From Good Person to Ethical Professional

Mitch Handelsman on the Effectiveness of Ethics Acculturation

Rich Simon

With very few exceptions (hopefully), therapists tend to be good, nice people; we got into this line of work because we wanted to help others, after all. But there’s a big difference between being a generally nice person with good intentions and an ethical professional. So how do we bridge that gap?

According to Mitch Handelsman—coauthor of Ethics for Psychotherapists and Counselors—proper ethics training for therapists should feel like adapting to a new culture. While it’s easy to study a list of unethical behaviors to avoid, those rules may seem to have little relevance to the therapy work you’re hoping to do; ethics acculturation is what’s needed to become a truly ethical therapist.

Watch the clip below from Mitch’s session in our new webcast series, Ethics in an Age of Informality, to hear him talk about what ethics acculturation is and why it’s more effective than memorizing a list of bad professional behaviors.


This is just one of the many ethical issues that will be covered in our new webcast series.

Ethics in an Age of Informality:
Protecting Yourself When Boundaries Blur

Click here for full course details


Here’s a preview of what each session in this series offers you:

  • Lisa Ferentz on Countertransference: Probing the Heart of Our Ethical Dilemmas
    Examine the personal issues that can lead therapists to violate boundaries using clips from the HBO series, In Treatment.

  • Mitchell Handelsman on Beyond Good Intentions: Positive Ethics with Difficult Clients
    Explore the principles of ethical excellence and how to maintain the highest standards even with your most challenging cases.

  • Mary Jo Barrett on The Ethically Attuned Therapist
    Learn how to effectively establish boundaries from the very first session.

  • Frederic Reamer on The Ambiguities of Ethical Practice: Defining Our Clinical Role and Its Limits
    Get a clear understanding of how to protect yourself from potential ethical violations when the issue isn’t black or white.

  • DeeAnna Nagel on The Ethics of Online Therapy
    Address the ethical questions that arise when offering therapy online.

  • Kenneth Hardy on The Ethics of Self Disclosure
    Examine the benefits and risks of being more transparent as a clinician.


Ethics in an Age of Informality
Series Begins December 3rd

Click here for full course details

Topic: Challenging Clients & Treatment Populations | Ethics

Tags: ethical issues | attuned therapist | boundaries | Countertransference | ethical issue | ethical professional | ethical therapist | Ethical violation | ethics acculturation | Mary Jo Barrett | online therapy | psychotherapists | therapist | therapists | therapy

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