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Our Values

Several explicit values provide guidance in the process of working towards the goals of the Centre. It may be useful to understand our values guiding our Family Therapy Services, our Program, and our Family Therapists. 

Service Values

  • A pluralistic attitude to accept alternative family forms is valued above any single idealized model of the family

  • The preservation of the family as a holistic unit and a primary system of care is valued above family break-up. 

  • Egalitarian values with respect to human relations are valued above marginalizing, exploiting or oppressive human relations.  

  • A flexible balance between individual autonomy and loyalty to the family is positively valued. 

  • Open and honest communication of personal thoughts and feelings are valued over isolation and secrecy in ongoing family relationships.  

  • Clarification of differences and management of conflict is valued above concealment of differences and avoidance (postponement) of conflict. 

  • The acceptance of uncertainty and the tolerance of emotional discomfort that often accompanies preferred change is valued above the security and comfort of familiar but maladaptive patterns of thought and behavior. 

  • Interpersonal contextual assessment of behavioral problems is valued above individual (out of context) assessment.  

  • A conjoint family approach to clinical intervention is valued above an individual approach to intervention.  

  • The development of autonomous problem-solving abilities by the family is valued above continuing dependence upon professional resources. 

  • Provision of a brief series of family therapy sessions to a larger number of families is valued above provision of extended services for a small number of families.  

Program Values

  • Prioritize attending to community needs for treatment according to level of severity. 

  • Foster inter-professional and inter-agency cooperation in the best interests of the family. 

  • Focus on applying internal CFTC resources towards the mission and goals of the Centre.  

  • Maintain multidisciplinary representation among staff members to maintain a broad base of professional competencies. 

  • Privilege interdisciplinary and collaborative delivery of services. 

  • Promote high levels of professional competence through ongoing continuing education. 

  • Foster willingness to expose one’s clinical work to students and other professionals, and to accept feedback from others. 

  • Strive to offer a common systemic approach with space for individual therapists to be creative and explore other approaches. 

  • Allocate primary responsibilities clearly yet encourage responsiveness to share a colleague’s workload at times of high demand or stress. 

  • Foster circumscribed personal openness among staff members that is relevant to effective completion of professional tasks. 

  • Maintain staff effectiveness through ongoing collegial support. 

Therapist Values

  • Therapists exercise their professional skills to the best of their ability. 

  • Therapists work collaboratively with family members and with other members of the team, and not in isolation. 

  • Therapists give priority to inviting therapeutic changes rather than imposing their ideas and beliefs upon family members. 

  • All Centre staff treat communications with families confidentially. Unless permission is obtained from family members (preferably with signed consent), identifiable information should not be shared with persons outside the Centre (including other professionals). 

  • Therapists recognize that they may encounter family situations that they are not able to adequately assess or treat. In such instances, appropriate supervision and/or consultation should be sought with other members of the Centre. The therapist’s limitations are explicitly acknowledged with the family and a referral could be made to other professionals or agencies in the community. 

  • At no time should therapists take initiative to deliberately precipitate separation or divorce. Professional responsibility lies only in the areas of clarifying problems, facilitating amelioration or resolution of conflict, and outlining possible alternatives. Any decision concerning family break-up is a responsibility that must always be left with family members. However, when safety concerns arise, therapists may encourage temporary disengagement to protect a relationship from further trauma or deterioration. If legal separation or divorce is decided upon by a family member, it is the responsibility of the therapist to offer continuing support to all family members as requested, during the period of re-adjustment (see more on how to work with high discrepancy families in section below).    

  • Therapists never take advantage of, or exploit, families and/or individual family members in any way. Under no circumstances is sexual contact with clients acceptable. Subtle forms of exploitation such as fostering emotional dependency of clients or filling the therapist’s own emotional needs must be carefully monitored.  

  • Therapists should always obtain verbal consent from the family before allowing observation by other team members and/or students. The family always has the right to refuse such a request without prejudice. The one exception to this is when a supervisor feels there is a need to sit-in or observe a session conducted by a trainee.  

  • Centre staff should obtain written consent from adults and mature children in the family whenever an interview is recorded electronically. The family always has the right to refuse such a request without prejudice, and to subsequently revoke their consent and ask that a prior recording be erased.  

  • Therapists have an obligation to maintain their own continuing education and professional growth. 

Values Related to Other Professionals 

  • Centre staff should facilitate maximal cooperation with referral sources and other agencies. The therapists should welcome involvement of referral sources in therapy sessions as deemed appropriate and should provide feedback in written form unless this is clearly not in the family’s best interests.  

  • High quality clinical records should be maintained routinely, not only to facilitate the therapist’s memory and understanding of the family, but to enable clear and accurate communication with other professionals, particularly within the Centre. 

  • Disparagement of a professional colleague to a family member or to another colleague(s) should be avoided. When family members initiate criticism of other professionals, a therapist should recognize that he or she is hearing only one side and, thus, take care not to reinforce or escalate possible misunderstandings. If the criticism reflects serious professional misconduct and there is plausible evidence, it should be raised with the professional involved or with his or her agency and/or professional association. 

  • Centre staff are encouraged to maintain contact with their own professional associations, and especially with colleagues who are directly or indirectly involved in the field of family therapy.  

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