Show Summary Details

Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD HANDBOOKS ONLINE (www.oxfordhandbooks.com). © Oxford University Press, 2018. All Rights Reserved. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a title in Oxford Handbooks Online for personal use (for details see Privacy Policy and Legal Notice).

date: 27 January 2020

Abstract and Keywords

Ethical issues involving autonomy, coercion, consent, boundaries, involuntary commitment, and others are inherent in the mental health field. These issues are complicated by the consideration of concepts such as the unconscious mind and transference that are principle components of psychoanalytic theory and practice. Ethical rules can provide a framework in which the practitioner may operate; however, these rules can come into conflict creating a dilemma for the therapist. In addition to ethical rules directing our action, virtues (habits of the heart and mind that are developed through effortful practice and lead to excellence in a defined realm of activity) ask us to adapt certain aspect of character. In virtue ethics, these aspects of character are given more weight in moral assessments relative to strict adherence to rules or outcomes. The authors discuss virtue ethics in the practice of psychoanalysis and illustrate these ideas with a discussion of informed consent.

Keywords: virtues, virtue ethics, psychoanalysis, rules (deontology), informed consent, unconscious, transference, countertransference, empathy, neutrality

Access to the complete content on Oxford Handbooks Online requires a subscription or purchase. Public users are able to search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter without a subscription.

Please subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you have purchased a print title that contains an access token, please see the token for information about how to register your code.

For questions on access or troubleshooting, please check our FAQs, and if you can''t find the answer there, please contact us.