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The patient manifests symptoms of persistent depressive disorder and child neglect. In persistent depressive disorder, he exhibits signs of low self-esteem, low energy levels, problems with sleep onset and no motivation for participating in social activities such as his school band. This could be caused by parental neglect after their parents divorced when he was five years old, and there was minimal contact between him and his father.
The appropriate group therapeutic procedures would be meeting with the patient on a weekly basis for a period of fifteen weeks for one hour. A therapist leads the group. In the group, the patient is educated on the symptoms of persistent depressive disorder and the consequences of this disorder (Hellerstein et al., 2001). He is also educated on the benefits and disadvantages of medical treatment. The patient will be encouraged to work actively to confront the symptoms in the early stages of medication. Group therapy will help the patient to develop a sense of control and build on ways of connecting with people. It will help address interpersonal issues such as low self-esteem. Group therapy will help the patient to observe other patients and help them develop more open communication patterns. It will help the patient to address pessimistic thoughts (Hellerstein et al., 2001). The patient will be aware of the inconsistencies in his thoughts, behaviors and feelings and will build on ways of addressing these issues. He will gain an understanding of how to regulate his emotions and his relationship.
There are several ethical issues that clinicians should be aware of when they are counseling children. Counselors face several challenges relating to child treatment which include confidentiality and informed consent. For most counseling issues, the parents have a legal right to know what happens during the child’s counseling sessions, but the degree varies in different regions. Ethically, minors should be granted the same degree of confidentiality that is granted to adults (Sori & Hecker, 2015). The setting of where counseling occurs influences the level of privacy given. For example, a school counselor does not have to disclose information to parents about the counseling session with their child. In some cases where have to access to the records, the providers can regulate what is divulged to the parents especially if the information contained may be harmful to the child if disclosed (Sori & Hecker, 2015).
Counselors need to be aware of informed consent to treat adolescents and minors. Minors and adolescents may contract for counseling through parent consent or through a court order. However, in some countries, minors and adolescents have the right to informed consent without their parents’ consent (Sori & Hecker, 2015). While there are no laws that require counselors to get written permission from parents for their child to receive counseling, obtaining consent from parents is a good practice that counselors uphold unless there is any existing harm towards the minor (Sori & Hecker, 2015).
There is a lot to consider when counseling children to avoid the numerous potential problems that could result in legal and ethical problems. Minors and adolescents have fewer rights apart from those bestowed on them by the country, and counselors should work towards protecting the counseling relationship. Counselors should review their code of ethics and ethical regulations by getting a continuous education on ethical and legal issues.
American Psychiatric Association. (2013). Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. American Psychiatric Pub.
Hellerstein, D. J., Little, S. A., Samstag, L. W., Batchelder, S., Muran, J. C., Fedak, M., … & Winston, A. (2001). Adding group psychotherapy to medication treatment in dysthymia: a randomized prospective pilot study. The Journal of Psychotherapy Practice and Research, 10(2), 93.
Sori, C. F., & Hecker, L. L. (2015). Ethical and legal considerations when counselling children and families. Australian and New Zealand Journal of Family Therapy, 36(4), 450-464.