Why You'll Love This Course

Above all else, this course is practical. Discussion of ethical issues is often complex and academic in nature. This course gets to the heart of the matter: How do you actually decide what to do with these issues, and how do you handle them in the room?

Course Description

Couple and family work presents unique ethical challenges. Therapists and counselors must be able to successfully address difficult ethical questions such as:

  • Scope of competence. Am I competent to treat this couple or family?
  • Goals of therapy. Who determines the goals of therapy? What happens when family members disagree about what the goals should be?
  • Family conflict. When is it appropriate to take one side in a couple or family conflict?
  • Consent for treatment. When one or more family members doesn't want to be there, is their consent for treatment truly voluntary?
  • Confidentiality. How should I handle individual secrets in couples? How much information from child sessions should be shared with parents?
  • Family violence. When is it appropriate to treat a couple or family as a unit when there has been violence in that couple or family?

This course addresses each of these issues in detail, with a focus on the direct impacts on clients when we make decisions in these areas.

1.5 Hours CE. Recorded Video Format (non-interactive)

Learning Objectives

By the end of this workshop, participants will be able to:

  • Identify three areas to consider when weighing competence to treat couples and families

  • Determine whether to take sides in couple or family conflict, and identify at least two factors supporting that choice

  • Describe at least two elements to address in the informed consent process, specific to couple and family work

  • Identify three options for policies surrounding the handling of individual secrets, and select the one that fits their practice best

Course Outline

1. Introduction

2. Scope of competence

3. Goals of therapy

4. Family conflict

5. Consent for treatment

6. Confidentiality

7. Family violence


Benjamin Caldwell, PsyD, LMFT

Education Director, SimplePractice Learning

Benjamin Caldwell, PsyD is a California Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (#42723). He currently serves as adjunct faculty for California State University Northridge in Los Angeles. He has taught at the graduate level for more than 15 years, primarily in Law and Ethics, and has written and trained extensively on ethical applications in mental health care. In addition to serving a three-year term on the AAMFT Ethics Committee, Dr. Caldwell served as the Chair of the Legislative and Advocacy Committee for AAMFT-California for 10 years. He served as Editor for the Users Guide to the 2015 AAMFT Code of Ethics and is the author of several books, including Saving Psychotherapy and Basics of California Law for LMFTs, LPCCs, and LCSWs.

Additional Information

Format and Length:

Recorded Video Format (non-interactive); Total running time 101 minutes

Topic Area:

Law & Ethics

Instructional Level:

Intermediate. This course presumes basic legal and ethical knowledge surrounding counseling and psychotherapy, but does not presume knowledge related to ethical issues in couple or family work.

Completion Requirements:

To obtain your CE certificate, you must progress through all course segments, complete a satisfaction survey, and obtain a score of 80% or higher on a course completion quiz.

Who Should Attend:

Counselors, clinical social workers, and marriage and family therapists.

Publication and Review Dates:

Course Published: October 09, 2019 

Financial Support Statement:

SimplePractice Learning pays course presenters for their teaching. There is no other financial support for this course.

Conflict of Interest Statement:

There is no potential conflict of interest or outside commercial support for this course.

Refund Policy:

Click here to see our policies on attendance, refunds, grievances, and accessibility, and other frequently asked questions

Continuing Education Approvals:

SimplePractice is approved by the American Psychological Association to sponsor continuing education for psychologists. SimplePractice maintains responsibility for this program and its content. This course provides 1.5 hours of continuing education (1.5 CE credits) for psychologists.

SimplePractice has been approved by NBCC as an Approved Continuing Education Provider, ACEP No. 6961. Programs that do not qualify for NBCC credit are clearly identified. SimplePractice is solely responsible for all aspects of the programs.

SimplePractice is approved by the California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists to sponsor continuing education for LMFTs, LPCCs, LCSWs, and LEPs (CAMFT CEPA provider #145276). SimplePractice maintains responsibility for this program and its content. This course meets the qualifications for 1.5 hours of continuing education credit for LMFTs, LCSWs, LPCCs, and/or LEPs as required by the California Board of Behavioral Sciences. 

SimplePractice is approved as a Rule/Statute Approved Provider of Continuing Education by the Florida Board of Clinical Social Work, Marriage & Family Therapy, and Mental Health Counseling. Note that we do not automatically report CE completion to CE Broker at this time, so certificates of completion must be manually uploaded. Click here for more information.

SimplePractice LLC is recognized by the New York State Education Department’s State Board for Social Work as an approved provider of continuing education for licensed social workers #SW-0582.

SimplePractice is approved to provide continuing education activities for Social Workers in the state of Texas. Social Work CE Provider Number 7678.

This course is not part of our continuing education program approved through NAADAC. Click here to view our complete CE approval information, or check out our collection of NAADAC approved courses.