Creating an Ethical Position in Family Therapy

By Ivan B. Inger; Jeri Inger | Go to book overview

CHAPTER FOUR
Evolving an ethic of being

Objectivity, a required attitude in traditional psychotherapies, had been constraining our propensity to be compassionate in our work. We found ourselves returning to our earlier interest in philosophical thinking and genuine dialogue. We dusted off our Buber books and familiarized ourselves with his thinking about human relationships. We discovered that central to Buber's thinking is the notion that a person is never alone in the world. He or she is always in relation to another or others. How we participate in that relationship differs depending upon our attitude towards ourselves and others.

According to Buber, a genuine dialogue requires us to imagine the experience of another from that other's perspective while maintaining our own perspective. Buber used the phrase "imagining the real" to describe the act of committing oneself fully to putting oneself "into the life of the Other" ( 1965 b, p. 81). Imagining the real is how we think of the other when we make that person known to ourselves. Imagining another from that perspective is what Buber describes as an act of inclusion ( 1965 a, p. 97). Acting from an attitude of inclusion occurs when one (as in the case of psychotherapy

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