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Individual therapy can be described to consist of a therapeutic situation where one
individual know as the client is involved in a therapeutic process with at least one therapist.
Group therapy, on the other hand, can be described as a therapeutic situation more than one
client is treated at the same time by at least one therapist (Fehr, 2017) . In therapy, one of the
main considerations is the ethical and legal responsibilities of the parties because of the
consequences that such a breach has to the program. Although such responsibilities are the same,
there differ to some extent between individual and group and family therapy.
Legal and Ethical Considerations
One of the legal and ethical considerations in therapy is confidentiality. Confidentiality
means that information that is shared between the client and the therapist remain between the
parties and cannot be shared with third parties. There are certain differences that comes
regarding confidentiality as legal and ethical consideration. In individual therapy, confidentiality
is easy to achieve, as there are only two parties that are involved in the program. In group or
family therapy, confidentiality is complex as it involves many people being able to restrain
themselves from sharing the information from the group or family sessions with third parties
(Luepker, 2012) .
In group or family therapies, the people involved in a therapeutic program have to be told
of the fact that any information shared within the group has to remain confidential. It is
important that even documents can be signed to such effect to show the members of the
therapeutic group the importance of confidentiality and consequences of such a breach
(Bateman, Brown, & Pedder, 2010) . Additionally, people in group or family therapy would tend
to hold certain information which there are not comfortable sharing with other people apart from
the therapist whom they considered to be a professional. Therefore, the effectiveness might be
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compromised in group or family as opposed to individual therapy because of withholding
Legal and Ethical Impacts
Having analyzed the legal and ethical considerations, it should be noted that there are
various legal and ethical impacts of such considerations. Regarding legal impacts, there are
various impacts that can arise from the considerations. First, it should be noted that some of the
information that are shared during therapy might be related to activities that bring about criminal
conduct (Mitchels & Bond, 2008) . Therefore, if such information reaches third parties, then such
can form a basis for criminal liability. Additionally, certain information if shared by third parties,
can give rise to civil liabilities. In such cases, the individual who has breached the confidentiality
may also be found to have breached such confidentiality bestowed in them and end up becoming
liable for financial loss that might arise.
Ethical impacts of such consideration are the fact that the success of therapeutic programs
is reduced when confidentiality as an ethical consideration is not adhered to. As a therapist as a
professional would want to ensure that there is a success in the therapeutic sessions that he or she
has with his or her clients. Breach of confidentiality or fear of such breach would naturally
prevent clients from sharing certain information (Margolin, 1982) . One of the aspects of therapy
is that clients are free to express or share information with therapists, but for group, such is
sometimes difficult to achieve as some people find it difficult to share because of the presence of
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However, there are strategies that can be used to address the legal and ethical
considerations. First, members of a therapeutic session should sign agreements with their
therapists regarding the sharing of information with people who are no members of such
sessions. Such agreements create a perception among members of a therapeutic session on the
seriousness of keeping such information confidential. Second, therapists should ensure they
create therapeutic environments where members of therapeutic sessions can freely share
information to increase the success of such a session.
GROUP AND FAMIY THERAPY 5
Bateman, A., Brown, D., & Pedder, J. (2010). Introduction to Psychotherapy: An Outline of
Pyschodynamic Principles and Practice. London: Routledge.
Fehr, S. S. (2017). Introduction to Group Therapy: A Practical Guide. New York: The Haworth
Luepker, E. T. (2012). Record Keeping in Psychotherapy and Counseling: Protecting
Confidentiality and the Professional Relationship. New York: Routledge.
Margolin, G. (1982). Ethical and legal considerations in marital and family therapy. American
Psychologist, 37(7), 788.
Mitchels, B., & Bond, T. (2008). Confidentiality and Record Keeping in Counselling and
Psychotherapy. New York: Sage.