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The Ethical Practice of Psychotherapy

Clearly Within Our Reach


This introductory article to the special section on ethics in psychotherapy highlights the challenges and
ethical dilemmas psychotherapists regularly face throughout their careers, and the limits of the American Psychological Association Ethics Code in offering clear guidance for how specifically to respond to each
of these situations. Reasons for the Ethics Code’s naturally occurring limitations are shared. The role of ethical decision-making, the use of multiple sources of guidance, and the role of consultation with colleagues to augment and support the psychotherapist’s professional judgment are illustrated. Representative ethics challenges in a range of areas of practice are described, with particular attention given to tele-mental health and social media, interprofessional practice and collaboration with medical professionals, and self-care and the promotion of wellness. Key recommendations are shared to promote ethical conduct and to resolve commonly occurring ethical dilemmas in each of these areas of psychotherapy practice. Each of the six articles that follow in this special section on ethics in psychotherapy are introduced, and their main points are summarized.

Keywords: ethics, dilemmas, decision-making, psychotherapy, practice

Cite This Article

Barnett, J. E. (2019). The ethical practice of psychotherapy: Clearly within our reach. Psychotherapy, 56(4), 431-440.



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