Free MFT Exam Practice Question: Working with Couples Answer and Rationale

By Asya Mourraille on July 24, 2018

This week, our free MFT exam practice question is going to focus on the topic of working with couples. It’s quite possible you have not had any couples in your case load during your traineeships or internships, and yet the BBS still wants to know that you are aware of the unique issues that arise when working with this population. Regardless of how much or how little you already know about this subject, the Therapist Development Center’s exam prep, will ensure you know everything you need to correctly answer questions on this topic.

Working with Couples

What to Expect on the Exam:

Whether you are taking the Law and Ethics Exam, the California Clinical Exam or the National MFT Exam, you will see a substantial number of questions focused on issues specific to working with couples. So how could this subject appear on your exam?

You could see questions that test your ability to:

  •    Manage issues of confidentiality and no secrets policy
  •    Utilize commonly used relational interventions
  •    Work with same sex couples
  •    Identify and properly address issues of partner relational violence
  •    Manage issues of affairs and / or sexual dysfunction
  •    Identify and act on legal and ethical obligations

Let’s see how you do on this week’s FREE MFT practice question regarding working with couples.

Practice Question on Working with Couples:

A therapist has been meeting with Nadine, age 36 and Bruce, age 37 for a month. The couple has been together for three years, during which time they felt mostly connected and able to get along. Recently, however, they have been growing further and further apart. “We have been bickering and barely spending any time together,” states Nadine. “It seems like Nadine is working all the time,” notes Bruce. “It’s like she does not want to be alone in the room with me anymore,” he adds while looking down. A few days after the session, a therapist receives a phone call from Nadine asking the therapist to set up some time to talk privately. During such call, Nadine tells the therapist that she has been having an affair, but she would not want Bruce to know since it is “going to break his heart”.   Which of the following actions should the therapist take based on the case presented?

A. Acknowledge Nadine’s dilemma and maintain confidentiality since Nadine has the right to her own privacy

B. Validate Nadine’s desire to protect Bruce and remind her of the “No Secrets Policy”

C. Acknowledge Nadine’s dilemma and determine whether the information Nadine provided is clinically relevant

D. Validate Nadine’s desire to protect Bruce and bring up the information she shared at the next session


The correct answer is B

  • Answer A can be eliminated because the information Nadine shared is clinically relevant, thus, according to the “No Secrets Policy” will not be kept confidential.
  • Answer B is the best answer since we would certainly first validate Nadine’s desire to protect Bruce, yet we would need to be honest with her and remind her of the “No Secrets Policy”. Since the therapist has been meeting with this couple for a month, it is safe to assume that the therapist went over this policy at the onset of treatment.
  • Answer C, might seem like a good answer, except the information provided in the stem tells us that Nadine’s discloser is clinically relevant.  There is no need to determine such relevance any further. Since the couple’s presenting complaint is lack of closeness, Nadine’s affair is most certainly relevant to clients’ treatment and is therefore, to be brought up in the session.
  • Answer D is another answer that might seem tempting, however, there is a step that we are going to take before bringing this information up in the session. And that is talking to Nadine about the fact that the therapist cannot keep this information secret and it would need to be revealed to Bruce.

Exam Preparation

Which answer did you choose? Does the rationale fit with your understanding of the topic and how you would apply it in a clinical setting? Or did you learn something new with this scenario? If you have any further questions feel free to check in with a TDC coach. We are here to support you all along the way. And if you came up with the same answer-great job! You are on the right track to getting licensed.

Still haven’t signed up for an exam preparation program? Or have you already passed the exam and need to complete your continuing education requirements? Our structured, straightforward approach will provide you with exactly what you need!



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