Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Letters

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Letters

Article excerpt

Think, Feel, Do the Right Thing

I write in response to "The Age of Casting No Stones," (Feb. 18). The president of the Ethics and Public Policy Center is quoted as saying, "The therapeutic culture has taken over the moral culture. We're much more used to the vocabulary of psychology and therapy - 'What does someone mean by this? What was their intention?' - than we are with the objective analysis of an act, which is the heart of objective morality."

The article goes on to discuss the possible impact of our increasing inability to understand and to take a stand about what is right and wrong. In fact, the point is made that we may care very little about morality. According to a university dean, "... we kind of work under the assumption, 'If it feels good, do it.' " I am dismayed about the implication that the discipline of psychology has become synonymous with the 'feel good' generation. The American Psychological Association, as well as psychologists around the country, work diligently to incorporate and promote ethics. All state psychological associations have ethics committees that meet regularly to establish and enforce ethical guidelines for psychologists' behavior. We now teach courses in ethics at both the graduate and undergraduate level for psychology majors. These committees and courses focus on the establishment of a moral and ethical code for psychologists. Finally, when a clinical psychologist asks his or her clients about their intent or about their feelings, it is with the intent to pursue a greater level of understanding about their way of operating in the world. Often such insights contribute to change and a higher level of functioning. Psychologists know that the philosophy "if it feels good, do it" does not equal good mental health or even happiness. It generally takes hard work and patience to build a life and pass on some of what we have learned to the next generation. Cheryl S. Pelletier, PhD Bangor, Maine Cattle ranching on a small planet People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) doesn't sympathize with beef ranchers' struggle against rising property and cattle feed costs and lower beef prices ("The Struggle to Keep the Family Ranch," Feb. …

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