American Psychiatric Nurses Association

studying every member of the group to avoid offending anyone or be misunderstood

One important legal consideration in psychotherapy is the issue of informed consent, either individual, family, or group therapy. In individual therapy, therapeutic consent is required from the one individual. Any sharing of information must be consented and signed by the individual. Whereas in family therapy, every member of the family involved or invited must consent for the therapy. The therapist must uphold the individual client’s confidentiality to other family members. The same applies to group therapy, where every member of the group consents to be involved in the group. The level of information shared is determined by each member of the group while the group leader holds everyone’s information in confidence.

Impact of the differences in legal and ethical considerations in individual, family and group therapy

As a PMHNP, understanding the importance of confidentiality will help in safeguarding every individual’s information. Building trust and confidence between the therapist and the clients depends on respecting the individual’s family and group values and cultures. For any therapeutic approach, the patient must consent to treatment to avoid breaching professional guidelines and avoid possible lawsuits from patients and families. The PMHNP should address the issue of confidentiality to individual clients, families, and group members before embarking on any therapeutic counseling. Though family therapy members are seen as an entity, the therapist must understand the importance of maintaining the confidentiality of information of every member of the family. Finally, consent must be received and signed for any information to be released or shared to avoid violation of confidence and The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPPA). HIPPA is one of the acts that guide the practices of a nurse when it comes to Group and Family Therapy. Clients benefit when information is kept confidential, and a trusting relationship can be achieved. The disclosure of private information without client consent can harm the therapeutic relationship even when such disclosures are mandated by law (McClanahan, 2014). So as a PMHNP, I must recognize the importance of individual consents both in individual, family, and group therapy, respect each value and maintain the confidentiality of information as part of my work as a therapist.


American Psychiatric Nurses Association-APNA, (2014) Psychiatric-Mental Health Nursing: Scope and Standards of Practice. (2nd ed). Retrieved June 4, 2020, from

McClanahan K.K (July 21, 2014) Can Confidentiality be Maintained in Group Therapy? Retrieved June 4, 2020, from

Miller A (December 31, 2018) Types of Ethical Issues a Counselor May Face When Working with Families. Retrieved June 4, 2020, from