Topic - Ethics

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

A Rare Moment of Self-Disclosure

Revealing Ourselves to Clients

Deborah Buckwalter

By Deborah Buckwalter - The first time I saw Michael, I could barely distinguish his form as human.  A young man in his 20s, Michael had been the sole survivor of a plane crash. The sight of him was unlike anything I’d witnessed before, as was his question that left me confronting everything I'd come to believe about therapist self-disclosure.

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December Quandary: I Accepted a Gift from My Client!

Five Clinicians Give Their Take on What to Do Now

Chris Lyford

By Chris Lyford - Asha recently gave her therapist a homemade necklace, which he accepted, thinking it innocuous enough. Now, she brings it up almost every session, asking why he's not wearing it and if he still likes it. Asha has a history of attachment issues, and her therapist worries his response might offend her or cause her to quit therapy. Here's how five therapists say they'd respond.

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October Quandary: My Clients and I Use the Same Dating Apps!

Five Clinicians Give Their Take

Chris Lyford

By Chris Lyford - A therapist recently joined a few online dating apps after finding herself newly single. She's seen several clients come up in these apps, and suspects they've seen her too. This puts her in an awkward position with these clients. Here's how five therapists say they'd tackle the situation.

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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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September Quandary: My Client Invited Me to a Family Barbecue!

Five Clinicians Give Their Take

Chris Lyford

By Chris Lyford - A therapist recently moved to a new town and discovered that his client's daughter attends the same school as his son. The client recently invited his family to a barbecue, but he feels uncomfortable attending. Here's how five therapists say they'd tackle the situation.

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July Quandary: My Client Uses Me in Inappropriate Hypothetical Examples!

Six Clinicians Give Their Take on This Tricky Clinical Scenario

Chris Lyford

By Chris Lyford - A male client uses his therapist in hypothetical examples, which the therapist finds inappropriate. Recently, when they were discussing healthy dating habits, he said, “So if you and I went to a movie, would it be okay to hold your hand afterwards?” The therapist wants to bring it up in their next session but is unsure how to do so. Here's how six clinicians say they'd tackle the situation.

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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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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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