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Legal and Ethics Consultations

Your membership in AAMFT allows you access to various member benefits, including consultations with AAMFT's legal and ethics staff.

Ethical Advisory Opinions

All members of AAMFT are eligible to receive Ethical Advisory Opinions. Ethical Advisory Opinions are a convenient way for you to consult with AAMFT's legal and ethics staff about how to apply the AAMFT Code of Ethics to your professional activities.

Ethical Advisory Opinion limitations:

  • Advisory opinions are only provided on prospective behavior
  • A member may be subject to an ethics investigation if the member admits to or describes having already taken actions that would be in violation of the AAMFT Code of Ethics
  • Advisory opinions are non-binding in the event an ethics complaint is filed against the member in connection with the situation discussed

In addition to consultations with AAMFT's legal and ethics staff, members may request a formal Advisory Opinion from the AAMFT Ethics Committee. For additional information about this option, please contact AAMFT's legal and ethics staff.

Legal Consultations

Members in the following AAMFT membership categories are eligible for Legal Consultations: Associate, Member, Pre-Clinical Fellow, and Clinical Fellow.

Legal Consultations do not include:

  • Interpretation of state or local law
  • Assistance with reviewing or drafting documents
  • Representation of members against third parties
  • Consultation on issues unrelated to members' professional practice of marriage and family therapy

As with any legal issue, members are also encouraged to consult with a local attorney.

Response Time and Contact Information

The next time you are faced with a legal or ethics question, consult with AAMFT’s legal and ethics staff before you act. Requests for consultations may be made by phone (703-253-0459) and email (ethics@aamft.org).

 

Legal and ethics consultations are typically available during the following hours:

    Mondays: 9:30am to 3:30pm, Eastern

    Tuesdays: 9:30am to 3:30pm, Eastern

    Wednesdays: 9:30am to 3:30pm, Eastern

    Thursdays: 9:30am to 3:30pm, Eastern

 

If AAMFT staff is unavailable to take a call when it comes in, callers will be asked to leave a voicemail for AAMFT staff. When leaving a voicemail, please provide your name, AAMFT member ID number, phone number, and your available times so that AAMFT staff can try to reach you at your convenience. Requests for consultations will typically be responded to within 24 hours or the next consultation day.

 

Other consultation resources for you include your licensing board, a local attorney, and your professional liability insurer.

 

Special Note: The attorneys employed by AAMFT represent AAMFT in all matters. If a member is the subject of an ethics complaint before the AAMFT Ethics or Judicial Committees, or if a member is involved in any other dispute with AAMFT, the attorneys will cease any legal consultation with the member and provide all necessary and appropriate representation to AAMFT.


Legal and Ethics Fact Sheets

The AAMFT has developed a series of fact sheets concerning the legal and ethics issues that most frequently arise in a therapist’s practice. Each fact sheet provides general information on an important topic.

 

Code of Ethics

The AAMFT strives to honor the public trust in marriage and family therapists by setting standards for ethical practice as described in this Code. The ethical standards define professional expectations and are enforced by the AAMFT Ethics Committee. 

 

Legal and Ethics Columns

AAMFT’s Family Therapy Magazine (FTM) has featured many articles over the years on legal and ethical issues that marriage and family therapists frequently encounter. Written by AAMFT members and staff, these FTM articles provide valuable information on dealing with the major legal and ethical concerns faced by therapists.

 

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