Psychotherapy Ethics in Twentieth-Century Literature

Item Type Book Section
Abstract Ethical issues arising in the practice of psychotherapy, such as confidentiality, boundaries in the therapeutic relationship, and informed consent, figure prominently in a range of twentieth-century literary texts that portray psychotherapy. This chapter analyzes the portrayal of these conflicts, but also stresses that they are often marginal to the overall plot structures of these narratives and that literary depictions of psychotherapy are often vague or even inaccurate concerning key characteristics of psychotherapeutic practice. Focusing on examples that either illustrate professionalism and the absence of ethical challenges in psychotherapy, or take up the ethical reservations that fueled anti-Freudianism or the anti-psychiatry movement, the chapter proposes that selected literary depictions of psychotherapy can play a key role in sensitizing therapists to the complex make-up of ethical dilemmas as well as illustrating the cultural and historical contexts of these dilemmas.
Authors Elsner, Anna
Language English
Subjects cultural studies
Date 2020
Publisher Oxford University Press
Title of Book The Oxford Handbook of Psychotherapy Ethics
Publisher DOI
Depositing User Prof. Dr. Anna Elsner
Date Deposited 08 Dec 2020 11:12
Last Modified 20 Jul 2022 17:43


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Elsner, Anna: Psychotherapy Ethics in Twentieth-Century Literature. In The Oxford Handbook of Psychotherapy Ethics. Oxford University Press, 2020,

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