Ethical Dilemmas in the Treatment of Battered Women in Individual Psychotherapy: Analysis of the Beneficence Versus Autonomy Polemic


The purpose of this article is to explore the ethical dilemmas inherent in the treatment of women currently in abusive relationships. Utilizing ethical decision-making models, the conflicting principles of beneficence and autonomy are discussed with regards to whether a therapist should encourage a client to leave an abusive relationship. Given that most ethical decision-making models stress the importance of contextual factors that are relevant to a given ethical situation, this article discusses the importance of evaluating, considering, and weighing certain factors, such as abuse severity and competency/rationality, in cases involving intimate partner violence,. Following this discussion, recommendations and implications for research and policy are delineated.

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Journal of Psychological Trauma


Taylor & Francis

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