The History and Ethics of the Therapeutic Relationship

In Trachsel Manuel, Şerife Tekin, Nikola Biller-Adorno, Jens Gaab & John Sadler (eds.), Oxford Handbook of Psychotherapy Ethics. Oxford University Press. pp. 65-84 (2021)
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This chapter reviews past and present debates about the therapeutic relationship in order to draw out the ethical implications of relational practices in psychotherapy. The therapeutic relationship has been understood differently across psychotherapeutic approaches, with each tradition responding to the attendant ethical challenges in distinctive ways. Aside from practitioners’ theoretical and practical commitments, the therapeutic relationship has also been, and continues to be, shaped by broader societal influences. The chapter discusses the shifting ethical implications of relational practices, then, as situated in their theoretical and historical contexts. The variability of concerns raised by the therapeutic relationship requires continued ethical analysis in order to confront the diversity and complexity of contemporary clinical practice.



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Kelso Cratsley
American University
Ulrich Koch
George Washington University

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