Law & Ethics
When Practitioners work with couples, they encounter challenging legal and ethical dilemmas. Discuss the unique ethical and legal challenges faced by couple therapists, along with available alternatives and recommendation for practice. Then respond to the following vignette:
Rose provided weekly individual therapy to Jonathan for about six months. During that period of time, Jonathan’s wife, Sue, agreed to participate in some conjoint sessions with him and Rose, in order to help Jonathan address some of his individual issues. Although Jonathan and Sue both found those sessions to be productive, Jonathan was particularly encouraged by the positive changes in his relationship with Sue. Later, Jonathan persuaded Sue to join him in marital therapy with Rose. Based on her belief that the various issues addressed in the therapy sessions were closely related, and to simplify her record keeping, Rose documented all of the therapy sessions that were provided to Jonathan and Sue in a single treatment record.
Questions applicable to Vignette
Was it appropriate to include Jonathan’s wife in collateral visits with Jonathan during his individual therapy? If “yes,” why? If “no,” why not?
Was it problematic to provide marital therapy to Jonathan and Sue at the conclusion of his individual therapy? If “yes,” why? If “no,” why not?
Was it problematic for Rose to document all of the therapy provided to Jonathan and Sue in a single treatment record? If “yes,” why? If “no,” what would have been preferable?
How should Rose respond if either Sue or Jonathan requested a copy of the progress notes for the marital sessions?