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Choosing Up Sides

Choosing Up Sides

(p.122) Chapter Twelve Choosing Up Sides
Moral Stealth
University of Chicago Press

In answering a question about his personal struggle with moral issues, one analyst with a wide range of experience said that his entire life of practice had had to do with moral quandaries of one form or another. The same question put to another psychoanalyst of equal seniority and sincerity was answered with the somewhat casual comment that such issues were not of much moment at all. How could this be, that two analysts had such disparate ideas about their life's work? One possibility was that the question was vague; it could be that moral issues and dilemmas and quandaries simply meant different things to different people. This chapter examines the personal moral dilemmas faced by analysts in dealing with patients. It also considers moral blindness, the inability to see both sides of an issue, no matter how abhorrently one may feel about what one is asked to experience; the therapist's disavowal of the segment of his personality that is similar to that of the patient's; and the virtue of honesty in psychoanalysts and psychotherapists.

Keywords:   moral dilemmas, moral blindness, disavowal, honesty, psychoanalysts, psychotherapists, personality, patients

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