Ethics in Couples Therapy: What You Need to Know - 6 CEUs

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When and Where:

  • Date: Friday, August 19, 2022
  • Time: 10:00am - 5:30pm EDT
  • CE Hours Included: 6 Ethics or Core (please see below for details)
  • Location: Live Interactive Webinar (“Synchronous”) on Zoom
  • Investment: $135 before Friday, August 5 at 5:00pm EDT, $155 after
  • Presented by: David Woodsfellow, Ph.D. (see bio below)
  • Workshop Recording: A recording of this workshop is available to review for 60 days after the presentation. However, participants must attend live to receive the "Synchronous" CE Certificate.

Educational Objectives:

At the end of this workshop, the participant will be able to:

  • Name the single most important thing to know before meeting with a new couple.
  • State one presenting problem for which couples therapy is NOT indicated.
  • State one presenting problem for which couples therapy is the optimal treatment.
  • List the four topics you need to discuss with your clients before shifting from couples therapy to individual therapy.
  • Describe the two different types of “secrets policies.”
  • Identify an example of a therapist value that should be shared. Explain why.
  • Identify an example of a therapist value that should NOT be shared. Explain why.
  • Discuss what to do when a prospective couple complains about their previous therapist.

Workshop Description:

Couples therapy sure isn’t boring. It’s exciting, energizing, and challenging. It’s especially challenging when it puts us in difficult ethical situations. We can’t just proceed as if it was individual therapy. Because it’s different – crucially so. In this workshop, you’ll learn the special ethical considerations in couples therapy to be prepared for those challenging moments. We’ll discuss loyalty, confidentiality, therapist values, and modeling relationality. There’s a challenge even before your first meeting with a new couple. It’s when you decide whether to do individual therapy, couples therapy, or both. That’s a big decision. We’ll review the ethical considerations involved. You also need to know when couples therapy is contraindicated and when individual therapy is not a good idea. We’ll also look at how to be careful when starting treatment with clients served by others.
Another crucial difference in couples therapy is the nature of confidentiality. With two clients, you’ll need two releases to speak to any third party. We’ll discuss the details of that informed consent. You may also encounter questions about confidentiality between your two clients – aka secrets. We’ll discuss how to formulate your “secrets policy” and how to get informed consent regarding it. And then, what to do when someone violates that policy. There are also questions about whether, when, and to what extent a couples therapist should share their own values with clients. There is not a simple yes/no. Some values must be shared; some values must not. Sometimes we must let the clients make their own decisions; sometimes we should do all we can to influence those decisions. In this workshop, we’ll discuss guidelines for determining what’s right to share, when, why, and how much. It’s not simple.
But that’s what’s so great about couples therapy. It’s not simple.

Presented by: David Woodsfellow, Ph.D.

Dr. David Woodsfellow is a licensed psychologist whose practice is 100% couples therapy. He has been seeing couples -- only couples, no individuals -- for 20 years, and teaching other therapists about couples therapy for 15 years. His workshops are highly engaging and immediately useable.

Dr. Woodsfellow received his B.A. at Harvard, his M.Ed. at Antioch New England, his M.A. at UC Santa Barbara, and his Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology at Georgia State University. He did his clinical psychology internship at the Neuropsychiatric Institute of UCLA Medical School. Dr. Woodsfellow has been personally trained by Drs. Harville Hendrix, John Gray, John Gottman, and Mr. Terry Real. He holds Master Certification in Relationship Empowerment Therapy, and has previously been a Certified Imago Relationship Therapist. He has taken Advanced Training in Gottman-Method Relationship Therapy and Emotionally-Focused Therapy.


  • 9:30 - 10:00 Registration
  • 10:00 - 11:30 Welcome and Morning Session
  • 11:30 - 11:45 Break
  • 11:45 - 1:15 Morning Session (Cont.)
  • 1:15 - 2:15 Lunch Break
  • 2:15 - 3:45 Afternoon Session
  • 3:45 - 4:00 Break
  • 4:00 - 5:30 Afternoon Session (Cont.)
  • 5:30 - Continuing Education Certificates Available

6 Ethics or Core CE Clock Hours:

  • Psychologists: The Knowledge Tree (TKT) is approved by the American Psychological Association to sponsor continuing education for psychologists. TKT maintains responsibility for this program and its content.
    • Georgia Psychologists: All online webinars (both real-time "synchronous" and on-demand "asynchronous") count the same as "live" throughout 2022 (including ethics). There is also a proposed Board rule to make this change permanent. Please stay tuned for updates.
    • Licensed in another state: The Knowledge Tree is a Continuing Education Sponsor Approved (CESA) by APA, so all of our workshops should satisfy your CE requirements, but please check your state rules.
  • Counselors: The Knowledge Tree has been approved by NBCC as an Approved Continuing Education Provider, ACEP No. 7153. Programs that do not qualify for NBCC credit are clearly identified. The Knowledge Tree is solely responsible for all aspects of the programs. This workshop is also approved for 6 Ethics or Core CE hours through LPCA of Georgia, approval #2022-06-15-029LW.
    • Licensed in another state: The Knowledge Tree has been approved by NBCC as an Approved Continuing Education Provider (ACEP) #7153, so all of our workshops should satisfy your CE requirements, but please check your state rules regarding live webinars vs. live workshops.
    • Licensed in Canada? This workshop is approved for 6 credit hours through CCPA, event code 64958657.
  • Social Workers: This workshop is approved for 6 Ethics CE hours through GSCSW, approval #061022. Now in Georgia, Live Webinars count the same as a Live In-Person Workshop.
    • Licensed in another state? Please see the highlighted section below.*
  • Marriage & Family Therapists: This workshop is approved for Ethics Hours for Marriage and Family Therapists via LPCA of Georgia through reciprocal agreement with the Georgia Composite Board of Professional Counselors, Social Workers, and Marriage & Family Therapists. Now in Georgia, Live Webinars count the same as a Live In-Person Workshop, including ethics.
    • Licensed in another state? Please see the highlighted section below.*
  • *Licensed in another state as a social worker or marriage & family therapist? Many states will accept CEs for Social Workers & MFTs if that workshop has approved status from another state. Additionally, we have national approval for all our courses through APA & NBCC. Many states accept APA & NBCC approved workshops, but please check your specific state rules & regulations.

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We are an approved vendor for the U.S. Department of Veteran's Affairs for easy reimbursement of educational expenses for VA employees.

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