Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics

, Volume 19, Issue 4, pp 371–381 | Cite as

Ethical Considerations in Psychotherapeutic Systems

  • Jurrit Bergsma
  • Bertha Mook


In the process of individual psychotherapy, the client and the therapist work together towards clarifying the client's problems, unlocking vicious circles, opening new perspectives and creating a new narrative congruent with the client's experiencing. The real and undeniable situation in individual psychotherapy across different therapeutic systems is that therapists enter the therapeutic encounter equipped with their own vision of humanity and their own particular theory and methods of psychotherapy. Through the differences in power between therapists and clients and the powerful role of language, clients in their dependent position are apt to assimilate the percepts and the ideas of their therapists. Consequently therapists tend to exert a dominant and influential force in their client's lives. This raises a main ethical concern: to what extent do therapists from different therapeutic systems really help clients to recover their freedom to live their lives congruent to their own authentic perceptions and experiences?

psychotherapy client therapist psychotherapeutical systems relation power language autonomy ethics 


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1998

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jurrit Bergsma
    • 1
  • Bertha Mook
    • 1
  1. 1.Medical Humanities ProgramLoyola University Medical CenterMaywoodUSA

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