The Significance of Explicit Communication of Therapist’s Values in Therapy

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The myth of value neutral psychotherapy has been shattered. Therapist trainees are encouraged to examine their personal assumptions and biases and to increase their own self-awareness, so that they will not impose their values on clients in psychotherapy. Nevertheless, no one is free from values, and sometimes psychologist may need to discuss their values with clients for the following reasons: First, psychotherapy theories have value-laden components and they are often hidden or taken granted; these values may not be consistent with what clients want. Therefore, clients have the right to know them to make informed choices about their treatments. In addition, sometimes psychologists cannot put aside their values in psychotherapy; values is communicated through what they do and how they do it—the way psychologists relate to clients as well as in their theoretical orientations or treatment modalities. As a result, clients are likely to be influenced by the values of their therapists. Again, it is the right of clients to know what kinds of influences they will be exposed to during their treatment. Therefore, in this paper, I argue that values should be openly discussed in therapy for the best interests of clients.

As mentioned, psychotherapy is not thought to be value-free or value-neutral any more, and therapists are required to be aware of their own values and to hold them back while treating clients. Nevertheless, according to Patterson (1998), some psychologists claim the legitimacy of imparting certain values. Understandably, it is more so among psychologists with religious orientation as in pastoral counseling. However, Patterson (1986) also listed psychologists who instruct certain values without religious affiliat...

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Smith, A. (2000). The inescapably ethical character of psychotherpy. Journal of Theoretical and Philosophical Psychology.. Retrieved from
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