Nine ethical values of master therapists
Date of this version
This study employed the Consensual Qualitative Research method (Hill, Thompson, & Williams, 1997) to reanalyze interview data from a previous qualitative study of the personal characteristics of master therapists (Jennings & Skovholt, 1999). Previous research has demonstrated that therapists utilize a variety of resources when making ethical decisions, including professional codes of conduct and their own values. The current study's analysis of 10 master therapists' interviews resulted in the identification of nine ethical values related to their clinical practice: (a) relational connection, (b) autonomy, (c) beneficence, (d) nonmaleficence, (e) competence, (f) humility, (g) professional growth, (h) openness to complexity and ambiguity, and (i) self-awareness. Conducting oneself ethically is a critical task of the competent therapist (American Psychological Association, 2002). Making the best ethical decisions can be extremely challenging for most therapists due to the multitude of complex ethical situations that arise in practice. The goal of this study is to examine the ethical values of therapists considered to be "the best of the best" by their professional colleagues. It is hoped that such an examination will help to illuminate the ethical values that these master therapists seem to draw upon in their work.
Journal of Mental Health Counseling