Ethics and TLA

No matter what kind of TLA we do in our community — from leading theatre workshops for elders, working one-on-one with teens, designing collaborative performances with people living with addiction, or using writing to help pastoral counselors enhance their work — we always need to be mindful of the ethical dimensions of our work. Transformative Language Artists are facilitators of a process that can be transformative, liberating, therapeutic and more, and to that end, we need to be very clear in our work as facilitators, workers, performers, artists, writers, storytellers, or however else we name ourselves to avoid being seen doing work we may not be trained or licensed to do (such as group therapy). To this end, we invite you to continually consider the ethical considerations of your work by  pondering questions such as what is your purpose in your work, how can you best communicate that purpose, what kinds of training or information-gathering for referrals might you need along the way, what research and/or screening do you need to do, what partnerships do you need to forge to do your work effectively, and how can you ensure that you are doing TLA in the most ethical and legal way possible.

Transformative Language Arts students and alumni may refer to themselves as TLA educators, artists, activists, facilitators, coaches, writers, storytellers, and workers or by other terms that connote their work in the community.  We offer these guidelines for all people engaged in TLA in their communities.

TLA Code of Ethics

This code of ethics was developed through Goddard College's TLA Concentration

1) Continually improve their artistic practice, services, publications and research through relevant continuing education as a TLA artist and facilitator.

 2) Do all that’s within their realm to assist the respective agency, organization, business or institution they’re affiliated with in providing competent and ethical professional services.

3) Work intentionally within the realm of TLA, and not practice therapy or present themselves as therapists in any way. When therapy or psychological intervention is needed, make appropriate referrals. Be knowledgeable about other appropriate alternatives relevant to the populations with whom they work.

4) Respect and protect the confidentiality of what individuals reveal in individual sessions or in workshops, sessions or classes, which also means maintaining an atmosphere of confidentiality and mutual respect.

5) Do not engage in activities that seek to meet their personal or professional needs at the expense of the people they serve.

6) Do not engage in any sexual, physical or romantic intimacy with TLA Code of Ethics

7) Do not condone or engage in sexual harassment, which is defined as unwelcome comments, gestures or physical contact of a sexual nature.

8 ) Guard the individual rights and personal dignity of all through an awareness of the impact of stereotyping and unwarranted discrimination (i.e. biases based on age, disability, ethnicity, gender, race, religion, or sexual orientation).

9) Respect the integrity of and promote the welfare of those with whom they work. In group settings, take reasonable precautions to create the kind of atmosphere that fosters creativity and personal growth.

10) Secure written permission in the form of an informed consent form before using any information from workshops for research or any kind of publication or public talk, including but not limited to interviews, client writing samples, narratives of workshops, etc. Make special arrangements with workshop participants for the exact scope of research and/or the use of pseudonyms or other ways to protect participants.

–Via Goddard College's TLA Concentration Addenum Recommended Resources A TLA Ethic as Conscious, Connected, and Creative Action – James Sparrell