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The Ethics Curriculum

Ethics: Empathy, Boundaries, and Technology

The True Heart of Ethical Behavior

Program Description

In this program, our speakers focus on the challenges facing us in a world where boundaries are loosened and technological developments allow for forms of therapy that are not always conducted face-to face. In addition, this program focuses on what it truly means to be an ethical therapist, not merely one who merely follows the codes or rules.

Learning Objectives

At the completion of this program, participants should be able to:
Recognize the ethical safeguards to consider if you “see” patients via Skype or other digital communication.
Identify the difference between the friendship and a psychotherapeutic relationship.
List four different types of self-disclosure and the appropriateness in the use of each.
Review how self-disclosure can reduce the power differential between therapist and client.
Recognize when a counter-transference response becomes a betrayal of the therapeutic bond and promise.
Explain when to use the 5-second rule in the therapeutic relationship.


Ethics and Countertransference - Lisa Ferentz, LCSW-C, DAPA website

We can know our ethical codes of our professions backwards and forwards, but when our personal feelings get involved, it’s awfully easy to find ways to rationalize and justify our actions. In this interview, we take a close look at countertransference, often at the root of ethical transgressions.

The Challenge and Dilemmas of Technology - Ofer Zur, Ph.D website

The world of social media and texting has changed the art of communication beyond recognition. Move that into the world of psychotherapy and you have, “All-you-can-text therapy services,” where, for a flat fee, a client can chat about his or her woes to their heart’s content from the comfort of their own recliner, and you have a willing and licensed therapeutic listener. Plus, ethical behavior does not exist in a vacuum and now we have a generation of therapists and clients who are unphased by all sorts of personal disclosures—we are conditioned to feel very natural about it. This is posing unprecendented challenges to our ethical codes and our deepest understanding of what is the true heart of ethical behavior.

The Ethics of Human Relating. - Frank Summers, Ph.D. website

In his new book, The Psychoanalytic Vision, Dr Frank Summers contends that ethical transgressions constitute a sense of betrayal that is repressed or disavowed. The self of the therapist pays a price for this betrayal, although the cost might be hidden. Essentially, he writes that ethical behavior requires the recognition of the other person requiring the same empathic behavior as oneself. Conduct motivated by respect for others is part of achieving selfhood, which is why “it is good to be good.” He’ll explain this further in our interview.

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