Ethics and Power: Navigating Mutuality in Therapeutic Relationships (2011) by Pam Birrell, Ph.D.

The Neurobiology of Connecting

This paper explores Relational-Cultural Theory (RCT) and the ethics of power-with, of mutuality and relational engagement. It examines how we and those with whom we work become whole and how we help others. Ethics is not a set of rules to follow, but is an attitude and a stance toward the suffering of others and toward helping them to heal. Mutual respect and mutual power, relational engagement, and the importance of uncertainty, being open to the people with whom we work are described as core ethical concerns. This paper initiates a conversation on relational-cultural ethics which can create possibilities and growth fostering relationships for all. - Abstract

Pam Birrell, Ph.D., is a Senior Instructor in the psychology department at the University of Oregon, and a psychologist in private practice. She completed the Jean Baker Miller Training Institute Practitioner Program in 2006.

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