Essay about Ethical Standards Guiding Group Therapy

Essay about Ethical Standards Guiding Group Therapy

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Within the mental health profession, psychotherapeutic group processes have become increasingly popular. In this age of managed care, therapeutic group have proven to be a timely a cost-effective alternative to individualized treatment. Furthermore, group therapy has been shown to be, “as effective as individual therapy in treating a range of psychological and psychiatric problems” (Markus & King, 2003, p. 203). However, just as group treatment can provide powerful therapeutic change and growth when properly facilitated, if poorly planned, it can have the opposite effect. Furthermore, in addition to the conventional ethical dilemmas and concerns posed by individual therapy, group work presents its own unique challenges, which must be taken into consideration (Kottler, 1994). Given the recent rise in group therapy utilization, it has become increasingly imperative for mental health professionals to make themselves aware of these potential challenges, as well as maintain a solid grasp of the ethical standards that guide therapeutic group work.
Establishment of Guidelines
The American Counseling Association (ACA, 2005) and the American Psychological Association (APA, 2002) established the basic codes of conduct, or ethical guidelines, that are followed by mental health professionals who provide therapy. In 1989, however, the Association for Specialists in Group Work (ASGW, 1989), a division of the ACA, published a comprehensive set of Ethical Guidelines specifically put forth, “to promote quality group training, practice, and research through enhancing the awareness of ethical issues associated with groups” (Durr, n.d., p. 2). And as a therapeutic group leader, one must be conversant with the contents of these rules and procedu...

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Gross, B. (2006). Group concerns. Annals of the American Psychotherapy Association,
Kottler, J. A. (1994). Advanced group leadership. Pacific Grove, CA: Brooks/Cole.
Markus, H. & King, D. (2003). A survey of group psychotherapy training during
predoctoral psychology internship. Professional Psychology: Research and Practice, 34(2), 203-209.
National Board for Certified Counselors. (1998). NBCC code of ethics. Greensboro, NC:
Roback, H., Moore, R., Bloch, F., & Shelton, M. (1996). Confidentiality in group
psychotherapy: Empirical findings and the law. International Journal of Group Psychotherapy, 46(1), 133-177.
Thomas, R. V. & Pender, D. A. (2007). Association for specialists in group work: Best
practice guidelines. The Journal for Specialists in Group Work, 33(2), 111-117.

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