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Soul Searching: Why Psychotherapy Must Promote Moral Responsibility

William Doherty

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Prose: non-fiction, Psychology

Paul, a divorced father, wants to back out of his child care arrangement and spend less time with his children. Nathan has been lying to his wife about a serious medical condition. Marsha, recently separated from her husband, cannot resist telling her children negative things about their father. What is the role of therapy in these situations? Trained to strive for neutrality and to focus strictly on the clients' needs, most therapists generally consider moral issues such as fairness, truthfulness, and obligation beyond their domain. Now, an award-winning psychologist and family therapist criticizes psychotherapy's overemphasis on individual self-interest and calls for a sense of moral responsibility in therapy.

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