Ethics and Values in Psychotherapy – 2

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In Chapter 3 of his book, Ethics and Values in Psychotherapy, Alan Tjeltveit defines an ethicist, and he makes the distinction between psychotherapist as ethicist and moralist. An ethicist is someone who has knowledge and perhaps training, who shows discernment, careful evaluation, and good judgement, and who is recognized for these qualities within a community. Ethicists hold ethical convictions and influence others either directly or indirectly. According to Tjeltveit, an psychotherapist/ethicist can function in many ways, such as teaching, consulting, coaching, and advocacy, to name a few. While an ethicist creates space for others to reason, draw their own conclusions, and make their own decisions, a moralist is one who attempts to impose his or her beliefs upon others.

For reflection: What influences exist that would lead a Christian psychotherapist toward being an either an ethicist or a moralist?  

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