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That argument started with David Hume and he further argued that people who say that instrumental reasoning can reach a conclusion on ultimate goals are wrong. Surname 2 Foot argues that moral judgments are not part of the categorical imperative, and she, therefore, does not see in conclusion as to why most people believe that people have inbuilt commands to obey rules.

Therefore following rules comes internally without the need for rationality, one can also just ignore a rule without the fear of having any consequence. Foot argues that moral judgments are not part of the categorical imperative, and she, therefore, does not see in conclusion as to why most people believe that people have inbuilt commands to obey rules. Foot argues that, contrary to commonly-held belief, moral judgments are not categorical imperatives, but rather are hypothetical imperatives like other judgments.

Foot thinks this because she can see no basis for the claim that we always have a reason to obey moral rules.

But if we do not always have a reason to obey, then it can be rational to ignore moral rules, and thus moral judgments cannot be categorical Foot Want to read all 7 pages? You've reached the end of your free preview. Share this link with a friend: Copied! Same issues are approached in the philosophical counseling practice, but no systematic research has been done yet in the field.

Future research and investigation is needed in order to assess the importance of moral dilemmas and existential issues in both practices. The main topics of this paper refer to the moral dilemmas and existential issues encountered both in psychotherapy and philosophical counseling. Moral dilemmas may vary from personal dilemmas linked to moral relativism, dilemmas related to academic performance, drugs and alcohol, up to a wide range of business ethical dilemmas.

Existential issues cover topics such as: scope or meaning of life, professional identity, fear of death, solitude and loneliness, freedom of choice and liberty. Existentialist themes may be approached as well in existential psychotherapy and in philosophical counseling sessions, following different traditions or school of thoughts. Psychotherapy practice in general gives rise to a lot of ethical and moral dilemmas and also deals with a large sum of existential issues. The same happens in the philosophical counseling practice.

Moral Dilemmas and Inescapable Moral Wrongdoing | Practical Ethics

In this paper, I argue that both the mental health dimension and the moral dimension can be brought into the same integrative model of counseling, starting from the limitations of both fields. The paper also aims to theorize some of the main ethical dilemmas encountered both in psychotherapy and philosophical counseling practices, especially the dilemmas raised by the clients or counselees, which sometimes can be noticed in the first session of the evaluation. The selection process of clients or counselees is also discussed, since it is crucial for the success of both therapeutic and counseling approaches.

Psychotherapy and philosophical counseling as distinct domains have been developing in parallel for a few decades. Even though philosophical counseling is much newer than psychological counseling or psychotherapy in the helping professions field, philosophical counselors, especially those who have mental health training such as Tim LeBon, Eliott D. Cohen, Mike W. Martin, John Mills and are also trained in psychology except from philosophy, value also the methods of psychotherapy, mainly those used in cognitive behavior psychotherapy, rational emotive behavior therapy and existential psychotherapy.

The methodological impact of psychoanalysis on philosophical counseling is rather limited. However, existential psychotherapy as a theoretical frame reminds us that philosophy, in this case existentialism does not only mean any kind of reflection, discussion or lecturing, but it is also a way of life and an existential attitude. Hadot, Schuster, Not only the theoretical proximity of the two domains, with psychology initially evolving from philosophy, makes us consider their synergistic approach, but also the methods and techniques used in both types of practices psychotherapy and philosophical counseling are very similar, with a focus on the methods used in cognitive behavior psychotherapy CBT and rational emotive behavior therapy REBT.

De Haas, Tim LeBon, an UK cognitive behavior psychotherapist and philosopher, believes certain therapies, even evidence-based ones such as cognitive behavioral therapy , don't go far enough in helping their clients. For instance, if you are anxious about your relationship, a cognitive therapist would try to dispute your catastrophizing and jump to conclusions to make you feel less anxious. A philosophical counselor would do this, but would also look for existential meaning in your anxiety - perhaps you really don't want to be in the relationship and that is what your anxiety is telling you LeBon, , p.

Lydia Amir tries to delimit herself from this view, stating that. While Breggin advocates for an empathic therapy as opposed of using medication, Raabe militates for prescribing the client philosophical therapy instead of medication. Regardless of the efficacy of medication for a variety of conditions considered today as treatable only in the medical model paradigm schizophrenia and other psychoses , all practitioners and the vast majority of psychiatrists consider psychotherapy necessary at least as a support for compliance to medical treatment.

However, latest meta-analyses Fournier et al. This paper investigates the attitudes of philosophical counselors and psychotherapists in private practice towards various factors concerning the selection of clients. Psychotherapists and counselors are influenced not only by diagnostic criteria, but also by other factors relating to the client.

The most important selection criteria are: desire for change, motivation for therapy or counseling and evidence of psychopathology, although there is no clear consensus about the criteria overall. In both practices, philosophical counseling and psychotherapy, the selection of clients may be difficult, but it is a crucial task for the success of these processes. At first glance, the selection of clients with the possibility of referring them to a psychiatrist may be done properly only if the philosophical counselor has clinical training or has acquired diagnostic skills.

However, in order to be able to help a psychiatry patient find professional help, the Philosophical Counselor would be advised to use few clinical selection guidelines, also developed in the current paper. The psychotherapy profession is rather easily accessible worldwide, since people with all sorts of BA degrees: theology, sociology, medical school, nursing, psychology, are able to get training in psychotherapy, not always being required to hold a MA degree in psychology or psychotherapy.

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One of the aspects that may differentiate a philosophical counselor from a psychotherapist is that the philosophical counselor did not acquire in the process of training the diagnostic skills that the psychological practitioner has, which may make the process even harder. Eudaimonic well-being reflects traits concerned with personal growth, self-acceptance, purpose in life and autonomy Ryff, For a professional, it is much easier to decide if a person asking for psychotherapy or philosophical counseling should actually be referred to a psychiatrist, since the symptoms of a psychiatric disorder are usually florid and, during the interview, a trained eye could see if the person in front of the practitioner is in reality or is constructing his or her own reality.

The problem of selection could get even more complicated when a person comes to a philosophical consultation in order to ask for life advice or for help to solve a moral dilemma. If this person has also emotional disturbances or has previously been diagnosed with depression, anxiety or panic attacks, the philosophical counselor should refer this client either to a psychotherapist or to a psychiatrist.

The selection of clients is a common issue also encountered in life coaching, since this sort of overlapping is usual in the counseling professions. I would argue in this paper that there may also be a lot of clients for whom none of the theories or techniques of psychotherapy work on their particular type of problems moral or ethical dilemmas and here is where philosophical counseling or training in ethics may help.

Therefore selection, as simple as it may seem at first glance for an untrained eye, it is actually a difficult process which should be regarded with the highest concern. In my view, this responsibility is shared between the counselor psychotherapist and the counselee the client , with an emphasis on the counselor or the psychotherapist opinion, considering at least the temporary disorientation or heteronomy of the person entering the therapy or the consultation room.

In the helping professions field there is an increasing need to establish a set of guidelines in order to determine which method should be applied in a specific clinical situation. Moreover, we may consider the opportunity of using an ethical decision making strategy in this process. In this paper I will address the issue of developing a set of criteria when a new client enters the consultation room of a counseling professional, that would help the professional make a correct and informed decision, either keeping the client in his practice or referring him to another practitioner.

What is the reason of approaching a particular professional a psychiatrist, a psychotherapist or a philosophical counselor?

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The interview would be more successful in addressing the client issues if it followed some selection guidelines that are highlighted below. A psychiatric diagnosis of psychosis on Axis I ii schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, etc. Even though not been previously diagnosed with a psychiatric condition, the client currently has suicidal ideation or suicidal thoughts.

There is evidence of drug addiction or substance abuse, even though the client is undergoing treatment;.

Moral Dilemmas

The client suffers from other debilitating symptoms not mentioned above that prevent him or her to function normally and also desires fast symptom relief. Existence of symptomatology such as hypochondriac complaints, anxiety, phobia, conversive symptoms, somatization, depressive symptoms, that client desires to treat without medication, only via psychological methods;. There is suspicion of a personality disorder antisocial, borderline, dependent, etc.

Even though not previously diagnosed with a psychiatric condition, the scores at BDI-II indicate a mild or moderate depression lower than 30 ; severe depression with suicidal ideation is considered a psychiatric emergency;. Even though the client is currently seen by a psychiatrist for depression or other psychiatric condition, he or she can still receive psychotherapy in order to prevent relapse and learn new coping skills.

The 10 biggest moral dilemmas in science

The client would like to have a specialist teach him how to develop skills in order to address issues such as lack of assertiveness, procrastination, self-esteem, how to cope with frustration, with difficult social situations, the type of non-clinical issues that can be addressed with talk therapy. The client does not suffer from a psychiatric condition and he is not currently prescribed psychiatric medication;. In the particular case the patient had a previous psychiatric condition that is in full remission e.

The client wants to explore the meaning of his or her life, to explore existential issues, to develop his or her ability to understand personal problems, to solve conflicts or moral dilemmas;. The client needs to develop critical thinking abilities in practical or theoretical contexts, to identify and eliminate cognitive distortions, argumentation errors and prejudice;.

The client wants to refine his world view, his set of beliefs that guide his daily actions and determine his choices or life options. The above criteria are drawn largely from the definitions of the three intertwined and frequently overlapping fields of the helping professions. However, perfect and accurate delimitation cannot be made since there will always be an overlapping area between psychiatry and psychotherapy at least in mild and moderate depression and anxiety and another overlapping between psychotherapy and philosophical counseling at least in the existential issues and moral conflicts area , but we can strive for more and more accuracy in the future and hopefully this is the first attempt that will encourage other researchers to study the client selection topic.

The client, a 27 years old man working in a corporate environment in a support role, comes into the therapy room with a set of complaints in the existential domain that would make him a good client for therapy, but also for philosophical counseling. His problems are: a not so fulfilling relationship with his partner who has been for years involved in another relationship that she does not want to quit and a corporate job that does not fulfill him neither creatively nor intellectually, only financially.

There is no indication on Axis II diagnostic and the client had a very happy and protected childhood, no suspicion of infantile trauma whatsoever. Since the client has not been previously diagnosed with a psychiatric condition and the BDI — II and BAI scores did indicate subclinical depression and anxiety scores, I have not referred the client to a psychiatrist, following his wish that he does not want to use psychiatric medication in order to improve his life.


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The therapy relied largely on investigating ways in which the client could change his romantic life and also his professional life for the better. The first objective, to improve his personal life, has started with the exploration of reasons for which he still remained in the unfulfilling relationship. No need to refer the client to a psychiatrist. Ethical dilemmas raised by clients or counselees are the type of dilemmas that can have a huge or a limited impact on their lives, but nevertheless there is not a single psychotherapy client who does not have some sort of moral dilemma unsolved.

There is no guarantee that a philosophical counselor could better solve a moral dilemma than a psychologist with ethical training, but there are reasons to believe that a specialist in ethics is much more equipped at least theoretically to deal with all sorts of situations that may occur in practice that require specialization in ethics. Many times, in psychotherapy practice, people come with difficult situations that cause them a great deal of anxiety.