Avoiding the road to ethical disaster: Overcoming vulnerabilities and developing resilience

Alan C. Tjeltveit, Michael C. Gottlieb

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

48 Scopus citations


Psychotherapists may, despite their best intentions, find themselves engaging in ethically problematic behaviors that could have been prevented. Drawing on recent research in moral psychology and longstanding community mental health approaches to prevention, we suggest that psychotherapists can reduce the likelihood of committing ethical infractions (and move in the direction of ethical excellence) by attending carefully to 4 general dimensions: the desire to facilitate positive (good) outcomes, the powerful opportunities given to professionals to effect change, personal values, and education. Each dimension can foster enhanced ethical behavior and personal resilience, but each can also contribute to ethical vulnerability. By recognizing and effectively addressing these dimensions, psychotherapists can reduce their vulnerabilities, enhance their resilience, reduce the risk of ethical infractions, and improve the quality of their work.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)98-110
Number of pages13
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 1 2010


  • Ethics
  • Prevention
  • Psychotherapy
  • Resilience
  • Vulnerabilities

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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