Three Senses of Responsibility

  • Vlad Beliavsky


There are two main questions: Why should a counselor advise taking responsibility at all? What senses of responsibility can be helpful for psychotherapy? I will argue that there are minimally three senses of responsibility (role, capacity, and causal responsibility) that are conducive for therapeutic work. To recapitulate, role responsibility implies that the agent has a certain duty or an obligation; causal responsibility means that there is a causal connection between the outcome and the agent’s preceding behavior; and capacity responsibility signifies that the agent has certain capacities (choice, self-control) which make them eligible for moral relations. I will argue that these senses of responsibility serve many vital functions, helping to increase self-awareness, to augment self-control, and to contribute to moral relations, to name just a few.


Role responsibility Causal responsibility Capacity responsibility Psychotherapy 


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© The Author(s) 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  • Vlad Beliavsky
    • 1
  1. 1.Psychology, PhilosophyUniversity of WarwickCoventryUK

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