- Center for Ethical Practice - https://centerforethicalpractice.org -

Forethought: Which Ethical Dilemmas Can We Avoid If We Try?

Forethought is sometimes considered the single most important aspect of ethical practice.  Knowing the “ethical rules” is very necessary, but it is not sufficient for avoiding ethical dilemmas.  With forethought and planning, however, many ethical dilemmas are actually avoidable.  How well can we avoid receiving subpoenas, prevent misunderstandings about fees and reimbursements, eliminate the confidentiality confusions in multi-client (couple/family) therapy?  This workshop is about anticipating such problems, avoiding the ethical complications when avoidable, and being prepared to meet the ones that are unavoidable.


I. Ethical Standards

II. Professional Recommendations About Forethought & Planning

III. Learning the Rules & Making Decisions in Advance About Exceptions

IV. Forethought & Planning To Avoid Unnecessary Ethical Complications About:

A. Fees & Billing Arrangements

B. Dual Relationships

C. Structuring of Multi-Client Cases (Couple, Family, Child/Parent)

D. Confidentiality

E. Clarifying Ethical Obligations to Each Party Involved in the Case

F. Subpoenas

G. Other . . .

V. Preparing for the Initial Interview

Educational Goals:
1. List some of the clinical areas in which forethought and advance planning are important.
2. Describe ethical implications of failing to engage in forethought about those areas of practice.
3. Determine possible legal implications of failing to engage in forethought and planning.
4. Distinguish between ethical dilemmas that forethought can prevent vs “unpreventable” ones where the role of forethought is to prepare one to respond ethically when they develop.