Legal and Ethical Issues in Play Therapy
To do this, the therapist has to employ the children's natural medium of communication; play. Besides the communication, health issues involving young people are highly characterized by psychological concerns that must be accounted for by the therapist who is always adults(Schaefer & Drewes, 2012, p. In play therapy, it must be noted that whereas the focus of treatment is the child, from an ethical and legal perspective, it is the legal guardian who is the client. This situation arises from the fact that children are minors and do not possess the legal capacity for informed consent or retain privilege in matters of confidential information. According to (Winburn, Gilstrap, & Perryman, 2017, p. Should there be a conflict of interests among the parents, for example, one wants access while the other demands confidentiality, it is advisable that the therapist seeks a court order to decide on which way to go.
In the same light, a competent, mature minor is allowed to legally choose which disclosures to share with others as seen in some adolescents. Children usually need consent from their parents before treatment can be authorized. This, therefore, grants parents the right to information from the therapist concerning their children's treatment. This giving of some information to parent means that confidentiality cannot be guaranteed to children and may pose a challenge where a therapist would like to form some therapeutic relationship with a minor (Cochran, Nordling, Cochran, & Guerney, 2010, p. , p. It is also worth noting that these exceptions vary from state to state. For professionals providing direct services regarding the protection and treatment of minors, for example, social workers and therapists, it is mandatory in all the 50 states to report any case of child abuse.
Play therapists must also be conversant with the mandated reporting laws in their states of practice. They should also be aware of the other case and statute laws, which affect confidentiality during therapy. All clients are entitled to the right to give their consent to services. This is about the tenets of respect and autonomy (DeKraai, Sales, & Hall 1998). Informed consent document should contain this set of information concerning the play therapy treatment: the objectives, techniques, processes and procedures, limitations, possible dangers, and benefits the therapy presents to the child (Schouten & Kumer, 2017, p. Moreover, it is imperative that the document explains the access and use of diagnostic assessments. It should go ahead and define the charges and billing arrangements. One has to demonstrate the necessary cognitive capacity to give a legally valid consent to treatment for them to be considered competent to consent.
Competency is lacking in children, and therefore it is the parent or legal guardian who often gives consent. In situations where there is divorce, the informed consent is gotten from the parent with the custody of the child (Daniel S. Sweeney, 2001, p. A therapist must also follow the state statute regarding the rights, which the non-custodial parent has on matters of the treatment plans, confidentiality, and release of information. Quality training and qualified supervision should thus be sought deliberately sought by ambitious play therapists. Play therapists have to continue with education to maintain their licenses. Play therapy encompasses more than just providing essential counseling and inclusion of toys in the session. Various authors have emphasized on the significance of being adequately receiving field experience.
It is unfortunate that some people with inadequate training have been claiming to play therapists. An example we consider here is the Corey model. This model has eight steps; 1. Point out the dilemma. Point out the possible issues involved. Review the appropriate ethical guidelines. Self-reflection on the topic. A therapist should work within the bounds of the defining ethical and legal requirements when dealing with the adolescents and children. The primary conditions of a successful play therapy are the aspects of confidentiality and right considerations. Maintaining the child client rights while abiding by the law while doing what is ethically correct seems challenging since at certain age(5-12) decision making proves to be challenging since the children are voiceless. However, it is a legal requirement for children to be heard before action is taken against them (Carmichael, K.
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