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Relational Responsibility in Practice: Ethical Considerations for Today’s Therapist| March 22

Fri, March 22, 2013

Time: 8:45-4:15
Plymouth Congregational Church,
1900 Nicollet Avenue
Minneapolis, MN
Presenters: Sheila McNamee, Ph.D. & Julie Tilsen, Ph.D.

Workshop Description: The field of psychotherapy (as most professional fields) has been fraught with a concern for ethical action where ‘ethical action’ generally infers “doing the right thing.” Yet, when we operate within a postmodern sensibility – a world that embraces uncertainty as opposed to certainty, continual change as opposed to stability, and local/historical/cultural contingencies rather than universal laws – answering the question of what counts as ethical practice requires an entirely different focus of attention. Traditionally, the belief has been that we can judge individuals and their actions, thereby making assessments of the appropriateness or ethical quality of those actions. The criteria for ethical action within a traditional orientation are assumed to be empirically supported and applicable across contexts. In postmodernism, however, we shift our focus in two important ways: (1) from believing that there could be one, uniform set of criteria for assessing the ethics of any particular action and (2) from centering individuals and their actions to centering processes of relating. These shifts demand that we approach the question of ethical action in a radically different manner.

The ethic of relational responsibility emphasizes a focus on conversational processes, not on people, situations, or problems in isolation. We will examine the nuances of working in the unique contexts in which today’s practitioners find themselves. We will explore how therapists can ground themselves in a relational ethic that gives their work meaning, helps sustain them in their practice, and allows them to engage in justice as an ethical endeavor. Relational ethics are conceptualized at the heart of all practice—not only when we are sorting out responses to a “dilemma”—including our choices of theories and interventions. We will consider the question, “How do we know when clinical practice is responsible and ethical?” from multiple perspectives, and offer resources for ethical action in practice.

This workshop is for therapists, counselors, youthworkers, and other helpers who are interested in understanding ethics as a philosophical and relational stance that is reflective of and responsive to a variety of contextual considerations.

We will consider:

  • Ways in which a relational ethic is not the ethic of “no ethic” but of the continuous construction of meaning
  • How the movement from a position of value neutrality to awareness of value construction enhances relational responsiveness
  • An understanding of ethics beyond the analysis of actions produced by self-contained individuals toward a focus on the collaborative construction of what is good and what is real
  • How the ways we understand and “do” our ethics contribute to our identities as therapists and can sustain us when working in challenging contexts
  • How engaging in relational ethics serve as a core component of socially just and culturally responsive practice

To Register - click here for registration form

Or contact:
Brier Miller: [email protected]/612-598-9380 or
Julie Tilsen: [email protected]/612-462-3707