Values and Ethics in the Practice of Psychotherapy and Counselling

Values and Ethics in the Practice of Psychotherapy and Counselling

Values and Ethics in the Practice of Psychotherapy and Counselling

Values and Ethics in the Practice of Psychotherapy and Counselling

Excerpt

This book is about the values that underlie the theory and practice of psychotherapy. It is not about codes of ethics or techniques as such although, of course, these are the expressions of the very values that we wish to discuss. In recent years there has been a growth in interest and concern about the field of ethics and values for many reasons. In the second half of the twentieth century, after the Second World War, there was a consensus in which the common good was seen to be service to all citizens. In the UK this was expressed, for example, in the terms of the National Health Service and the Education Act 1944. In the 1980s, attitudes were changed and the emphasis moved from the practitioner who was offering the service to the rights of citizens receiving it. The language changed to stress the rights of consumers, thus patients became customers. Words like accountability acquired much greater importance in political and social life. Professionals who had assumed that they knew what was best for the patient began to have to explain what they were doing and why, both to their colleagues and to the public.

This book is the result of our concern to explore and debate the values that structure the professional and personal ethos of our particular world of work. This has required an exploration of the language that we use and the ideas and assumptions that lie beneath. We have therefore asked a number of authors to write about the values that inform the area of work that interests them and to consider how these values are expressed in theory and practice. One of these, Richard Rowson, has pointed out that there is no clear distinction to be made between ethics and morals. However, the main difference in common usage would be perhaps that morals are usually seen as the system adopted by an individual whereas ethics is the science of . . .

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