Topic - Ethics

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

Nightmare in Aisle 6

A Therapist Caught in the Act of Being Herself

Linda Stone Fish

I live in a small city in Upstate New York, and most people in town know somebody who knows me, my husband, or one of our four engaged and energetic sons. Despite all this, I managed, for two decades, to maintain (in my own mind, at least) a fire wall between my personal and professional lives. In the consulting room and the classroom, I worked to present an air of calm worldliness, an expert with the answers to all sorts of painful therapeutic and family dilemmas. Until one day, I was caught being myself, and everything changed.


To Tell the Truth

Letting Go of Our Inscrutable Facade

Jay Efran and Mitchell Green

Therapists aren't supposed to discuss personal problems, or even acknowledge having any. While preaching congruence, who among us has never pretended fondness for a client we actually disliked, didn't understand and didn't trust? But on at least two ticklish occasions, with a minimum of strategic deliberation, I opted to step out from behind my own well-cultivated facade of inscrutability to tell clients the unvarnished truth---with surprising results.


When Client Relationships Lean Romantic

Pulling Back When Therapy Stretches Ethical Boundaries

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. The message we gave each other was clear: Whatever you do, don't talk about having a crush on a client. 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.


Ethics of the Greater Therapeutic Alliance

Do Dual Relationships Really Threaten Psychotherapy?

Arnold Lazarus

I believe that some elements of our ethical codes have become so needlessly stringent and rigid that they can undermine effective therapy. Take, for example, the almost universal taboo on "dual relationships," which discourages any connection outside the "boundaries" of the therapeutic relationship, such as lunching or socializing. These "boundary crossings," are rarely harmful and may even enhance the therapeutic connection. My experience with Mark and Sally was one such boundary crossing.


Losing Focus as a Therapist

Mary Jo Barrett on Being Better Attuned to Clients

Rich Simon

We know that our primary initial responsibility as a therapist is to listen intently to what the client says, giving them our undivided attention. But being only human, there are times when we get distracted and are no longer focused on what the client is telling us.


From Good Person to Ethical Professional

Mitch Handelsman on the Effectiveness of Ethics Acculturation

Rich Simon

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?


To Self-Disclose, or Not to Self-Disclose?

Ken Hardy on Why Not Self-Disclosing Can Hurt Therapy

Rich Simon

Long held under a shroud of formality for various ethical reasons, psychotherapy has had some growing pains in trying to adjust and adapt to the new laid-back way of life.


Ending Therapy: The Importance of Planned Termination

How to Ease the Transition Out of the Therapy Relationship

Rich Simon

Of course, all good therapists want to bring their clients to a place where they've met their therapy goals and achieved the necessary growth to feel comfortable ending the therapy relationship. But therapists and clients may not always be operating on the same timetable.


How to Protect Yourself in the Ethical Gray Zone

Frederic Reamer on the Importance of Documentation

Rich Simon

As clinicians, we try to prepare ourselves as best we can for any ethical issues that could arise with clients. But while we know the answers to the obvious dilemmas, where does that leave us with the endless list of ethical issues that fall into the gray area of ethical ambiguity?


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