The last chapter by Tjeltveit is titled “Shaping Psychotherapy’s Ethical Character.” As he brings the book to a close, Tjeltveit reiterates that counseling goals really ought to be of benefit to clients and to the society as a whole. This give psychotherapists quite a bit of latitude in terms of goals – in part because there again are so many different stakeholders invested in defining goals.
In a section on dialogue, Tjeltveit discusses both broad and focused dialogue. Broad dialogue refers to discussions with those who hold to different perspectives. Focused dialogues occur within communities – they do not have to argue for their broad worldview but they go deeper into questions of application in particular instances.
Tjeltveit suggests that ethical acuity is important for improving the ethical character of psychotherapy. He is referring here to the ability to see with greater clarity the ethical issues (and the various alternatives) that pertain to psychotherapy.
Another term that is also introduced is ethical articulacy, which Tjeltveit sees as communicating our ethical ideals. He would like to see us be more explicit based upon the assumption that the more explicit we are about ethics the better (for ethical decision-making).
For reflection: What do you think of Tjeltveit’s suggestions for making gains in the area of ethical decision-making? What about being in dialogue with those with whom you disagree? Have you had that experience? How was it?