Doing the Right Thing: An Approach to Moral Issues in Mental Health Treatment

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Here is the first practical guide for dealing with the moral issues that regularly confront clinicians in their work. Written for all mental health professionals, Doing the Right Thing: An Approach to Moral Issues in Mental Health Treatment offers a framework both for making moral decisions concerning the treatment of patients and for helping patients deal with their own moral concerns.

Drawing on current thinking in several disciplines, Doing the Right Thing introduces the concept of moral functioning as a basis for therapeutic influence. Numerous case examples illustrate how to • Assess patients' ability to function morally -- Learn how six basic capacities needed for moral functioning develop, and how identifying problems in an individual's moral functioning can help guide the formulation of a treatment plan.• Treat patients with problems functioning morally -- Appreciate when it is time to set aside neutrality as a therapeutic stance in favor of a more direct approach to helping patients make moral commitments, decisions and self-assessments and develop moral character.• Deal with the moral aspects of clinical decision-making -- Develop a framework for making moral choices in planning the direction of treatment, confronting resistance and addressing problems in caring effectively. • Help patients address moral challenges -- Learn how to take into account your own and the patient's values in reasoning through moral dilemmas. Understand more clearly how to help patients deal with unfair pain caused by others, as well as the guilt and shame caused by their own moral failures.• Employ the therapeutic potential of moral growth, transformation, and integration -- Discover the role of a clinician in helping demoralized patients reformulate their ideals for better outcomes. Recognize where a moral paradigm is useful in improving the delivery of mental health care.

Concise, clear, and clinically relevant, Doing the Right Thing is a valuable, thought-provoking guide for both new and seasoned mental health practitioners who live and work in a morally complex environment. It is also an excellent supplementary text for courses dealing with the practice of psychotherapy and the ethical aspects of mental health care.

American Psychiatric Publishing

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Editorial Reviews

Doody's Review Service
Reviewer: Steven T. Herron, MD (Assurance Health and Wellness)
Description: This easy-to-read book "explores the implications of a functional paradigm for understanding the clinician's role" in handling moral aspects of several common clinical concerns.
Purpose: The author's purpose in writing this book is to "offer a more adequate framework for discussing and approaching moral issues arising in treatment." As these issues are rarely discussed in clinical settings during training, the author's attempt to address them is quite relevant to clinical practice.
Audience: Those treating patients in therapy are the most appropriate audience for this book, whether social worker, master's level therapist, psychologist, or psychiatrist. Clinicians early in their career may find discussion of these issues particularly useful. However, seasoned practitioners may also find these topics relevant.
Features: Divided into eight chapters, this book highlights clinical areas frequently riddled with practitioners' moral questions. For example, one chapter focuses on "Shaping the Direction of Treatment," an area ripe with uncertainty among inexperienced therapists. Algorithms detail approaches to these problems, mainly using as a foundation the therapeutic relationship and goals of the parties involved. Readers may find the numerous clinical vignettes particularly useful as they address challenging issues in therapy. These vignettes often remind practicing therapists of their own caseloads, or cause clinicians to consider unexplored issues.
Assessment: This book presents complex clinical questions in a digestible manner. It also causes the reader to contemplate their own clinical practice and therapeutic approach to comp1icated topics. Yet, the reader purchasing this book will be disappointed if expecting answers to these moral dilemmas. While the issues discussed are thought provoking, the algorithms suggested for reaching solutions to these problems are somewhat simplistic, and oftentimes employ general common sense. However, this book addresses many difficult and challenging clinical questions frequently ignored in the training of therapists and is a va1uable read for those conducting any type of therapy.

3 Stars from Doody
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781585620838
  • Publisher: American Psychiatric Publishing, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 1/28/2004
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 144
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.25 (d)

Meet the Author

John R. Peteet, M.D., is Associate Professor of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, Brigham and Women's Hospital, and Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston, Massachusetts.

American Psychiatric Publishing

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Table of Contents

Introduction. Beyond neutrality: moral functioning as a basis for therapeutic influence. Shaping the direction of treatment. Caring for patients. Moral dilemmas. Unfair pain. Guilt, shame, and moral failure. Moral growth and transformation. From fragmentation to integration. Index.

American Psychiatric Publishing

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