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Course Description

A diverse group of people sitting in a counselling session

Take an in-depth exploration of ethics in couple and family therapy. Examine ethical, legal, and moral issues in the practice of family therapy, including diverse perspectives on what constitutes “professional ethics”.

Emphasis is placed on systemic and relational ethics that also attend to social diversity and uses of power. You will be exposed to common dilemmas in the practice of couple and family therapy, the Code of Ethics of the Canadian Association for Marriage and Family Therapy (CAMFT), legal issues in couple and family therapy, and the standards of practice of regulatory bodies such as the College of Psychotherapist of Ontario (CRPO) and others as appropriate.

Topics include therapist social location and values, the safe and effective use of self in ethical practice, frameworks for ethical decision-making, and ethical issues and dilemmas at all points in the therapy process from first contact to closure.

The Canadian Association for Marriage and Family Therapy is committed to ethical engagement with the Truth and Reconciliation Commission Calls to Action. We will explore what this can mean in practice.

This interactive course uses a variety of teaching and learning processes to effectively translate theory into practice for contemporary family therapists. You should anticipate that some discussions and interactive methods require reflection on personal experience.

This course is designed for counsellors, therapists, social workers, mental health workers, and pastoral care/faith-based and other practitioners seeking to build or enhance their practical skills and theoretical foundation in couple and family therapy, as well as those exploring therapy as a career.

This course is typically recognized by CAMFT and AAMFT as a professional ethics course.

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this course, you will be able to:

  • Discern the ethics of risk management from the ethics of professional integrity, relational care, and virtue
  • Identify and articulate ethical dilemmas that can emerge in the professional practice of couple and family therapy
  • Apply ethical decision-making processes to work with individuals, couples, and families, and in collegial relationships in diverse settings
  • Demonstrate sensitivity to and address issues of power, privilege, and marginalization as these relate to interconnected dimensions of social location (e.g., ethnicity, race, class, ability, gender, age)
  • Integrate appropriate recommendations from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission Report
  • Communicate a working knowledge of the College of Registered Psychotherapists of Ontario (CRPO) Code of Ethics, Practice Standards, Professional Misconduct Regulations and the Role of the Disciplinary Committee of the College. 
  • Communicate a working knowledge of the Canadian Association for Marriage and Family Therapy (CAMFT) Code of Ethics
  • Recognize and identify how personal values influence professional conduct
  • Access and apply information related to relevant legislation, as well as the legal responsibilities involved in clinical practice

Course Topics

  • Values in the Practice of Family Therapy
  • What is ethics?
  • What is the right thing to do?
  • Truth and Reconciliation Commission
  • Unique Ethical Considerations
  • Models of Ethical Decision Making
  • Meaningful Land Acknowledgements
  • Informed Consent
  • Confidentiality and Its Exceptions
  • Privacy and Secrets
  • Children, Consent, and Protection
  • Boundaries, Violations, and the Self of the Therapist
  • Discerning the Presence of Risk
  • Clinical Documentation and Record Keeping
  • Safe and Effective Use of Self

Additional Requirements

  • As well as scheduled instruction time, you can expect to spend approximately five to ten hours per week on course readings, activities, and/or assignments.
  • Course assignments are completed up to four weeks following the final day of the course.


Assessment Item Weight
In-Class Participation 10%
Quizzes (3% x 5) 15%
First Paper: Risk Assessment in Your Current Practice 15%
Second Paper: Emerging Ethical Issues in Couple and Family Therapy 20%
Third Paper: Truth and Reconciliation Commission (same paper required for CAMFT) 40%
Total 100%

Please note that the course assessment is subject to change.

Sponsoring Partner

Applies Towards the Following Certificates

Technical Requirements

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*Course details are subject to change.


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