Ethical Issues in Marital and Family Therapy Essay

3695 Words15 Pages
Ethics and Standards of Professional PracticePSYC-8705-6 | Final PaperEthical Issues in Family and Marital TherapyHealth Psychology Program | | Denise A. Bolden-Little | 11/7/2010 |


Due to the extremely sensitive nature of marital and family therapy, it is imperative that therapists engage in the ethical, competent treatment of their clients. There are three aspects of marriage and family therapy research that makes it unique from other research fields: 1) multiple family members are involved; 2) it involves extremely sensitive information; and 3) it is performed in conjunction with therapy. According to Hohmann-Marriott (2001), because of these aspects as well as the researcher’s responsibility to conduct
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Hohmann-Marriott (2001) offered a couple of solutions for this dilemma. One alternative is to place the control group on a waiting list for treatment after the experimental group has completed its study. The problem with this option, however, is that it places the family at risk because treatment could be significantly delayed. The more favorable alternative is to offer different treatment options to the control group and the experimental group. If one treatment modality proves more beneficial, then the other group can be offered that treatment upon completion of the study. It is the responsibility of the researcher to balance the participant’s right to privacy with the scientific need to publish research results (Hohmann-Mariott, 2001). Confidentiality helps the researcher to maintain this balance, which is essential given the highly sensitive information that marital and family researchers encounter. One way to ensure the family’s confidentiality is to ask them to review the research study prior to publication. This allows them to suggest changes in details that may compromise their privacy and confidentiality. Another imperative to conducting ethical marital and family research is to avoid dual relationships. According to Hohmann-Marriott (2001), when a researcher takes on roles in addition to research, conflict of interest may occur. Some common dual relationships that are likely to result in conflict are: therapeutic relationships;
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