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

Mick Cooper

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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.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages23
JournalCounselling Psychology Review - British Psychological Society
Issue number3/4
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2009


  • counselling
  • therapy
  • psychotherapy
  • humanistic psychology
  • ethics
  • social responsibility

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