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Welcoming the other: actualising the humanistic ethic at the core of counselling psychology practice

Cooper, Mick (2009) Welcoming the other: actualising the humanistic ethic at the core of counselling psychology practice. Counselling Psychology Review - British Psychological Society, 24 (3/4). ISSN 0269-6975

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Abstract

This paper examines the question of how counselling psychology might move forward into the future. It argues that, for many counselling psychologists, the defining feature of our profession lies in a humanistic value-base; and that, to move forward, we need to look at how that could be more fully actualised. The paper argues that this value-base is most succinctly expressed in Levinas’s concept of ‘welcoming the Other,’ and it proposes five ways in which this ethic might be taken forward: developing our capacity to see beyond diagnoses, enhancing our responsiveness, focusing more fully on our client’s intelligibility, taking a lead in giving psychology away, and developing our evidence base. The paper concludes by suggesting that the key issue is not the survival of counselling psychology as a profession; but the survival, development and proliferation of this value-base.