Ethics is a cross-cutting issue that touches human life in all viewpoints. In counseling, specialists are required to observe stipulated codes of morals while offering remedial administrations to their clients. It is remarkable that there are two methods of counselling techniques: individual therapy treatment and group therapy treatment. In individual treatment, an advisor serves a single customer for every session. Conversely, in group treatment, at least one counsellor takes care of a few patients in a solitary set up and offers psychiatric care administrations at the same time. The basis behind this approach is that despite the chances that patients involved may have differing conditions, they have a similar purpose for joining the treatment group. This paper will compare the benefits and shortcomings of both group and individual types of therapy, using the literature review as the principal method.
Ethical Issues Experienced in Group Therapy
Group therapy is a method of counseling which comprises a small group of individuals gathering under the supervision of the single qualified therapist. The therapist helps and inspires them to support each other to defeat their challenges. The group members are commonly peers facing a similar problem like anxiety. This therapy has been in use for over fifty years, and it has produced tremendous results in the lives of the group members. The group members do not only learn from individual experiences of other members but also acquire different perspectives and thoughts on the issues they are experiencing. Like individual therapy, group therapy significantly influences growth and change and supports those involved to boost their self-awareness and gain assistance from the rest of the group members (Ruiz et al., 2011).
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Group therapy has many ethical issues. One of the fundamental issues is instinctive group individuals. Kocovski, Fleming, Hawley, Huta, and Antony (2013) clarified that morally the therapist ought to inform clients about their potential benefits and the obligations and educate them about any probable concerns they may confront after treatment. Informed assent is critical when participation is obligatory. Educated assent is something that all clinicians, advocates, and specialists need to acquire from customers. The consent is significant because the counsellor must follow certain guidelines during the sessions. When the participation of a patient becomes involuntary, it puts the counsellor in a challenging position. This involuntary act puzzles the therapist because of the confusion of the customer places difficulties on the course of the sessions within the group.
The therapist should establish clear group therapy limits that will enable them to maintain their expertise. Since clients who violate the restrictions may pose a challenge to the therapist, it is wise for the psychotherapist to have definite techniques on how to handle such patients. Some of these methods can be suggesting individual therapy for these patients. In fact, it is often difficult for a therapist to win a misconduct suit against a group. Hence, it is quite significant to uphold professionalism (Guo & Slesnick, 2013). One of the biggest setbacks that a group therapist can face is committing a sexual felony against a group individual. Therefore, it is important for the therapist to know the regulations that are applicable in such a case and what is required to be reported regarding such a situation.
Therapists involved in group therapy must uphold confidentiality as one of the ethical issues. It is the responsibility of every therapist to practice confidentiality regarding the patient’s details (Schulz et al., 2016). The right to privacy is a constitutional right for all citizens. Therefore, professionals must always keep patient record information confidential. In group therapies, confidentiality is hardly possible due to the number of individuals involved. To remedy this challenge, the therapist must tell the members that privacy is not just an ethical issue but also a legal requirement. They must also review its significance during their first gathering and every time when a new individual comes in (Sharp, Power, & Swanson, 2004).
In comparison with individual therapy, associates of treatment groups are susceptible to abuses from other members especially in the areas of sex and money. This behavior usually happens because there is no discrete legal protection for individual group members from the rest of the members. The therapist should, therefore, apply the existing principle of experienced and skilled care, practice diligence, and clinical ruling while dealing with every member. The specialist must also clearly articulate the limits of the patient’s interaction with other members of the group. As a rule, a patient is referred to as group therapy if they are unwilling to stop their offensive behavior. It is advisable that group therapists consult more extensively with colleagues, lawyers, and ethical agencies in order to know how to address most of these challenges than individual therapists would do alone.
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The ethical standards challenge the therapist to ensure that the requirements of each group member are fulfilled. When counsellors provide the members the same therapy, it is likely that not all the cases are always identical. It is, therefore, indispensable for the therapist to give effective group guidance. This direction will help them discuss all issues arising and reassure all members to open up (Sharp et al., 2004). They should also state the rewards of group therapy.
Ethical Issues in Individual Therapy
Boundaries in therapy distinguish psychotherapy from social, domestic, sexual, business, and any other kinds of relationships. Ethical principles build limitations around therapeutic interactions. They include spacial and temporal anxieties of sessions. Ethical concerns also draw boundaries between therapists and clients and not just around them. This boundary relates to the counsellor’s self-disclosure like actual physical touch, both giving and receipt of gifts, communication outside of the usual therapy session, use of specific language, clothing, and closeness of therapist and patient during sessions (Panas, Caspi, Fournier, & McCarty, 2003). Moreover, involuntary clients, also referred to as mandated clients, are those who come for treatment due to the pressure from a legal body or pressure from significant people such as family members and institutions like child protective services (Schulz et al., 2016). These clients include people with sexual offenses or those who get involved in domestic violence.
Literature together with practical experience confirms that the engagement of involuntary clients is often a different and more problematic process and should, therefore, be treated with much care, considering that a therapist is not ethically allowed to impose therapy on patients. The only solution is a moderated persistent approach by the therapist until the client somehow perceives the treatment (Schulz et al., 2016).
Professionals in health care or psychology fields have legal and ethical responsibilities to protect the confidentiality of data regarding their clients. Children and grown-ups who are legally unskilled have the same right to privacy. Just as in the group therapy where all the members enjoy the privacy protection as an ethical principle, clients in individual therapy also have the right to have the information they give during rehabilitation sessions private and confidential (Schulz et al., 2016).
A literature review does not give detailed accounts of the degree of sexual interactions in individual therapy. Therefore, it has been difficult to understand this concept fully until recently. In the previous quarter of a century, the sequence of investigations has widened the importance of therapist-client relationships in individual psychotherapy. These series of assessments addressed issues like the methods of injuring the patients, physical contact with customers, and sexual fascination. Thus, studies show certain consequences for sexually assaulted clients. Clients who have been sexually complicated with individual counsellors deliver negative outcomes (Schulz et al., 2016).
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Advantages of Using Individual Therapy
The customer may feel better about uncovering individual data that may somehow be humiliating. Only the counsellor will know the patient’s issues, except for a few conditions when the specialist is required to break the moral rule of secrecy. Regularly, if the customer is effectively self-destructive, effectively comprised in an activity that will debilitate the security of others, or included in children mishandle or senior manhandle, the advisor is required to inform the authorities. No one else has to know that the person is in therapy (Crane et al., 2013).
Usually, personal requirements structure the individual treatment sessions. The rehabilitation moves along at a pace that is agreeable for the single client under treatment. The specialist focuses particularly on the customer, and the counsellor does not regard other people. Thus, the specialist may more promptly reveal comorbid issues (co-happening issue) because of the personal nature of a supportive relationship. The alliance efforts from the client and the therapist are much evident and stronger in individual sessions than it is with members of groups (Crane et al., 2013).
As a consequence of the more private nature of the patient-therapist relationship, it is less demanding to investigate issues and to create individualized ways to deal with treating or managing the individual’s issues. The client does not need to listen to the issues of other individuals that may not be pertinent to them. The patients can organize an opportunity to meet on standard bases that are advantageous. They do not need to go to gathering sessions that are regularly at different time to take into account accessibility for various people (Crane et al., 2013).
Disadvantages of Individual Therapy
In terms of disadvantages, there is a smaller chance to demonstrate the practices of productive people with comparative issues. Moreover, it is more unreal to learn about others with comparable issues and how others address the issues. The sole concentration of the treatment is on the individual, and for a few people, this might be troublesome. For example, people who experience issues, conveying their sentiments, or who do not believe others may feel uncomfortable. In addition, individual treatment sessions are ordinarily more costly than gathering treatment sessions (Crane et al., 2013).
Advantages of Group Therapy
Groups are firm, and individuals share a feeling of having a place that permits them to meet and address their issues on the whole and additionally to address the issues of people within the gathering. Therapeutic gatherings can impart the idea that there is a feeling of comprehensiveness in gathering individuals. It means that individuals understand that they are not the only ones with their issues, and they share a feeling of fellowship. It is critical in regarding issues. For example, group therapy is vital for substances to mishandle where people tend to feel that their issue is one of a kind to them. Since groups share some information, people in every group can gain from and help each other. The groups of people are usually perceived as a unit. Thus, there is always a feeling that they can offer something to all individuals. For instance, they begin to learn about themselves and motives that drive them to do what they do as they identify with others in the group who are explaining the same issues (McGovern, Lambert-Harris, Alterman, Xie, & Meier, 2011).
Groups help people identify how to convey what is needed in a proper way, listen when there is a good opportunity to heed others, and genuinely share their encounters without the dread of being mocked or disgraced. Moreover, groups cultivate demonstration. Displaying is a strategy for realizing where an individual just duplicates what other individuals are doing. Group therapy permits people to see what works for others and replicate that conduct. When individuals share their encounters with different persons who they accept and are intrigued by them, such experience prompts to a cathartic impact that leads to sentiments of help from disgrace connected with past deeds. Thus, group members can learn to identify with both the therapist and other members of the group. This process of identification helps them learn to understand themselves (McGovern et al., 2011).
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Disadvantages in Group Therapy
There are fewer opportunities for individual consideration. Similarly, an individual is unlikely to have the capacity to concentrate on individual issues exclusively amid the remedial sessions. Frequently, issues raised in gatherings may not be important to other individuals. The remedial union between the specialist and any person is not as compact as it is an individual session. People in group treatment do not have a similar level of privacy, seeing their issues as people in individual therapy. Moreover, some individuals with specific conditions like serious shyness and mental disability are not appropriate for group therapy (Schulz et al., 2016)
Choosing Group Therapy
Group therapy helps clients with information about a specific condition, giving additional means or facts. Counsellors believe that group rehabilitation is more structured; it also refers clients to precise groups, and a person has more opportunities to discuss and learn than in individual therapy. The purpose of group therapy is to provide individuals with access to information concerning the categories. Similarly, process group therapy is preferred by therapists. A process group is a gathering whose target is the experience of fitting to a particular group; this gratitude is part of the therapeutic opportunity available within the group. A good example is a process where patients reveal their ideas and emotions in the group. The process group is, therefore, an important vehicle that brings changes within the group therapy (Schulz et al., 2016).
Counsellors often choose group therapy as a supplement to individual therapy. They believe group therapy will provide patients with care and it is the primary component of the healing process. Group therapy gives clients the chance to share their thoughts and ideas that comprise their healing process. Studies show that patients joining group therapy acquire a sense of belonging as a result of the experience since they know they are not alone in the situation. They learn that there are others with similar experiences, who are very supportive and care about them (Schulz et al., 2016).
Choosing Individual Therapy
Ethical decision-making in professional psychology is significant to control the practice of psychology. Therapists believe that ethical decision-making measures can produce positive psychological results. Besides, ethical decision-making puts a certain amount of liability on the psychologist practicing individual counseling. Moral guidelines and instructive requirements guarantee that clients get adequate professional support on a personal basis. Ethical decision making also causes power shift to some extent. Therapists controlled past psychological practices, but today, clients have been able to influence what treatments they take. This freedom has resulted from the current ethical guidelines. Psychologists give many reasons why multi-ethnic therapy is today a subspecialty. One of the reason, it is because of the cultural diversity that counseling has evolved to bring all these circumstances into considerations. These measures have raised awareness of cultural differences. They have also clarified that therapy professionals must handle these differences individually for a society to attain cultural competence (Schulz et al., 2016).
Having all-inclusive psychology as a subspecialty eliminates damaging beliefs about other cultures even in individual counseling. Additionally, classes of discrimination, prejudgment, illiteracy, and ethical values are tolerated. Culturally competent experts understand the socioeconomic and physical variances that their clients may have. Therefore, they never prejudge, and they consider the feelings and cultural backgrounds of their patients. All these considerations prove significant in the successful administration of individual therapy (Schulz et al., 2016).
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When leading group and individual therapy, there is much resemblance regarding the ethical requirements and practices of the treatment. There are also some differences and various methods of approaching similar ethical standards. The essential target for any patient, however, is to improve their self-growth. Group therapy is additionally seen to be more adaptable and cost-effective as professionals included can give services to a higher number of patients, while the subjects appreciate a particular learning advantage. In any case, many qualities that make group therapy treatment an interesting medium for addressing patient’s individual needs also generate higher ethical threats about this mode. The method of treatment faces a general disappointment sighting the mishaps in moral values emerging from group treatment.