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AAMFT Ethics Codes

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Principle 1
Responsibility to Clients

Marriage and family therapists advance the welfare of families and individuals. They respect the rights of those persons seeking their assistance, and make reasonable efforts to ensure that their services are used appropriately.

Principle 2 Confidentiality

Marriage and family therapists have unique confidentiality concerns because the client in a therapeutic relationship may be more than one person. Therapists respect and guard the confidences of each individual client.

Principle 3 Professional Competence and Integrity

Marriage and family therapists maintain high standards of professional competence and integrity.

Principle 4 Responsibility to Students and Supervisees

Marriage and family therapists do not exploit the trust and dependency of students and supervisees.

Principle 5 Responsibility to Research Participants

Investigators respect the dignity and protect the welfare of research participants, and are aware of applicable laws, regulations, and professional standards governing the conduct of research.

Principle 6 Responsibility to the Profession

Marriage and family therapists respect the rights and responsibilities of professional colleagues and participate in activities that advance the goals of the profession.

Principle 7 Financial Arrangements

Marriage and family therapists make financial arrangements with clients, third-party payors, and supervisees that are reasonably understandable and conform to accepted professional practices.

Principle 8 Advertising

Marriage and family therapists engage in appropriate informational activities, including those that enable the public, referral sources, or others to choose professional services on an informed basis.

5 Foundational Principles



All human beings have the right to make decisions and act on them in an independent fashion.


One must actively attempt to benefit another in a positive manner.


One must avoid causing harm to another.


All individuals should be treated fairly; equals must be treated as equals, and unequals must be treated in a way most beneficial to their specific circumstances.


Commitment to keep promises, uphold the truth, and maintain loyalty.

Steps of the Kitchener Model

Process 1: Interpreting a situation as requiring an ethical decision.

Process 2: Formulating an ethical course of action.

Process 3: Integrating personal and professional values.

Process 4: Implementing an action plan.