Working With the Family: The Role of Values
American Journal of Psychotherapy. 1996 Summer; 50(3): 274-284.
In this paper, we have examined that ethical aspect of working with families which stresses the relevance of values. Given that values are at the heart of both the family's and the therapists's view of the world, we see it as crucial for them to be addressed in the course of assessment and treatment. A variety of approaches have been adopted by clinicians ranging from those who regard ethics as a cornerstone of therapy to more compartmentalized positions, whereby specific sociopolitical themes like racism, poverty, and sexism are highlighted. Whatever model is preferred, the essential task is to accept that values are a necessary feature of therapeutic work and require negotiation. Failure to do so may have adverse repercussions on the therapist-family relationship, even to the point of jeopardizing therapy. Guidelines can be articulated to forestall such unfortunate consequences. We have attempted to identify these in the hope of clarifying for therapists the necessary steps they need to take to safeguard the family's interests and achieve an optimal ethical (and clinical) outcome.