Topic - Ethics

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

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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Thinking Outside the Gift

A Story of Navigating a Tricky Ethical Issue Creatively

Lisa Ferentz

By Lisa Ferentz - Sometimes, clients give us the gifts they want for themselves but don’t feel worthy of receiving. And sometimes, by helping them see the attributes in themselves that they admire in us, we can help them reconnect with those qualities.

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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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Helping Therapy Clients Cope with the Reality of Death

Clinical Wisdom to Combat Fear, Anxiety, and Grief at the End of Life

Barry Jacobs

For 17 years, managing responses to death has become part of my work, whether originally my intention or not. I’ve aspired to helping families hang tough through medical crisis, but now spend some of my time hanging crepe. I’ve now accepted the variety of ways people react to their dying. All of these ways of facing death are utterly ordinary and human. Throughout it all, I've learned that as difficult and awkward as confronting death can be, this work also gives me a richer sense of my client, the cast of characters in their world, and the drama of their life.

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What the Financial Crisis Reveals About Our Psyche and Values

Confronting our Definitions of Wealth in the Therapy Room

Mary Sykes Wylie

The current economic crisis may be no more than a rather large bump in the golden road of endlessly self-renewing American prosperity. Still, it's hard not to have a sense of foreboding that, this time, things really are different. Perhaps this is a good time to revisit some of our basic assumptions about wealth---what it means to us as Americans, how it defines us as a people, how it influences the way we think about ourselves, about freedom, success, and happiness, about what we really want from life, and what the American Dream really means to us.

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Preventing Burnout with Micro Self-Care

Rejuvenating Practices for the Burned-Out Therapist

Ashley Davis-Bush

One day while in session, I felt not only overworked and undernourished, but potentially unhelpful, or even damaging, to the people I wanted to help. The dominant advice was simple: do more self-care. Unfortunately, the suggestions, which I’ve since come to call macro self-care, usually seem to require substantial commitments of time, effort, and often money. But micro self-care is available at all times, on demand. Here's an array of brief tools that are simple, free, and doable.

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