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Duff R. Waring argues that, in some instances, psychotherapy should be viewed as healing (or alleviating) mental disorders and also as cultivating good character in patients (Waring 2012). In these instances, psychotherapists should understand their patients as having character faults that are manifested as mental disorders, as having nascent virtues they can build on during therapy, and as moving toward goals that can be specified in terms of both improved mental health and greater moral virtue. Waring’s discussion is deeply illuminating, but it suffers from a major difficulty: the failure to take adequate account of the differences between the perspectives of third-party observers of therapy and of psychotherapists as participants in therapy.


This article was originally published in Philosophy, Psychiatry, & Psychology, volume 19, issue 1, in 2012. DOI: 10.1353/ppp.2012.0013

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Johns Hopkins University Press



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