Helping you become all that you are capable of becoming!



Ethical Issues when working with Couples, Families, Children and Adolescents

Professional Mental Health Ethics

A Training Resource

By James J Messina, Ph.D., CCMHC, NCC, DCMHS-T

References for Dealing with Ethical Issues Involving Couples, Families, Children and Adolescents

Ethical Issues in Couple and Family Therapy

Brown, R. & Strozier, M. (2004). Resisting abuse at what cost? The impact of mandated reporting laws on the process and content of therapy. Contemporary Family Therapy: An International Journal, 26(1), 45-60.


Ellis, E.M. (2012). What are the confidentiality rights of collaterals in family therapy? The American Journal of Family Therapy, 40(5), 369-384. DOI: 10.1080/01926187.2012.677705.


Grimes, M.E. & McElwain, A.D. (2008). Marriage and family therapy with low-income clients: Professional, ethical, and clinical issues. Contemporary Family Therapy: An International Journal, 30(4), 220-232. DOI: 10.1007/s10591-008-9071-5.


Grossman, L.R. & Koocher, G.P. (2010) Privacy, confidentiality, and privilege of health records and psychotherapy notes in custody cases. American Journal of Family Law, 24(1), 41-50.


Kaslow, F. (2006). Some legal issues patients may face while in therapy. Contemporary Family Therapy, 28(4), 419-436. DOI: 10.1007/s10591-006-9023-x.


Kurri, K. & Wahlstron, J. (2005). Placement of responsibility and moral reasoning in couple therapy. Journal of Family Therapy, 27(4), 352-369.  DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-6427.2005.00327.x.


Larner, G. (2004). Family therapy and the politics of evidence. Journal of Family Therapy, 26(1), 17-39. DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-6427.2004.00265.x.


Larner, G. (2009). Integrating family therapy in adolescent depression: An ethical stance. Journal of Family Therapy, 31(3), 213-232.  DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-6427.2009.00468.x.


Margolin, G., Chien, D., Duman, S.E., Fauchier, A. Gordis, E.B., Oliver, P.H., Ramos, M.C. & Vickerman, K.A. (2005). Ethical issues in couple and family research. Journal of Family Psycology, 19(1), 157-167. DOI: 10.1037/0893-3200.19.1.157


McLaurin, S.L. & Ricci, R.J. (2003). Ethical issues and at-risk behaviors in marriage and family therapy: A qualitative study of awareness. Contemporary Family Therapy: An International Journal, 25(4), 453-466.


Newfield, S.A., Newfield, N.A., Smith, J.A. & Edward, T. (2000). Ethical decision making among family therapists and individual therapists. Family Process, 39(2), 177-188.


Ramisch, J.L. & Franklin, D. (2008). Families with a member with mental retardation and the ethical implications of therapeutic treatment by marriage and family therapists. The American Journal of Family Therapy, 36(4), 312-322. DOI: 10.1080/01926180701647439.


Rappleyea, D.L., Harris, S.M., White, M. & Simon K. (2009) Termination: Legal and ethical considerations for marriage and family therapists. The American Journal of Family Therapy, 37(1), 12-27. DOI: 10.1080/01926180801960617.


Scher, S. & Kozlowska, K. (2012). Thinking, doing, and the ethics of family therapy. The American Journal of Family Therapy, 40(2), 97-114. DOI: 10.1080/01926187.2011.633851.


Sempek, A.N. & Woody, R.H. (2010). Family permanence versus best interests of the child. The American Journal of Family Therapy, 38(5), 433-439. DOI: 10.1080/01926187.2010.522492


Yeo, J.A. & Miller, M.M. (2010). Can mft’s address spirituality with clients in publically funded agencies? Contemporary Family Therapy: An International Journal, 32(2), 102-116. DOI: 10.1007/s10591-009-9107-5.


Zimmerman, J., McGarrah, N.A., Ally, G.A., Hess, A.K., Benjamin, G.A., Gollan, J.K. & Kasser-Boyd, N. (2009) Ethical and professional considerations in divorce and child custody cases. Professional Psychology: Research & Practice, 40(6), 539-549. DOI: 10.1037/a0017853.


Ethical Issues in treating Children and Adolescents

Adams, Z. W. & Boyd, S.E. (2010). Ethical challenges in the treatment of individuals ith intellectual disabilities. Ethics & Behavior, 20(6), 407-418. DOI: 10.1080/10508422.2010.521439


Branaman, T.F. & Gottlieb, M.C. (2013). Ethical and legal considerations for treatment of alleged victims: When does it become witness tampering? Professional Psychology: Research and Practice, 44(5), 299-306. DOI: 10.1037/a0033020


Crenshaw, W.B. & Lichtenberg, J.W. (1993). Child abuse and the limits of confidentiality: Forewarning practices. Behavioral Sciences and the Law, 11(2), 181-182.


Issacs, M.L. & Stone, C. (2001). Confidentiality with minors: Mental health counselors’ attitudes toward breaching or preserving confidentiality. Journal of Mental Health Counseling, 23(4), 342-356.


Jenkins, P. (2010). Having confidence in therapeutic work with young people: Constraints and challenges to confidentiality. British Journal of Guidance & Counseling, 38(3), 263-274. DOI: 10.1080/03069885.2010.483128.


Johnson, J. (2012). Treating couples raising children on the autism spectrum: A marriage-friendly approach. Contemporary Family Therapy: An International Journal, 34(4), 555-565.  DOI: 10.1007/s10591-012-9213-7.


Koocher, G.P. (2003). Ethical issues in psychotherapy with adolescents. Journal of Clinical Psychology, 59(11), 1247-1256. DOI: 10.1002/jclp.10215.


Koocher, G.P. (2008). Ethical challenges in mental health services to children and families. Journal of Clinical Psychology, 64(5), 601-612. DOI: 10.1002/jclp.20476.


Nissen-Lie, H.A. & Stanicke, E. (2014). “Yes of course it hurts when buds are breaking”: Therapist reactions to an adolescent client's sexual material in psychodynamic psychotherapy. Journal of Clinical Psychology, 70(2), 169-178. DOI: 10.1002/jclp.22067.


Rosen, J. (2013).The child's attorney and the alienated child: Approaches to resolving the ethical dilemma of diminished capacity. Family Court Review, 51(2), 330-343.


Rubenstein, A.K. (2003). Adolescent psychotherapy: An introduction. Journal of Clinical Psychology, 59(11), 1169-1175. DOI: 10.1002/jclp.10208.