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Virtuous Therapist: Ethical Practice of Counseling and Psychotherapy 1st Edition

Elliot D. Cohen, Gale Spieler Cohen

  • Published
  • 368 Pages
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Even with the development of codes of ethics and laws, counseling professionals are often left in quandaries when it comes to questions of ethics. In The Virtuous Therapist, authors Elliot D. Cohen and Gale Spieler Cohen provide a systematic, philosophical approach to mental health ethics. Their comprehensive model of ethical decision making is developed as a basis for addressing a number of difficult ethical problems that are raised throughout the book. Many of the issues raised in the second part of the book are timely, ethically engaging, and of practical importance to those working in the trenches. For example, the authors examine how the growing AIDS epidemic has prompted pressing questions about the ethics of counseling sexually active clients who are HIV-positive. In contrast to rule-based approaches, this virtue-based perspective emphasizes the therapists' development of character traits that are essential to working through moral problems in therapy. The Virtuous Therapist is co-authored by a philosopher with training and clinical experience in counseling and by a counselor with a background in philosophy. By combining these professional credentials, the authors avoid philosophical short-sightedness while remaining in tune with the practical realities of psychotherapy.

Elliot D. Cohen, Indian River Community College

Gale Spieler Cohen, Indian River Community College

  • The ethical approach developed in this book works within many different psychotherapeutic modalities, and applies to cognitive-behavioral approaches as well as to existential and humanistic approaches.
  • The book pays attention to specific past situations that provide moral precedents that can help resolve current moral problems.
  • The case studies included in the book represent a wide variety of persistent moral dilemmas that arise in psychotherapy and provide concrete focal points for confronting such situations.
  • The issues covered in Part II are timely and useful for practitioners. They include a therapist's responsibilities in suspected child abuse cases, domestic violence and abuse, pregnancy/abortion issues, confidentiality issues in HIV cases, and multiculturalism.
1. Ethics and Virtue.
2. Foundations of Counseling Virtues.
3. Autonomy-Facilitating Virtues.
4. Trust-Establishing Virtues.
5. Multiculturalism and Counseling Ethics.
6. Avoiding Ethical Impropriety: Problems of Dual-Role Relationships.
7. Suspected Child Abuse: A Therapist's Responsibilities.
8. Domestic Violence and Abuse: Ethical and Therapeutic Considerations.
9. Confidentiality, Third Party Harm, and Clients Who Have HIV.
10. Paternalistic Intervention, Involuntary Commitment, and Client Autonomy.
APPENDICES: ACA Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice, Ethical Principles of Psychologists and Code of Conduct, NASW Code of Ethics, Ethical Standards of Human Service Professionals, AAMFT Code of Ethics.

"It's division into two broad categories, with the first establishing basic principles and concepts followed by specific applications is especially good. The range of topics included is relevant and reasonably comprehensive...this text is an important contribution to professional counseling ethics in its attempt to found practical applications of ethical decision-making within the context of a philosophically developed ethical theory... I would recommend this book for use as a primary text in counseling training programs."

"I am very impressed with this manuscript, and strongly believe that it has the potential to become an important and influential text... It's strengths are many, but in my view, the foremost advantage or strength is that it tackles ethics from a highly unique blend of philosophy and mental health practice. I know of no other book that does this."

"The strength. . . is that it approaches ethics from a different point of view--one that is needed. . . (it is) a surprisingly new approach to a topic which is crucial to our profession."