Show Summary Details

Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD HANDBOOKS ONLINE ( © 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: 16 May 2021

Abstract and Keywords

The formal concept of futility has been inchoately explored in psychotherapeutic scholarship and only recently has a small body of work focused primarily on anorexia nervosa and schizophrenia emerged. Therefore, this chapter must be considered an exploratory investigation of the meaning of the concept of futility in the practice of psychotherapy. The exploration will begin with a tracing of the intellectual history of the concept and a review of attempts to develop definitions and typologies of futility. It will then outline the fundamental ethical arguments debated in the medical futility literature with reference to anorexia nervosa. Medical, philosophical, legal, and ethical critiques of the idea of futility and its use in medicine and psychiatry will be examined. Finally, a tentative initial effort will be made to apply the ethical principles and values inherent in the debate regarding these discussions of futility to psychotherapy.

Keywords: futility, psychotherapy, ethics, psychodynamic, anorexia nervosa, palliative

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.