The ethical dilemma that is psychotherapy

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Authors
O'Crowley, James
Issue Date
2016
Degree
Higher Diploma in Arts in Counselling and Psychotherapy
Publisher
Dublin Business School
Rights
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Abstract
Psychotherapy as a practice consists of a multitude of ethical dilemmas. These dilemmas stem from the concept of psychological treatment as a whole and from the therapeutic relationship that is held between therapist and client. The nature of this relationship opens itself up to more nuanced ethical dilemmas which differ from more conventional relationships within the health sector. Although professional codes of conduct and ethical guidelines are provided by various psychotherapeutic organisations, they do not cover the more understated ethical dilemmas that emerge within the therapeutic space. As a result, the therapist must weigh certain dilemmas against these codes in their everyday practice. For the purposes of this dissertation, the ethical dilemmas which may arise shall be explored through the nature of psychotherapy itself, along with the competency of the therapist and the boundaries of the therapeutic space. The ethics of psychotherapy are complex with no clearly defined ways to answer the multitude of dilemmas which may occur. An ethically informed therapist will approach psychotherapy by using the codes provided and by behaving in a manner which focuses on the desire of the client. There is reason for concern within the field of psychotherapy relating to boundaries of therapy and professionalism on the part of the therapist. If a therapist’s idea of ethics is skewed, the client may be intentionally or unintentionally open to a form of abuse – whether emotionally or other. The ethics surrounding psychotherapy should be challenged. This study aims to address the nature of psychotherapy and the ethical dilemmas which are inherent to it. Author keywords: Ethics, Psychotherapy