Reel Therapy: Ethical and Professional Issues for Therapists

Appropriate for Social Workers, Counselors, Psychologists, and

Marriage and Family Therapists

Therapists and therapy are often portrayed in American and foreign films with varying degrees of accuracy. Nevertheless, real therapists and other helping professionals can learn a great deal about themselves from “reel” therapists. During Reel Therapy we will watch entertaining and provocative film clips about ethical and professional issues, followed by a lively discussion about the insights and reactions raised by the clips. Reference will be made to professional codes of ethics.


Appreciate the ethical importance of establishing the therapeutic relationship in the first session.

Discuss the differences between boundary violations and crossings, focusing on such issues as self-disclosure, touch, and dual relationships.

Explain the importance of setting limits with clients who violate boundaries.

Be aware of how to ethically manage termination of the therapeutic relationship.

Discuss the importance of writing a professional will.

Appreciate the ethical importance of consultation.

Identify self-care as an ethical mandate.