Abstract

The standard approach to ethics in psychotherapy is to focus on the therapist. Although normative “boundary” ethics revolves around what the therapist ought, or ought not, to do, virtue ethics can revolve around the kind of person the therapist ought to be. One can thus apply virtue ethical theory to clinical practice and argue for therapist virtues that are relevant to meeting professional standards and to working effectively through the problems that arise in psychotherapy. Considerably less attention has been paid to how virtue ethics relates to the patient. The ethics of psychotherapy can also revolve around the sort of person the patient should be. I argue that there are (a) nascent virtues which the patient can bring to psychotherapy that, when cultivated with the therapist, can facilitate a beneficial outcome and (b) virtues that can be seen as psychotherapeutic goals toward which the patient ought to strive.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1086-3303
Print ISSN
1071-6076
Pages
pp. 25-35
Launched on MUSE
2012-05-12
Open Access
No
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