Ethics in psychotherapy and counseling: a practical guide

San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass. Edited by Melba Jean Trinidad Vasquez & Nayeli Y. Chavez-Dueñas (2007)
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Abstract

Psychotherapy holds out the promise of help for people who are hurting and in need. It can save lives and change lives. In therapy, clients can find their strengths and sense of hope. They can change course toward a more meaningful and healthy life. They can confront loss, tragedy, hopelessness, and the end of life in ways that do not leave them numb or paralyzed. They can discover what brings them joy and what sustains them through hard times. They can begin to trust, or to trust more wisely. They can learn new behaviors in therapy and how to teach themselves new behaviors after therapy ends. They can question what they always believed was a given. They can find out what matters most to them, and how to stop wasting time. They can become happier, or at least less miserable. They can become better able, as Freud noted, to love and to work. They can learn how to accept and love themselves just as they are and accept others who are different from them. Our ethics acknowledge and affirm our profession's responsibilities. This book was written to help strengthen, deepen, and inform ethical awareness and the sense of personal ethical responsibility. Its job is to help you hold onto the ideals-including ethical ideals-that called you into the profession to begin with, to help you develop and fulfill those ideals. There will be so much-trust us on this-that tends to dull ethical awareness, to make ethics drift out of focus, to create barriers between you and your ideals, to replace ethics with pseudo-ethics and ethics placebos. Fatigue, endless paperwork, unrealistic expectations, illness, family crises, not being able to make ends meet, burn out, threats of job loss, insurance coverage that doesn't come close to meeting the needs of our clients, biases that have not been addressed, and so many other forces can pressure us into cutting ethical corners. This book is intended to help you develop a strong and healthy resistance to such forces, to help you weather them without losing your ethical awareness and ideals.

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