmations in the codes that the therapist either did well or violated competent practice.
Notes that I copied from the codes that could be potential violations
AAMFT: 3.10Scope of Competence Marriage and family therapists do not diagnose, treat, or advise on problems outside the recognized boundaries of their competencies
AACC, 1-110-b: Managing Client Conflicts
Christian counselors acknowledge that client conflicts are unavoidable and attempt to resolve all counseling conflicts in the client’s best interest. Counselors tempted to respond in harmful ways to clients shall seek out consultative and restorative help. If self-control is not accomplished—and client harm is unavoidable—counselors shall consider making an appropriate referral in the client’s best interest.
1-240: Duties to Consult and/or Refer
1) when facing issues not dealt with before or not experienced in handling; (2) when clients need further help outside the scope of one’s training, practice and expertise;
1-630: Working with Couples, Families, and Groups
Christian counselors often work with multiple persons in session—marriage couples, families or parts of families, partners and small groups—and should know when these forms of counseling are preferred over or used as an adjunct to individual counseling. In these relationships counselors should identify a primary client—the group as a unit or the individual members—and discuss how differing roles, counseling goals, confidentiality and consent issues are affected by these dynamics.
A.2.c. Developmental and
Cultural Sensitivity In collaboration with clients, counselors
consider cultural implications
of informed consent procedures and,
where possible, counselors adjust their
C.2. Professional Competence
C.2.a. Boundaries of
Counselors practice only within the
boundaries of their competence, based
on their education, training, supervised
experience, state and national
professional credentials, and appropriate
professional experience. Whereas
multicultural counseling competency is
required across all counseling specialties,
counselors gain knowledge, personal
awareness, sensitivity, dispositions, and
skills pertinent to being a culturally
competent counselor in working with a
diverse client population..
References will be the AAMFT, IAMFC, AACC, and ACA codes of Ethics and Goldenberg, I., & Goldenberg, H. (2013). Family therapy: An overview. Monterey, Calif.: Brooks/Cole Pub.