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There are innumerable ethical challenges faced by psychotherapists. One such challenge arises when clients face transformative choices in their lives. That is, choices that change who they are, in the sense of their core preferences and values, and which they cannot know what they are like until they make them – say, becoming a parent, going to war, choosing a career, or getting married. The challenge: under what conditions, if any, is it permissible for psychotherapists to try to make a client make – or stop them from making – a transformative choice? Such situations arise regularly during psychotherapy and constitute a significant ethical challenge. They raise important questions about the aim of psychotherapy, the ethics of advice-giving in transformative contexts, and the nature of the therapeutic relationship as it relates to the transformative choice-making of clients.

In this talk, I argue that psychotherapists morally ought not advise their clients either to, or not to, make transformative choices. The reasons why, I argue, help highlight the importance of psychotherapists taking up a certain stance towards their work.  


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