Moral Stealth: How "Correct Behavior" Insinuates Itself into Psychotherapeutic Practice

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University of Chicago Press, Feb 15, 2007 - Psychology - 158 pages

A psychiatrist writes a letter to a journal explaining his decision to marry a former patient. Another psychiatrist confides that most of his friends are ex-patients. Both practitioners felt they had to defend their behavior, but psychoanalyst Arnold Goldberg couldn’t pinpoint the reason why. What was wrong about the analysts’ actions?

In Moral Stealth, Goldberg explores and explains that problem of “correct behavior.” He demonstrates that the inflated and official expectations that are part of an analyst’s training—that therapists be universally curious, hopeful, kind, and purposeful, for example—are often of less help than simple empathy amid the ambiguous morality of actual patient interactions. Being a good therapist and being a good person, he argues, are not necessarily the same.

Drawing on case studies from his own practice and from the experiences of others, as well as on philosophers such as John Dewey, Slavoj Žižek, and Jürgen Habermas, Goldberg breaks new ground and leads the way for therapists to understand the relationship between private morality and clinical practice.

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About the author (2007)

Arnold Goldberg, M.D., is training and supervising analyst at the Institute for Psychoanalysis in Chicago, and the Cynthia Oudejan Harris MD Professor of Psychiatry at Rush University Medical School. He is the author of The Problem of Perversion; Being of Two Minds: The Vertical Split in Psychoanalysis and Psychotherapy; and Misunderstanding Freud.

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