My New Year's Resolutions
By Zur Institute
- Imagine a professional practice year in which therapists focus more on ethical and clinical integrity and less on fear of licensing boards and lawsuits.
- Imagine therapists holding a true open space for differences of opinion without jumping to claim that the other side is “unethical.”
- Imagine thousands of therapists enjoying a sustainable, thriving fee-for-service managed-care-free private practice.
- Imagine members of the profession moving clients away from the “victim industry” towards true healing and empowerment.
- Imagine professionals who educate themselves about the misuse of diagnoses and pharmaceuticals and voice their opinions in a way that creates positive change, increasing clients’ safety, well-being and the prevalence of social justice.
- Imagine. . . . this could be your professional practice this year.
I, Ofer Zur, humbly propose that you consider the following New Year’s Resolutions in support of this vision.
- I resolve to work with less fear of attorneys, licensing boards and lawsuits and with more clinical and ethical integrity. I am committed to identifying the difference between rigid or fear-based risk management practices and ethical risk management that is based on client care and clinical integrity. That may mean, when ethically and clinically appropriate:
- Gracefully accepting gifts from clients with gratitude and generously giving clients gifts
- Respectfully bartering with cash-poor but art-rich artists
- Engaging in healthy and appropriate dual relationships in small and interconnected communities
- Going on a walk with a client who can benefit from an “out of office experience”
- Using touch to soothe a panicked, sad, or grief-stricken client
- Conducting therapy via chats, text, e-mail, or Virtual Realty with young tech savvy clients who request it and can benefit from it
- Making a home visit to an agoraphobic or home- bound client
- Sitting next to a client who wants to share something on his iPad
- Online Courses, Free Articles & Audio/videos
- I enthusiastically resolve to practice tolerance and appreciation of diversity by holding a true open space for differences of opinion without jumping to label the opposite side “unethical.” I will use critical thinking and contemplation before I encourage a client to file a board complaint just because the former practitioner had a different view of healing. I will engage in respectful discourse when I do not agree with someone else’s approach towards or attitudes about healing, and I will be able to say “I disagree” rather than “it is unethical.” For example:
- Texting may be more effective with some clients in some situations than a face-to-face meeting
- Telling a client “I love you” when it is clinically appropriate
- Some clients may be more open and receptive during a home visit rather than at a professional office.
- Some clients talk more easily while walking on a nearby trail rather than in the office.
- A digital immigrant older therapist may more easily form a therapeutic bond with a digital native client by not taking personal offence (and getting moralistic or huffy) if the client quickly responds to a text in session.
- Online Course, Free Articles & Audio
- I resolve to stop being part of the “Victim Industry” and focus on helping clients overcome trauma by viewing it as an opportunity to grow and become stronger, rather than stay in a victim mode in therapy for years. Many well-intentioned but misguided therapists and attorneys have been at the forefront of those who promote, via therapy and lawsuits, victimization rather than healing and responsibility.
- I resolve to use the PTSD diagnosis only when the situation meets the DSM criteria which reads: “the person has experienced, witnessed, or was confronted with an event or events that involved actual or threatened death or serious injury, or a threat to the physical integrity of self or others.” In other words, I will not use the PTSD diagnosis in situations when clients simply have hurt feelings, resentment, or anger.
- I resolve to educate myself and stand up, in protest, against psychiatrists, pediatricians and mental health professionals who diagnose one and two year olds with ADHD or Bipolar disorder and then recommend or prescribe toxic medications that are likely to result in brain damage.
- I resolve to educate myself on which parts of the DSM are in place so pharmacological companies can make more profit, and which parts can be clinically helpful.
- I resolve to educate myself about neurodiversity, the view that neurological differences are valuable and interesting rather than problems to be cured. I will not shame or pathologize people with atypical neurological makeups. One of the largest groups fighting for their neurodiversity rights at the moment is autistics. As a responsible member of the field of psychotherapy, I resolve to treat the presenting problems of my autistic clients, not treat the autism itself, which is their brain makeup. The goal of therapy for an autistic person is to be a healthy autistic person.
- I resolve to let go of the myths or delusion of the “power differential” that implies that all therapists are powerful and all clients are vulnerable, dependant and helpless. I will recognize that while therapists have some power of knowledge and information, clients can be equally or even more powerful than their therapists (especially in the ‘age of Google’ when a client can get a lot of personal information about their therapists via web searches).
- I resolve to do my best to get out of the control of managed care companies and develop my own fee-for-service private practice outside managed care, if I have not done so already. I will then be able to treat my clients according to their needs and wishes rather than carrying out treatments for profit-motivated insurance companies.
- Most importantly, I resolve to see the client in front of me as unique and special, and to utilize my clinical expertise and skills to help my clients heal, grow, live fully, and actualize their potential. I resolve to conduct a “fear-free” individualized intervention and to challenge myself, and the field in general, to question existing views in order to attain this ethical and moral standard.