McAnulty College and Graduate School of Liberal Arts
Ethical dilemmas, Ethics, Hermeneutics, Imagination, Phenomenology, Psychotherapy
This research examines and describes the ways psychotherapists address ethical dilemmas through a hermeneutic analysis of how they responded to a portrayal of a therapy session represented in a television series. Interview transcripts were analyzed and assessed for both how therapists navigate difficult ethical terrain, and upon what, thematically, they tend to direct their thought and concern. Moreover, particular consideration is given to the role of imagination in the development of ethical meaning, intention, and understanding in the clinical context, which intersects with a critique of the American Psychological Association's ethics code and its underlying philosophical assumptions. Such theoretical underpinnings suggest a view of therapists as rational agents capable of applying ethical rules and codes to resolve dilemmas in a logical, formulaic manner, a view which is questioned for its failure to account for the empathetic, vitalizing, and hermeneutic value of imaginative thought, rehearsal, and reflection in practice. Finally, implications for therapy, pedagogy, and interpersonal understanding are explored.
Jungwirth, J. (2013). The Ethical Imagination: A Hermeneutical Study (Doctoral dissertation, Duquesne University). Retrieved from https://dsc.duq.edu/etd/720