Ethics in play therapy can be complicated. The phrase “ethical dilemma” is bound to feel overwhelming for any play therapist. Watching for all the ethical considerations in the process of providing play therapy services for children and families can feel like you’re watching for everything at once just like a 3 ring circus!

Although it comes with the territory, being a play therapist does not mean you need to be overly anxious about all the ethics to consider. The best thing you can do is BE PREPARED.

That does not mean ruminating about every possible scenario that could happen when considering all the ethics in play therapy to be considered. But it does mean you need to equip yourself with layers of protection.

Here are some tips for being prepared for common ethics in play therapy issues:

  • Make sure your informed consent and practice policies are rock solid.
  • Have a great supervisor and/or consultant in place to discuss those tough cases.
  • Be very familiar with your profession’s code of ethics.
  • Make sure you know your state laws for treating minors.

Did you know there is an 8 step process to resolving ethical dilemmas?

According to a model for ethical decision making (Corey et al., 2007) there are 8 steps you must move through when faced with an ethical dilemma:

Step 1:Identify the problem.

Step 2: Identify the potential issues involved.

Step 3: Review relevant ethical guidelines.

Step 4: Know relevant laws and regulations.

Step 5: Obtain Consultation.

Step 6: Consider possible and probable courses of action.

Step 7: List the consequences of the probable courses of action.

Step 8: Decide on what appears to be the best course of action.

It is important that you keep your supervisor and all involved parties informed during this process.

After you have made your decision, take some time to reflect on the process and to review what you have learned with a trusted supervisor or colleague.

If you’re wondering WHAT ELSE you can do to minimize the risk of ethical dilemmas and litigation, you are in luck! My 2 hour recorded training will address many questions that play therapists around the world want to know, such as:

  • Consent to treatment: What to do when parents force therapy when a child clearly and consistently doesn’t want to be there?
  • Confidentiality: How much privacy should a child have in therapy when parent is legal client?
  • Do-no-harm: How do we protect a child from potential harm if we know of a punitive parent?
  • Parent reactions: What if a parent becomes angry upon learning what a child expresses in session?

Sign up to learn the answers to these questions and more! This 2 hour training will examine the ethical tenets we all must be aware of when working with child clients and their families. REGISTER HERE!