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The Ethical Lives of Clients

Transcending Self-Interest in Psychotherapy

William Doherty, PhD
Publication Date:
Dec 14, 2021
American Psychological Association
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Clients often seek therapists’ input for dealing with ethical dilemmas in their lives, but there is little guidance for therapists in how to do this. This book shows therapists how to serve as ethical consultants who help clients balance their personal needs with their sense of responsibility to others.

Bill Doherty blends decades of clinical experience with personal and philosophical insights to frame the skills and knowledge therapists need to act as ethical guides while respecting client autonomy. He calls for a shift from psychotherapy’s individualistic focus towards a more relational one that includes ethical connections to others.  
Doherty presents the LEAP‑C model, a framework for ethical consulting that utilizes the traditional therapeutic skills of listening, exploring, affirming, and offering perspective, while also challenging clients to recognize ethical issues they don't perceive.

Using detailed case examples, he provides a roadmap for addressing common client dilemmas, such as keeping and ending commitments, having affairs, lying and deceiving, and causing psychological or physical harm to others.
He also provides guidelines for citizen therapists to lend their expertise to help solve larger societal concerns, such as political polarization and police–community relations.



William Doherty, PhD's Profile

William Doherty, PhD Related seminars and products

William Doherty, PhD, is a professor and director of the Minnesota Couples on the Brink Project at the University of Minnesota. His books include Helping Couples on the Brink of Divorce: Discernment Counseling for Troubled Relationships, with Steven Harris. He is cofounder of Better Angels, an initiative to depolarize America.

Speaker Disclosures:
Financial: Dr. William Doherty has an employment relationship with the University of Minnesota. He receives a speaking honorarium and recording royalties from Psychotherapy Networker and PESI, Inc. He has no relevant financial relationships with ineligible organizations.
Non-financial: Dr. William Doherty is a member of the National Council on Family Relations, the International Council of the Institute on the Holocaust and Genocide in Jerusalem, and the American Psychological Association.


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