Psychotherapy is an ethical endeavor: Balancing science and humanism in clinical practice.

and Professor of Psychiatry, Menninger Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Science, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, Texas.
Bulletin of the Menninger Clinic (Impact Factor: 0.72). 06/2013; 77(2):103-131. DOI: 10.1521/bumc.2013.77.2.103
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT The author proposes that psychotherapy is best grounded in scienceinformed humanism and, more specifically, that psychotherapists at least implicitly promote ethical, moral-and indeed, virtuous-behavior. In doing so, therapists are challenged continually to engage in making evaluative moral judgments without being judgmental. He contends that psychotherapists, and psychologists especially, are overly reliant on science and might benefit from being more explicit in their ethical endeavors by being better informed about the illuminating philosophical literature on ethics. He highlights the concept of mentalizing, that is, attentiveness to mental states in self and others, such as needs, feelings, and thoughts. He proposes that mentalizing in the context of attachment relationships is common to all psychotherapies, and that this common process is best understood conjointly from the perspectives of developmental psychology and ethics. The author defends the thesis that employing psychotherapy to promote ethical, moral, and virtuous functioning can be justified on scientific grounds insofar as this functioning is conducive to health.

1 Follower
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: A growing body of research has highlighted the value of spiritual resources for patients and their families. However, spirituality has been largely overlooked as a source of hope and support for providers themselves. In this paper, the author draws on theory, research, and practical examples to suggest that spirituality could potentially assist providers struggling to generate and sustain their own hope in work with clients who are in the midst of despair. The paper focuses on three ways practitioners might access spiritual resources to facilitate hope in their work: (1) by illuminating the sacred character of mental health work; (2) by attending to the sacred dimension of clients' lives; and (3) by attending to the experience of sacred moments in the healing relationship. These resources may be of value not only to theistically-oriented practitioners but to nontheists as well.
    Bulletin of the Menninger Clinic 12/2013; 77(4):395-412. DOI:10.1521/bumc.2013.77.4.395 · 0.72 Impact Factor
  • Smith College Studies in Social Work 08/2014; 84(2-3):385-403. DOI:10.1080/00377317.2014.923624 · 0.36 Impact Factor