Child, Youth, and Family Studies, Department of


Date of this Version



Published in Contemporary Family Therapy 42 (2020), pp 370–380



Copyright © 2020 Springer Science+Business Media, LLC. Used by permission.


Clinical training in ethical decision making processes has relied heavily on teaching students to apply ethical codes and legal statutes to written scenarios using ethical decision making models. While an excellent academic exercise, this approach tends to remain abstract and does not prepare students for the complexities of making decisions during the process of therapy. Recently, experts in the field have called for reforms in ethical training, believing current models must move beyond cognitive exercises that detach students from the humanity of their clients and themselves. The described pedagogical approach bridges the gap by using a modified Objective Structured Clinical Exam to provide a safe context for students to practice ethical decision making and receive feedback before entering actual clinical practice.