HSCO 511 Ethics Paper

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Ethics in Group Counseling
Jessica Whipkey
Liberty University


This paper will study through some of the diverse ethical issues that can arise within group therapy sessions, such as conflict and confidentiality. While discussing the ethical issues within group counseling we will take note of how these ethical issues may differ and compare to the ethical issues of those within individual counseling sessions. This paper will also discuss reasons why a therapist might choose to lead a group therapy session over individual counseling and vice versa. Throughout this paper you will be accurately informed of the ethical issues surrounding group therapy and individual counseling. As someone just starting
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Therapists must also be aware that members of the group may abuse other members in the group; avoidance of this behavior may be avoided with proper guidelines in place and disclosure at the start of the group process for each member. A close relationship can be built between all group members as well as the therapist, Forsyth (2011) refers to this relationship as group cohesion. Tenbrunsel (2006) mentions social cohesion, as enabling unethical and selfish actions, instead of a positive feature of group life.
Certain modalities of therapeutic treatments are linked to ethical dilemmas as well; these modalities affect treatment outcomes as well. Dyadic therapists may misuse the intimate nature of the sessions by pushing their values on the client or clients, or by allowing therapy to extend beyond its efficiency. Confidentiality can be broken much easier with the group setting; therapists need to be highly guarded on this topic. (Amato, 2000)
“In group psychotherapies, the therapist may fail to obtain fully informed consent, or may inadequately explain that confidentiality cannot be guaranteed in a group setting. The group therapist may not have the skills to differentiate between helpful and harmful feedback from the group, may lack the knowledge to understand when premature disclosures can be harmful to a group member, or might misunderstand how groups form norms that can be either healthy or unhealthy. Family therapists are faced with problems of agency,
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