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Values and Biases in Therapy, Importance of

In the history of the field of psychotherapy, a great deal has been written about the importance of striving to reduce or eliminate therapists’ personal biases (their existing opinions or prejudices) in their work with patients. This entry sets a historical context, discusses the impact of values and biases in therapy, and considers their relevance in training and supervising novice therapists.

Historical Views

Freudian psychoanalysts were admonished not to allow their own unresolved psychological conflicts to interfere with the pure analysis of a patient. To prevent this phenomenon, known as countertransference, psychoanalysts were mandated to complete their own course of analysis. In the domain of humanistic psychotherapy, therapists following the teachings of Carl Rogers were instructed to give their patients unconditional positive regard. No matter what the ...

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