The responsible psychotherapist

Thomas A. Widiger, Leonard G. Rorer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


Contends that psychologists in general, and psychotherapists in particular, have been concerned with both ethical and legal liability. Contracts, informed consent, and participatory decision making have been recommended as requisites for an ethical psychotherapy. However, when the various types of responsibility (role, causal, capacity, and liability) are differentiated, it becomes clear that the recommendations entail an inconsistent set of assumptions. These recommendations ignore difficulties in establishing liability. It is suggested that since there may be inherent conflicts between effective psychotherapy and the ethical recommendations that have been made, future recommendations should be relative to a particular theory of psychotherapy. (97 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)503-515
Number of pages13
JournalAmerican Psychologist
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 1984


  • ethical & legal liability, psychotherapists

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Psychology


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