Topic - Ethics

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We've gathered Psychotherapy Networkers most popular posts and arranged them here by topic.

Setting Boundaries in an Age of Informality

Discussing Ethics with Clients from the First Session

Mary Jo Barrett

By Mary Jo Barrett - As the status of the therapist has shifted from that of an oversized figure with Svengali-like powers to that of an overworked and underpaid service provider at the mercy of the client-consumer who might sue him or her for some infraction, what are we to make of our traditional ethical codes?

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The New Realities of Dying

A Daughter Struggles with the Medical System's Epidemic of Overtreatment

Katy Butler

By Katy Butler - Although many doctors assume that people want to extend their lives, many do not. I believe that my father’s doctors did their best within a compartmentalized and time-pressured medical system. But in the absence of any other guiding hand, there is no doubt that economics helped shape the wider context in which doctors made decisions.

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Are We Taking Boundaries Too Seriously?

A Story About Breaking Tradition, and What Happened Afterwards

Michael Hoyt

By Michael Hoyt - We therapists tend to worry a lot about boundaries, sometimes to the point that we forget that sharing our humanity can be a gift, not a distortion. But when is it okay to go with our impulse and when is it wiser to hold back?

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When Guiding Turns to Flirting

A Therapist Shares Her Story

Mary Jo Barrett

By Mary Jo Barrett - Before it happened to me, I had never heard even my closest colleague talk about falling in love with a client. In our consultation group, the subject was once broached purely theoretically, and everyone became uncomfortably quiet. Yet, I want to break our conspiracy of silence so that we can get help when we need it. And believe me, when it came to Scott, I did.

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The Liberating Power of Honesty

What People Don't Know Can Hurt Them. What They Don't Reveal Can Hurt Even More

Frank Pittman

By Frank Pittman - When we therapists believe a secret's revelations would be dangerous, the client receives a frightening message about him- or herself and about the world. We may accept our patients and make psychodynamic, systemic or sociological excuses for them, while still conveying that their secret is unacceptable. Thus, while explicitly "supporting" them, we implicitly undermine their sense that they are fundamentally decent, acceptable people.

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Keeping Secrets When Everyone Already Knows Them

A Therapist in Small-Town America Struggles with New Ethical Dilemmas

Jan Michael Sherman

By Jan Michael Sherman - When my wife and I moved to a place in the Yukon so small that when someone sneezed at one end of town, someone at the other end reached for the Kleenex, I quickly found that practicing therapy could get pretty tricky. Not only did everyone know everyone else's business, everyone was in everyone else's business.

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When Ethical Standards Hold Us Back

"Forbidden" Acts May Be Among the Most Powerful Methods at Our Disposal

Ofer Zur

By Ofer Zur - Currently, the field is so deluged with dire warnings of imminent professional ruin that many therapists practice under a cloud of fear. Should they accept a gift of home-baked cookies from a client at Christmas? Should they acknowledge a client in a grocery store or synagogue? The problem is that many of these "forbidden" acts may be among the most powerful therapeutic methods at our disposal.

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The 2016 Election Is Raising Ethical Concerns for Therapists

Is There a Place for Politics in Therapy?

Chris Lyford

By Chris Lyford - It's almost a cardinal rule that therapy and politics don’t mix. However, concerned about the stakes in this year’s presidential election, some therapists are wondering whether they have a professional, and even moral, obligation to bring politics into the consulting room.

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Righting Psychotherapy's Reputation in the Media

Bessel van der Kolk and the New York Times

Kathleen Smith

By Kathleen Smith - It’s no secret that psychotherapy has had an image problem in the media. Real and fictional clinicians on TV and in the movies are regularly portrayed as jargon-spouting caricatures, or are often shown to break ethical codes without blinking, displaying more personal problems than their clients. But a bigger part of the problem may be that, on the whole, therapists haven’t done a particularly good job explaining what we do or how it works.

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Examining Our Identities and Biases in the Consulting Room

Kenneth Hardy on How to Properly Address Racial, Ethnic, and Sexual Differences

Ken Hardy

Anyone who wishes to move outside the consulting room to address racial, ethnic, or sexual differences must rely on the bedrock belief that everyone has redeemable parts, and you can find them if you have the will and the patience to look. The creation of "the other" is the dynamic at the heart of divorce and personal antagonisms, and it has always been central to racism, sexism, homophobia, and ethnic persecution. Since realizing this, I've come to see that my work isn't about educating the unenlightened: it's about helping people see the insidious impact of turning a person or a group into "the other."

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