The Ethical Lives of Clients: Transcending Self-Interest in Psychotherapy

Front Cover
American Psychological Association, Oct 19, 2021 - Psychology - 163 pages
Clients often seek therapists' input for dealing with ethical dilemmas in their lives, but there is little guidance for therapists in how to do this. This book shows therapists how to serve as ethical consultants who help clients balance their personal needs with their sense of responsibility to others.

Bill Doherty blends decades of clinical experience with personal and philosophical insights to frame the skills and knowledge therapists need to act as ethical guides while respecting client autonomy. He calls for a shift from psychotherapy's individualistic focus towards a more relational one that includes ethical connections to others.

Doherty presents the LEAP-C model, a framework for ethical consulting that utilizes the traditional therapeutic skills of listening, exploring, affirming, and offering perspective, while also challenging clients to recognize ethical issues they don't perceive.

Using detailed case examples, he provides a roadmap for addressing common client dilemmas, such as keeping and ending commitments, having affairs, lying and deceiving, and causing psychological or physical harm to others.

He also provides guidelines for citizen therapists to lend their expertise to help solve larger societal concerns, such as political polarization and police-community relations.

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About the author (2021)

William J. Doherty, PhD, is a professor in the Department of Family Social Science and director of the Citizen Professional Center at the University of Minnesota. He is a practicing psychologist and marriage and family therapist and is cofounder of The Doherty Relationship Institute and the nonprofit Braver Angels. He has made many appearances in media outlets and has written 15 other books, including Helping Couples on the Brink of Divorce: Discernment Counseling for Troubled Relationships (2017). Dr. Doherty is past president of the National Council on Family Relations and the recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Family Therapy Academy. Visit https: //

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