Values in Psychotherapy
American Journal of Psychotherapy. 1996 Summer; 50(3): 259-273.
There is a tension between those who hold that psychotherapy is a scientific discipline and therefore "value-free," and those who believe that values are inherent in the nature of psychotherapy. Psychoanalysis has moved from a science-based ideology, through the ethical concerns of Melanie Klein, to a recognition of the "aesthetic" dimension -- the creation of suitable forms that can contain psychological distress. From this latter perspective, the antagonism between religion and psychotherapy, initiated by Freud, becomes less acute. Action-based ethical systems, which ignore the inner world, are critically scrutinized. The evidence suggesting there is a relationship between good outcome in psychotherapy and shared values between therapist and client is reviewed. It is posited that through examination of the "ethical countertransference," therapists should become aware of their own value systems and how they influence practice.