Systemic and Psychological Worldviews / Personal Inventory of Ethics

Systemic and Psychological Worldviews / Personal Inventory of Ethics

Systemic and Psychological Worldviews

Reflecting on Weekly Case 2 from your u02s1 studies, apply Cottone’s descriptions of the systemic worldview commonly held by MFTs (from Chapter 2 of your Wilcoxon textbook), and the psychological worldview common to many other helping professionals. Describe how a practitioner of each worldview would conceptualize the case.

Response Guidelines

Respond to the posts of at least two of your peers. You are encouraged to ask questions for clarification, respectfully debate points, and present additional information, as applicable. To demonstrate that you have completed your studies for this unit, include at least one relevant reference from the readings.


Personal Inventory of Ethics

Therapists are informed by professional codes and legal statutes that insure that appropriate and sound treatment is offered to individuals, couples, families, and larger systems. When a practitioner adheres to the codes and rules of the practice, he or she is operating on principle ethics. These are the ethics prescribed by statutes, laws, codes, or other established regulations. These principle ethics also lead MFT professionals to advocate for policies, programs, and services that are equitable and responsive to the unique needs of couples and families.

However, therapists, as individuals, also adhere to a personal set of ethics, opinions, and beliefs. These personal ethics are termed virtue ethics. Since it is not possible for therapists to be completely neutral, they must recognize their personal beliefs, moral codes, and opinions; and acknowledge how these virtue ethics can influence their practices. In many cases, therapists face ethical conundrums that are not covered, or clearly prescribed, by codes or statutes. In these instances, their virtue ethics shape their decisions.

A therapist’s decisions and perceptions are influenced by an ever-shifting function of three elements:

His or her own personal morals and values (virtue ethics).
The field’s professional codes of conduct and ethics (principle ethics).
Legal statutes (principle ethics).

In every predicament, the proportion of influence shifts. In one case, the therapist may have a strong personal bias. In another, his or her professional ethics may outweigh personal beliefs. In highly-charged therapeutic situations (such as a wife refusing to tell her husband about an impending abortion, or a teen engaging in risky substance use), therapists will often experience a conflict between their principle ethics and their virtue ethics.

As a professional MFT, you must acknowledge how your own beliefs shape your professional practice. In your own professional life, you will eventually encounter a case that pits your virtue ethics against established codes and the legal statutes. In this activity, you will have an opportunity to experience the tension between virtue ethics and principle ethics. You will complete a Personal Inventory of Ethics (PIE) chart, based on the weekly case study. This exercise will highlight the differences between what you think should be done, and what the codes and laws mandate. You will also see just how influential your own personal beliefs and morals can be in the treatment of clients.
For this discussion:

Reflect on the Weekly Case 2 case study. How would you initially approach this case?
Click the link to the What’s your PIE? media piece (given in the Resources below). Complete the interaction, mixing the proportions of virtue ethics, professional codes, and legal statutes that shape your views.
Generate your own PIE chart, based on the Weekly Case 2 case study.
In the discussion area, explain how you would now handle the case study situation, based on your PIE chart. What is the proportion of virtue ethics, professional codes, and legal statutes you would apply?
Attach your PIE chart as an Excel file in the u02d2 discussion area.