Ethical Issues Unique To Group Therapy Social Work Essay

3242 words (13 pages) essay in Social Work

5/12/16 Social Work Reference this

Disclaimer: This work has been submitted by a student. This is not an example of the work produced by our essay writing service.

You can view samples of our professional work here.

Any opinions, findings, conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of UK Essays.

Group Therapy has a variety of ethical issues one of the main issues that maybe encountered is involuntary group members. Corey, Williams, and Moline (1995) explained that ethically a counselor should advise clienteles of theirs privileges and duties and advise them of any probable concerns they face if they choose to follow treatment. Informed consent is extremely important when participation is mandatory. Informed consent is something that all psychologist, counselor, and therapist have to obtain from clients. The consent is important because certain guidelines have to be followed by the counselor during the sessions. When a client becomes involuntary this puts the counselor in a comprising position. The counselor becomes comprised because the incorporation of the client places limits on the direction of the sessions in the group.

The following is an example of legal issue where a patient refuses medical care. Website Merck (2007), stated “People who have legal and clinical capacity may refuse any medical care. They may refuse care even if it is something almost everyone else would accept or something that is clearly life-saving”. With that being said there is also a variety of issues related to right of refusal.

The following is a list of some legal issues related to refusal of consent. American Bar Association (n.d.), stated “religiously sponsored HMOs often do not cover prohibited services or provide information, counseling, or referrals to plan members who may want or need these services. Women in Medicaid managed care plans face particular challenges” (Susan, Lourdes). Because of the risk of misdiagnosis financial factors have become an issue. Psychologist and therapist are avoiding working with some clients because of what insurance they have. The reason for this is because some insurance companies cannot be reimbursed for certain diagnosis. In addition insurance companies are starting to take practitioners to civil court for incompetence.

Ethical Issues Unique to Individual Counseling

Some of the ethical issues a counselor may encounter in individual counseling may range from dual relationships, involuntary client, moral dilemmas, breach of confidentiality, and other significant factors. Ethics in psychotherapy and counseling (2007), stated “In the mid-1970s, New York Supreme Court Presiding Justice Markowitz recognized evidence that from the time of Freud to the present, the health care professions had agreed that therapist-patient sex harms patients” (Pope, Vasquez, p. 174). The extent of sexual relationships has not been fully understood until recently. Within the past quarter century a diverse series of investigations have broaden the meaning of therapist – client relationships in individual psychotherapy. Certain issues that were addressed in the investigation included how clients can be injured, physical contact with clients, and sexual attraction to patients. Studies that were conducted have concluded that certain outcomes for sexually abused clients. Clients who have been sexually involved with individual counselors produce negative outcomes.

Therapist would choose Group Therapy

Essentially, Group Therapy is targeted on assisting clients with data about specific categories in order to give supplementary means or data. Counselors believe that group therapy is more structured; in group therapy counselors also believe that clients are provided with precise categories or modules to debate and learn about. The intent is to supply individuals with access data about the categories, which is frequently recognized in the label of the group. the process group therapy is favored by counselors too. a process group is best explained as a group that targets on the experience of belonging to a group, itself, this recognition is part of the healing opportunity given within the group. An example would be the process of a client showing their ideas, emotions, and in the group, “in the here and now” can become the essential vehicle that finds change in group therapy. Counselors often choose group therapy to supplement individual therapy. Counselors believe group therapy will supply clients with access support, or as the primary part of healing work. On no account substance what issues a client may want to address in therapy, group therapy give clients the opportunity to share their thought which is part of their healing journey. Counselors believes that clients attending group gain a sense from the experience as a way to know that they “are not alone” and that there others, with similar experiences, who are supportive of them.

Therapist would choose Individual Counseling

Ethical decision making in professional psychology is important to regulate the practice of psychology. Individual counselors believe that ethical decision making procedures can produce positive psychological outcomes. In addition ethical decision making places a certain degree of accountability on the psychologist in individual counseling. Ethical guidelines and educational requirements ensure that clients receive adequate professional assistance on a one on one basis. Ethical decision making in a sense also causes a power shift. Paste psychological practices were controlled by the therapist. In modern times clients have a say so of what treatments and practices they want to receive. This is due to current ethical guidelines. Psychologists give numerous reasons why Multicultural psychology has become a subspecialty. With a society that is diverse in culture psychology had no choose but to be aware of these circumstances. Because of this factor training had to be given to researchers and psychologist in the career field. These measures were done to raise awareness of culture differences and to clarify that these differences had to be handled different individually. Cultural competence is best explained by CEO Services (2007), as “the development of skills by individuals and systems to live and work with, educate and serve diverse individuals and communities”.  

Having multicultural psychology as a subspecialty eradicates negative beliefs about other cultures. In addition categories of discrimination, prejudice, lack of education, and ethical values are learned. A major issue with research done with past experiments was they were not culturally equal. Things like the above issue and other factors lead to the requirement of multicultural psychology as a subspecialty. If a professional is culturally competent they should see and understand cultural, economic, gender, and physical differences that another individual may have in society. Culturally competent professional should not be prejudiced in thought while considering another human being feelings and cultural traditions. Social Phobia has a connection with the stability-change issue. The Life -Span Development (2007) text explains the stability-change dispute consists of the point to which early traits and characteristics persist through life or change. In the stability-change issue Developmental psychologists acknowledge the concept as broken into two separate issues. On the stability side of the issue psychologist argue that early experiences in life can affect a person’s stability or there heredity can cause change in stability. But on the change side of the spectrum psychologist are arguing that people’s later experiences can cause change. So in saying that the change concept is basically that people are is constantly being molded throughout their life span.

Distinctive Features

Some of the distinctive features that are associated with social phobia range in vary areas. “Person with social phobia experience excessive fear of being humiliated or judged negatively in social or performance situations” (Heimberg, G. R., Liebowitz, R. M., Hope, A. D., Schneier, R. F., 1995). Social anxiety and panic disorder are also qualified as features in the social phobia criterion. The different experiences an individual lives through and witness can mold their mind state. If an individual has had many experiences dealing with discrimination they may perceive the world as unfair. If an individual is or maybe was raised in poverty they may perceive the world as unfair and class based.

A prime example would be a minority individual born during the civil rights era or earlier. These individuals had witnessed the inequality of America and seen the horror that come from inequality. A majority of individuals who lived during those times have negative views on white America. I have seen this in my grandmother who is 83. She can get along with other races but she is still to a degree stuck in the past. Often stating how minorities should watch they do because of inequality.

Ethical Challenges I may Face

Being a counselor some of the many ethical challenges I believe I will face will be as followed. Being a counselor whether the setting is for a group or individual counseling Being mentally aware is important for individuals so they can understand their personal ethical perspectives in life. If individuals have an understanding of their ethical perspective other attributes can be understood. Personal ethical views can influence emotions and reactive behavior in some individuals. Personal ethical perspectives are essential in formulating who an individual is and what they stand for. In addition understanding personal ethical perspective is necessary when choosing a career field. Ethical dilemmas’ can be frequent if professional ethics are opposite of an employee’s personal ethics. If personal ethics are misunderstood stress can manifest in individuals. Ethics in psychotherapy and counseling (2007), stated “Uncertainty causes stress for some of us. We cannot find that magical book that will tell us what to do, especially in a crisis” (Pope, Vasquez, p. 2).

The argument about personal and professional ethics has been debated for a while. But each ethic is unique and essentially a necessity to function in society. The United States has become a nation were ethical perspectives are revered. The evolution the United States has made is amazing. Manifesting from a primitive culture to what is now known as the ethical nation. Work ethics involve such characteristics as honesty and accountability. Basically, work ethics break down to what one does or would do in a particular situation ethics as guidelines restrict the abrasive production low safety, employees non-companies, non-compliance with legal regulations and even lawsuits. Ethical regulations decline tension; makes the environment more beneficial by fostering a goal focused climate of cooperation that even boost business. Ethical regulations purely boost a positive site for the future.


Better Morale

Worker safety

Organized work environment

All organizations have laws that they have to abide by, employees, board members, and those who work voluntarily must do the same. Regardless of personal feelings toward those laws, they are to obey all laws in the performance of their work on behalf of Community Services. Ethics

is the central part, the heart of leading and include private duties of service and public duties to the common good. Therefore, personal, professional, and practical ethics are included into a multidimensional perspective of ethical leadership in human service organizations

Development of Professional Ethics through Societal Norms

Ethical standards have a role in society’s developmental norms. Social norms are explained on Sociology Guide website. Sociology Guide (2006), stated “Sociologists have offered the following definition. Social norms are rules developed by a group of people that specify how people must, should, may, should not, and must not behave in various situations”. To better understand what ethical standards really mean, the Santa Clara University (2007), stated “Ethics has to do with what my feelings tell me is right or wrong; Ethics has to do with my religious beliefs. Being ethical is doing what the law requires; Ethics consists of the standards of behavior our society accepts” (Velasquez, Andre, Shanks, S.J., and Meyer).

Evolution of cultural factors and beliefs has impacted ethical standards also. Some of these factors are responsibility, malpractice, ethical dilemmas, ethical judgment, reasoning, language, and justifications. American 18 or 1900’s social norms seem barbaric compared to 21st century norms. A prime example of disturbing social norms and ethical codes are practices of psychology. Practices such as psychosurgery left permanent damage to areas of the brain. Other primitive methods used were insane asylums, electroconvulsive therapy, and Trepanation. Robert Todd Carroll (2007) states “Trepanation is the process of cutting a hole in the skull”. If those procedures were practiced today society would consider them cruel and legally incorrect.

Ethical standards and codes have helped the American nation become civilized. Civilized behavior is a progression compared to when individuals would react by emotions. In addition the codes have formed this nation into a more business oriented society. Ethical standards have made equal right obtainable to women. Because ethical standards and codes affect social norms woman can vote, and get equal pay. Equal bus seating, right to vote, and other factors African Americans gained because of ethical standards. Disabled individuals have also gotten opportunities to work. Through the development of new ethics standards societal norms have also changed and quality of life for all individuals has improved.

APA Ethics Code

The American Psychological Association’s Ethical Principles of Psychologists and Code of Conduct consist of an introduction, a preamble, five general principles and specific ethical standards. The general principles and preamble are not enforceable rules. However, they should be considered by psychologists in arriving at a professional and ethical course of action. The Ethical Standards are set enforceable rules for conduct of psychologists/psychiatrists. Most of these standards are written so they apply to psychologists that have various roles within the field.

The American Psychological Association enforces members and student residents to comply with the standards of their ethics code and the procedures and rules that are used to enforce them. Misunderstanding or lack of awareness of the code is not considered a defense if a member and/or student resident is charged with unethical conduct.

The APA’s Ethics code ensures psychologies will protect the human and civil rights and the importance of freedom of inquiry and expression in teaching, research and publication. Psychologists perform many roles; such as educators, diagnosticians, researchers, supervisors, therapist, administrators, consultants, expert witnesses and social interventionists. The APA’s Ethics codes provide a common set of standards and principles, in which psychologist, researcher, therapist, etc. build their scientific and professional work.

APA Ethical Violations

The impact of the American Psychological Association’s (APA) ethical standards and codes on professional practice in the field of psychology includes how the ethical issues are resolved once one is accused. The ethical code deals with such matters as: misuse of psychologists’ work, conflicts between ethics and law, regulations, or other governing legal authority, informal resolution of ethical violations, reporting ethical violations, improper complaints, and unfair discrimination against complainants and respondents. (APA, 2002)

Psychologists who learn of misuse or misrepresentation of their work may take reasonable steps to correct or minimize the misuse or misrepresentation through the APA. When there is a conflict between ethics and law, regulations, or other governing legal authority and a psychologist’s responsibilities they make known their commitment to the Ethics Code and take steps to resolve the conflict. If the conflict cannot be resolved via such means, psychologists may adhere to the requirements of the law, regulations, or other governing legal authority. (APA, 2002)

Sometimes situations may call for informal resolution of ethical violations. If a psychologist believes that there may have been an ethical violation by another psychologist, they may attempt to resolve the issue by bringing it to the attention of that individual, if an informal resolution appears appropriate and the intervention does not violate any confidentiality rights that may be involved. Reporting ethical violations may be necessary when an apparent ethical violation has substantially harmed or is likely to substantially harm a person or organization. Psychologists may take further action appropriate to the situation such as referral to state or national committees on professional ethics, to state licensing boards, or to the appropriate institutional authorities. This standard does not apply when an intervention would violate confidentiality rights or when psychologists have been retained to review the work of another psychologist whose professional conduct is in question. (APA, 2002)

When a Psychologist does not file or encourage the filing of ethics complaints that are made with reckless disregard for or willful ignorance of facts that would disprove the allegation the ethics code allows for treatment of these improper complaints. Unfair discrimination against complainants and respondents in the APA ethics code demands that Psychologists do not deny persons employment, advancement, admissions to academic or other programs, tenure, or promotion, based solely upon their having made or their being the subject of an ethics complaint. This does not preclude taking action based upon the outcome of such proceedings or considering other appropriate information. (APA, 2002)

Psychology and Professional Ethics

Psychologists have an obligation to protect the people in which they counsel on a regular basis. Ethic codes have been created to protect the public and offer guidance to professionals in serving their clientele. Many different mental health organizations have their own set of ethical codes in which they follow on a day to day basis. Without these ethical codes, they would not be able to properly protect themselves or their clients in the unlikely event that they are accused or sued for malpractice.

There is believed to be three main reasons that these ethical standards and codes have been created for professional psychologists to follow. The three standards and codes are the general reason is to educate professionals about adequate ethical conduct; consultants that comprehend the standards may acknowledge prolonged alertness, ideals-interpretation, and difficult-answering abilities. Next, ethical standards encourage responsibility, also, counselors need to preserve ethical conduct encourage such from colleagues as well. Third the code of ethics helps support in cultivating preparation by proposing answers to challenging inquiries and circumstances (Herlihy & Corey, 1996).

“Ethical issues in mental-health are governed by professional codes and laws. Law defines the minimum standards of performance which society will tolerate and these standards are enforced by the government. Ethics illustrates maximum or ideal standards of performance set by the profession and are managed by professional associations, national certification boards, and government boards which regulate professions” (Remley, 1996). Ethical codes that are used in mental- health organizations are revised when new issues in the psychological community arise.

Providing a code of ethics to clients receiving psychological care has proven to be fundamental in the field of psychology. Not only to the psychologist providing treatment but also to the client who is receiving treatment on a daily, weekly, or even a monthly basis. Besides knowing these rules, a therapist must be able to think rationally and apply different ethical standards to each individual situation that may crop up while they are providing professional counseling services. Not every situation is covered under these individual codes and standards. Often a psychologist is forced to make their own decisions in regards to which way to best treat a client who is seeking help. Without these codes of ethics, a therapist would be unprotected should they provide the wrong type of treatment to one of the clients they are serving. This could often a therapist up to losing their license to practice and be sued which could end up costing them a fortune financially, professionally, and personally.


The APA ethics code systematically describes how psychologists and psychiatrists should behave in a professional environment. Societal norms have helped to define how professional ethics should be followed and has also contributed to how the APA’s ethics code has developed. Through communication of this ethics code among psychologists, they can hope to have greater success with clients and better relationships with colleagues.

Cite This Work

To export a reference to this article please select a referencing stye below:

Reference Copied to Clipboard.
Reference Copied to Clipboard.
Reference Copied to Clipboard.
Reference Copied to Clipboard.
Reference Copied to Clipboard.
Reference Copied to Clipboard.
Reference Copied to Clipboard.

Related Content

Featured review logo

“Thank you UK Essays for your timely assistance. It has helped me to push forward with my thesis.”

Tajeram M

Related Services

View all

DMCA / Removal Request

If you are the original writer of this essay and no longer wish to have the essay published on the UK Essays website then please.

McAfee SECURE sites help keep you safe from identity theft, credit card fraud, spyware, spam, viruses and online scams Prices from

Undergraduate 2:2 • 1,000 words • 7 day delivery

Learn More Order now

Delivered on-time or your money back

Each order includes
  • A fully qualified writer in your subject
  • 100% confidentiality, the work is never re-sold or published
  • Standard 7-day amendment period
  • A paper written to the standard ordered
  • A detailed plagiarism report
  • A comprehensive quality report
Rated 4.5 out of 5 by Logo (62 Reviews)

Our Services

We have a range of academic services including essay writing, full and part dissertation writing, and our ever popular marking and proofreading service.

You can view our full service portfolio here

UK Essays can show you how to write great academic work with our 4.5 star rated services Logo
Place an order or Learn about our services