Complaints and Grievances in Psychotherapy: A Handbook of Ethical Practice

Complaints and Grievances in Psychotherapy: A Handbook of Ethical Practice

Complaints and Grievances in Psychotherapy: A Handbook of Ethical Practice

Complaints and Grievances in Psychotherapy: A Handbook of Ethical Practice

Synopsis

This up-to-date and comprehensive handbook guides the reader, step-by-step, through all aspects of complaints and grievance management. It includes useful address, current codes of ethics from the major organizations, protocols and sample letters.

Excerpt

The huge expansion in the fields of psychotherapy, counselling and analysis has placed questions of ethical codes and practices far higher up everyone's agenda than was the case ten years ago. However, for the most part, discussions of these issues have tended to polarize so that they take place at one extreme of a spectrum or the other.

On the one hand, there are high-level, somewhat abstract, philosophically sophisticated discussions of what exactly constitutes an ethic suitable for psychotherapy work in general. These discussions often cover the extent of the practitioner's responsibilities to the client or patient and do so in terms of the rather specific nature of therapy work which is so often not what it seems: not advice-giving (yet not devoid of advice and influencing), not a rigidly hierarchical relationship (yet not devoid of power issues), not conducted by one who knows, as opposed to one who is supposed to know (yet requiring extensive training on the part of its practitioners).

On the other hand, there are legalistic codes of practice in existence with carefully thought-out procedures balancing the needs of client, practitioner and public. the problem here is that, as consensus on almost any aspect of therapy work is difficult to achieve, the codes of ethics cannot possibly cover every eventuality. They can often seem cut off from the emotional liveliness of the actual work, and be difficult to understand and off-putting to prospective complainants.

It would be both banal and not strictly true to assert that this book steers a magnificently middle course between philosophy and philosophizing on the one hand and codifying and legalism on the other. I think that one huge benefit of Fiona Palmer Barnes' entire approach is that she has chosen to situate her discussion exactly where it should be placed according to the present-day ecology of the psychotherapy and counselling world. Throughout her book we find careful attention being paid to what is actually going on in the ethics area on the ground so that

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