The Healing Virtues: Character Ethics in Psychotherapy

ISBN : 9780199689149

Duff R. Waring
256 Pages
153 x 234 mm
Pub date
Jan 2016
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The Healing Virtues explores the intersection of psychotherapy and virtue ethics - with an emphasis on the patient's role within a healing process. It considers how the common ground between the therapeutic process and the cultivation of virtues can inform the efforts of both therapist and patient. The ethics of psychotherapy revolve partly around what therapists should or should not do as well as the sort of person that therapists should be: e.g., empathic, prudent, compassionate, respectful, and trustworthy. Contemporary practitioners have argued for therapist virtues that are relevant to assisting the patient's efforts in a healing process. But the ethics of a therapeutic dialogue can also revolve around the sort of person the patient should be. Within this book, Drew Waring argues that there is a case for patient virtues that are relevant to dealing with the problems in living that arise in psychotherapy, e.g., honesty, courage, humility, perseverance. The central idea is that treatment may need to build virtues while it ameliorates problems. Hence, the patient's work in psychotherapy can both challenge character strengths and result in their further development. The book is unique in bringing the topic of virtue ethics to the psychotherapeutic encounter, and will be of interest to psychotherapists, philosophers, and psychiatrists.

About the author: 

Duff Waring (B.A., M.A., LL.B., Ph.D.) is a philosopher/lawyer who specialized in mental health law and psychiatric patient advocacy. He teaches currently in the Philosophy Department at York University where he specializes in ethics, bioethics, and philosophy of psychiatry. He is a member of the Law Society of Upper Canada and the author of Medical Benefit and the Human Lottery: An Egalitarian Approach to Patient Selection (Dordrecht, The Netherlands and New York: Springer, 2004).

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