Ethics and psychotherapy: A socio-cultural perspective

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Ethics and psychotherapy: A socio-cultural perspective

Autor: Isabel Caro

Número de Revista de Psicoterapia a la que pertenece el artículo: 113

Coordinador del monográfico: Manuel Villegas


The main aim of this paper is to understand ethics in psychotherapy from a socio-cultural perspective. To fulfill this aim, psychotherapy, as a social healing practice, is related to the socio-cultural issues underlying it. This perspective could offer therapists some ethical reflections about what (and why) is appropriate/inappropriate to be done in the psychotherapy field. Exemplifying and deconstructing such issues could facilitate therapists’ training, and could fulfill an ethical need for more critical thinkers. This paper works toward these aims by first placing psychotherapy in a socio-cultural context and exemplifying the bidirectional influence between psychotherapy and society. This will be related to an ethics perspective because it implies what therapists and clients are entitled to do and how appropriate psychotherapy aims and means are socially constructed. Second, it focuses on the three main ethical challenges in psychotherapy; i.e., trust, caring and power. These three issues are closely related and cannot be properly understood and developed unless they are placed in a socially constructed practice context.

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This article considers the relationship between ethics and moral development. Ethics, as a philosophical discipline, cannot ignore the psychological dimension of conscience on which it is based. But conscience, from the psychological point of view, cannot guarantee the knowledge of good and evil, since it is not innate, but an acquired structure. This relationship between philosophy and psychology give rise to several questions: how is moral conscience developed? How does moral conscience differentiate good and evil? Has moral conscience coercive effect on behavior? These and other issues are examined in the article from a metaphysical, epistemological and psychological point of view.
ethics, psychotherapy, socio-cultural perspective

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