Keywords

Relational philosophy of E. Levinas, moral elements in therapeutic relationships

Abstract

Phenomenological qualitative methods were used to identify and describe moral elements in therapeutic relationships. Using the relational philosophy of E. Levinas (1961/1969, 1979/1987) as a base, data in which therapists and clients identified and described morally responsive experiences in therapy sessions were analyzed. These moments were often unexpected and included categories of surprise, interruption, willingness to change, and clarifications/repairs. Additional moral phenomena related to therapists' attitudes included asymmetrical indebtedness, attitude of serving, and tentativeness of diagnosis. Identified moments of moral responsiveness were frequently associated with clients' progress in therapy. This suggests that conceptually smooth and uninterrupted therapy may be less helpful than therapy that is discontinuous and able to change in the moment.

Original Publication Citation

Whiting, J. B., Nebeker, R. S., & Fife, S. T. (2005). Moral responsiveness and discontinuity in therapy: A qualitative study. Counseling and Values, 50, 20-37

Document Type

Peer-Reviewed Article

Publication Date

2005-10

Publisher

Counseling and Values

Language

English

College

Family, Home, and Social Sciences

Department

Family Life

University Standing at Time of Publication

Full Professor

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