Lewis & Clark Marriage, Couple & Family Therapy students take 2nd place in ethics competition
In 2019, the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy (AAMFT) held its third annual Student Ethics Competition. According to AAMFT’s website, the competition is designed to encourage marriage and family therapy students to foster an interest in ethics issues and enhance their ability to analyze and respond to the various ethics issues that they will undoubtedly encounter throughout their careers. In this team competition, Marriage, Couple & Family Therapy (MCFT) students Raquel Harmon ’20, Emily Gibbs ’20, and Aja Meadows ’20 submitted an essay analyzing and responding to legal and ethics issues that arise in a therapist’s practice, earning them 2nd place in the Master’s/Post-Degree Institute (PDI) category. AAMFT represents the professional interest of more than 50,000 marriage and family therapists throughout the United States, Canada, and abroad.
On top of a fast-approaching one-month deadline, final papers, internship, and externships, the Lewis & Clark team led the competition with enthusiasm, curiosity, and professionalism to compete with 43 other teams.
“As a team, we met up multiple times to share the research we had done and collaborate on writing the final product. This included looking at relevant ethics, analyzing their relevance to the case conceptualization, and then responding in a way that we felt honored the social justice lens of our program,” said Meadows. “We all added to the whole project with our unique strengths, which was rewarding. I feel that this collaboration and learning from one another is one of the more exciting things we can do in the profession, and the most needed!”
While the Lewis & Clark team found the competition to be quite challenging, they felt both supported and encouraged by the MCFT program.
“The entirety of our coursework as MCFT students was valuable in participating in the AAMFT competition, which can be seen in our systemic and social justice lens in which we approached our ethical decision making in the paper,” said Gibbs.
“We’ve been really lucky to be a part of a program that really stresses the importance of constantly considering the legal and ethical implications of this field and so we had a lot of resources already in our toolbox to re-examine and collect from which I’m really grateful for,” added Harmon.
Carmen Knudson-Martin, the MCFT program director at the time of the competition and the students’ mentor, affirms that participating in a national competition such as the Student Ethics Competition motivates students to expand on their professional communities and engage to write and communicate in the larger conversations in the field.
“Mentoring new professionals like Aja, Raquel, and Emily challenges me to continually grow as a professional myself. Their insightful observations, reflections, and questions not only expand their thinking; they challenge and extend mine,” said Knudson-Martin. “In addition, all students in our program benefited by seeing their classmates and colleagues acknowledged for their high level of professional competence.”