Competence to Consent

  • Gerald P. Koocher
Part of the Critical Issues in Social Justice book series (CISJ)


There are probably as many definitions of psychotherapy as there are people who write about it. One review paper cites 48 different definitions (Weiner, 1976) and goes on to complicate matters by distinguishing psychotherapy from activities and events that may have psychotherapeutic value per se. While goals, strategies, tactics, and theoretical underpinnings vary widely, most psychotherapists would assert that their work with clients is intended to enhance emotional growth, foster maturity, and promote general adaptive functioning. Others would claim only that they strive to help clients develop an “understanding of their own behavior.” There is also a substantial body of literature, typified by the writings of Eysenck (1965, 1966), that challenges the value and effectiveness of psychotherapy or cites potential harmful effects of so-called psychotherapeutic interventions. Such claims have been effectively rebutted (Weiner, 1976), but the existing literature is replete with controversy.


Mental Health Profession Professional Psychology Legal Sense Hastings Center Report Outpatient Psychotherapy 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1983

Authors and Affiliations

  • Gerald P. Koocher
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of PsychiatryChildren’s Hospital Medical CenterBostonUSA
  2. 2.Harvard Medical SchoolBostonUSA

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