From Good Person to Ethical Professional

Mitch Handelsman on the Effectiveness of Ethics Acculturation

With very few exceptions (hopefully), therapists tend to be good, nice people; we got into this line of work because we wanted to help others, after all. But there’s a big difference between being a generally nice person with good intentions and an ethical professional. So how do we bridge that gap?

According to Mitch Handelsman—coauthor of Ethics for Psychotherapists and Counselors—proper ethics training for therapists should feel like adapting to a new culture. While it’s easy to study a list of unethical behaviors to avoid, those rules may seem to have little relevance to the therapy work you’re hoping to do; ethics acculturation is what’s needed to become a truly ethical therapist.

Watch the clip to hear him talk about what ethics acculturation is and why it’s more effective than memorizing a list of bad professional behaviors.

Watch the video on YouTube.



Rich Simon

Richard Simon, PhD, founded Psychotherapy Networker and served as the editor for more than 40 years. He received every major magazine industry honor, including the National Magazine Award. Rich passed away November 2020, and we honor his memory and contributions to the field every day.