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Interview of a Marriage and Family Therapist Reflective Essay

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Updated: Jun 21st, 2019


Ethical dilemmas are challenging situations that compel individuals to make decisions concerning certain aspects of life. In families, ethical dilemmas arise when individuals disagree on what they believe is right or wrong. Different views, varying lifestyles, and time management are among the ethical dilemmas common in several families.

Notably, the judgment given by therapists should be free from personal values, cultural affiliations, or ethnic favors. The common ethical dilemma faced by family therapists, is the dilemma of varying opinions since it has profound impacts in family operations.

Resolution of the dilemma requires intensive scrutiny on the actions and their repercussions so that a wise decision materializes.


Ethical dilemmas are challenges that individuals encounter in an attempt to make decisions concerning certain situations. The need to make a choice drives individuals into a state of mental conflict where they eventually select one of the issues and forego the others.

In families, some of the common ethical dilemmas concern what various individuals in the family believe is correct. To ascertain the various ethical dilemmas that families face, the study interviewed a licensed marriage and family therapist (MFT). Therefore, the essay explains the types of ethical dilemmas in families and their resolution.

Ethical Dilemmas and Personal Values, Culture, and Ethnicity

As a family therapist, some of the common ethical dilemmas encountered during the practice comprise time management, different views and opinions, diverse lifestyles, and varying religious orientations. These dilemmas are challenging as they entail what each member of the family thinks is right or wrong.

While some individuals in the family believe that a given time can be useful for a particular activity, other members think differently. The difference leads to a conflict among those, who think one activity is good and better over the other. Another dilemma concerns opinions, lifestyles, and religious orientations.

Mead (2012) elucidates that a family entails union of people from different backgrounds, and thus, the diversity of opinions and lifestyles is inevitable.

The dilemma arises when these opinions, lifestyles, and religious orientations offend other members in the family hence, compelling the subject individuals to relax some of their opinions, religious orientations, and adjust their lifestyles

Since I am a licensed therapist with the expertise required in the field of therapy, my values, culture, and ethnicity do not affect my practice. Conversely, in scenarios where my personal views are ethical, I share the values with clients and give them the chance to make their own decisions.

Although my values and cultural inclinations can at times attempt to influence my judgment, I employ the code of conduct and use it to make wise and independent decisions.

According to Dallos (2010), the code of conduct ensures that all the clients receive fair and correct therapy irrespective of their ethnic backgrounds, religious orientations, and places of origin.

Essentially, the therapy should be free from coercion and ought to give the clients the liberty to make their decisions from a range of solutions deemed as right and ethical.

Common Ethical Dilemma, a Challenging Ethical Dilemma, and Its Resolution

The most common ethical dilemma or concern that I experience in my practice regards difference in opinions and views. Principally, union among individuals, who have divergent opinions and views lead to a set of challenges concerning what they think is ethical.

In several instances, people disagree because of the different views that they have and expect from others in the family. The differences always transpire from the backgrounds of respective individuals, which influence their activities (Goldenberg & Goldenberg, 2008).

As a result, they expect that the other family members should engage in activities that are in line with their views and opinions. The dilemma is evident since the views imposed by these individuals conflict with what the others in the family believe are ethical.

Therefore, the implication of the dilemma is a mental conflict that compels one to make a choice out of several views, which are right and forego others that are equally ethical.

In one occasion, I faced a challenging ethical dilemma concerning a family disagreement that threatened to initiate divorce between the wife and the husband. According to the husband, the wife undertook her activities in a different manner conflicting with what he expected.

As a result, the husband felt that no one valued his opinions and views concerning family operations. Consequently, the wife complained that the husband imposed his opinions into the family without understanding that other family members held different views.

The wife complained that the husband dictated the family using his views and in the process downplayed correct opinions held by the wife. Brock and Barnard (2009) explain that to resolve ethical dilemmas in families, therapists must focus on the actions and their possible consequences.

As such, I explained the significance of compromise, dialogue, and assertiveness in line with what they held concerning implementation of various operations in the family. With the explanation and adoption of the values, the ethical dilemma attained a productive solution.

The Process of Resolving the Ethical Dilemma and the Acquired Training

The process of resolving the dilemma followed a procedure that stressed on the actions and their consequences. The procedure looked into the various repercussions that would arise from the actions that the two individuals wanted to undertake. In the assertion of the wife, the family was not productive, and thus, she wanted to file a divorce.

However, a scrutiny on the benefits of staying together and understanding one another in the family outweighed the consequences that would transpire from the divorce. Some of the major consequences of a divorce include stress that the children experience after the divorce (Metcalf, 2011).

Therefore, it was fundamental to adopt values such as compromise, dialogue, and assertiveness to ensure that each member respected the views of others in the family instead of a divorce.

The training that I received concerning ethical dilemmas is sufficient and very instrumental in dealing with various family issues. Moreover, the ability to solve cases like the one that concerned a divorce implies that the training acquired is adequate and productive.

Dallos (2010) asserts that to improve the quality of the services that therapists offer to clients, they should undertake constant research on matters regarding families and ethical dilemmas.

Therefore, my research focuses on secondary and primary sources and is useful in compounding the skills and expertise in family therapy. Since several families face different ethical dilemmas, a therapist needs to engage in constant research in order to gain the required skills useful in addressing the dilemmas.

Involvement in Advocacy Programs and People to Consult for Advice

I have been involved in various advocacy programs that address the unique requirements faced by several families. Some of the programs that I have actively participated in include one, which emphasized involvement of children in decision making particularly on matters that affect them directly.

The program materialized after an observation that a number of children abuse drugs and substances when parents make decisions that concern their wellbeing without their involvement.

Apparently, the need to involve an expert in family therapy compelled the community to involve me in the advocacy program aimed at addressing the unique need. Significantly, my expertise was instrumental in ensuring that the program became successful.

In case I need assistance on aspects of ethical dilemmas or concerns, my course of action will entail seeking advice from experts, who have the relevant experience in the field of marriage and family therapy (MFT).

In addition, I will involve entities such as close family members, religious leaders, and focus groups that have augmented understanding on the issue. Involvement of these entities will be in a creative and innovative manner so that I do not violate the rights of the subject clients.

To increase my knowledge, I will refer to past records that entail dilemmas that are similar to the challenge. The reference will have its basis on sources that have applicable information and will focus on ascertaining the best solution, which was useful in solving the related dilemma.

Reactions to the Therapist, Interviewee’s, Answers

The therapist demonstrated sufficient understanding on the concept of ethical dilemma and family therapy. Imperatively, the responses were not surprising as they revolved around field of family therapy, ethical dilemmas, and the appropriate solutions.

Given the chance, my perspective would be similar since the responses were germane and objective. Remarkably, it is paramount to abide by the code of conduct since failure to follow it leads to a situation where the therapists use their views and personal values to make unwise judgments.


Ethical dilemmas compel individuals to make decisions from a range of options that are correct. Therefore, the individuals enter into a state of mental conflict as the choice involves ethical options. Families experience ethical dilemmas, which comprise difference in opinions, time management, and lifestyles.

Principally, difference in opinions is the dominant ethical dilemma and challenges several families. Therefore, therapists must provide judgments that successfully solve ethical dilemmas faced by families.


Brock, G. W., & Barnard, C. P. (2009). Procedures in marriage and family therapy. Boston: Pearson/Allyn and Bacon.

Dallos, R. (2010). An Introduction to Family Therapy. London: McGraw-Hill International.

Goldenberg, H., & Goldenberg, I. (2008). Family therapy: An overview. Sydney: Thompson Brooks/Cole.

Mead, E. (2012). Becoming a Marriage and Family Therapist: From Classroom to Consulting Room. Chicester: Wiley.

Metcalf, L. (2011). Marriage and family therapy: A practice-oriented approach. New York: Springer.

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