Are we benefiting from a broken system? Ethical responsibilities of systemic professionals and educators

Cameron Brown, Ph.D.

Worth 3.0 Ethical CEUs

Saturday, March 4, 2023, 8:00 AM - 11:00 AM

As MFT educators, we are in unique positions to enact change within our community, most commonly through direct supervisory practices or training future MFTs. In many training programs, we may primarily focus on first and second-order change. But what about third-order, or community/organizational, change? Many clients seek professional support after exhausting other options and avenues from the various systems they are a part of such as families, workspaces, schools, and the larger community. When those systems fail them or, in some cases, even actively harm them, they may turn to us. As mental health professionals, we strive to support and treat the client's symptomology and potentially some of the more immediate relationships surrounding them. Fantastic! However, to what extent do we seek to change the broader systems that failed or are actively harming our clients? If our answer is minimally, we must then ask ourselves a sobering question, “Are we benefiting from a broken system?” or as educators, “Are we training future MFTs to simply benefit from a broken system?” As important as first- and second-order change are, they could be futile or short-lived if we do not also actively promote third-order, or larger systemic change. Utilizing an experiential learning environment paired with a pinch of spice, this summit will discuss the ethical responsibility marriage and family therapy educators have to the larger systems our clients and trainees are a part of, including tangible approaches to more fully embrace and live up to our identity as systemic professionals.

About Cameron Brown, Ph.D.

Dr. Brown is an assistant professor of couple, marriage, and family therapy at Texas Tech University and an AAMFT-approved supervisor. Dr. Brown's developing program of research is focused on understanding romantic relationship dynamics. Within this focus, he primarily studies two areas—sexuality and chronic disease. He seeks to understand these areas to provide systemic, clinical guidance to helping professionals encountering these topics with populations they are serving. He has worked in various clinical communities in Utah, Kansas, and Texas. Dr. Brown has published numerous scholarly articles and has presented at multiple national, state, and local professional conferences.