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Who we Are

The Society for the Ethical Practice of Psychotherapy is a politically and culturally welcoming group of psychotherapy practitioners, educators and students invested in ensuring the welfare of psychotherapy patients.

We view psychotherapy as a field that supersedes in importance any political or social agenda, and choose to practice psychotherapy without regard to our own political or ideological beliefs and encourage a culture of therapists doing the same.

We believe that the inclusion of psychotherapists’ political/ideological ideals in psychotherapy puts psychotherapy patients at risk for being coerced into accepting political/ideological beliefs that they would, under other circumstances, reject.

We recognize that politically/ideologically informed psychotherapy could, by putting an agenda first, promote habits of mind that may contravene basic principles of mental health, and may thus lead to negative outcomes for psychotherapy patients.

Our mission is to provide psychotherapy patients, and those seeking to enter psychotherapy, with the agency to make an informed choice about the inclusion of political/ideological ideals into their psychotherapy, and ensure that the field is open to practitioners with a broad array of political leanings which will be checked at the door when practicing.

Our Commitments

Members of the Society for the Ethical Practice of Psychotherapy make these promises to the patients they serve. Counselor educators agree to promote these principles in their roles as instructors and supervisors.

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Psychotherapists treat psychotherapy patients with empathy and unconditional positive regard. Psychotherapists do not attribute negative or stereotypical qualities to psychotherapy patients’ race, ethnicity, creed, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, occupation, or religious or political identity.

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In conducting psychotherapy, or making psychological assessments, psychotherapists treat psychotherapy patients as individuals. As such, psychotherapists do not make assumptions about individuals’ situations based on their race, ethnicity, creed, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, occupation, religious or political affiliations. Moreover, psychotherapists do not make judgments about individuals’ situations relative to the situations of other individuals from whom they may differ in terms of race, ethnicity, creed, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, occupation, religious or political identity.

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Psychotherapists recognize the dehumanizing effect that discriminatory behavior has on psychotherapy patients. Psychotherapists are prepared to professionally assist and advocate for individuals who have been the targets of discrimination. Anyone can be a target of discrimination, regardless of their perceived social position.

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Psychotherapists realize the inherent power differential that exists in the practitioner-patient relationship. In recognizing this, psychotherapists understand that psychotherapy patients are vulnerable to exploitation, including political and ideological exploitation. As such, under no circumstances do psychotherapists ever exploit their patients. Moreover, psychotherapists never impose their beliefs, values, behaviors, creeds, ideologies or politics onto their patients.

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Psychotherapists communicate with patients and colleagues clearly. They do not utilize jargon or buzzwords in their communications without having already established that the patient understands them the same way they do. When important words have more than one meaning, psychotherapists are clear about how they are using the words in question. Psychotherapists do not use sophistry, or other forms of fallacious reasoning, in an attempt to persuade.

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Psychotherapists realize that ideological trends sometimes influence prescribed practices within the field, but that while ideological trends are short-lived, the field of psychotherapy continues to develop over a much longer time span. Psychotherapists continually work to separate ideology from science. When utilizing new approaches within the field, psychotherapists keep their patients fully informed as to possible tradeoffs and possible consequences of therapeutic endeavors. Psychotherapists keep their patients informed about the limitations of, and contradictions in, research findings pertaining to concepts utilized in psychotherapeutic endeavors. Psychotherapists rely on the scientific process, not ideological conviction, in determining the merit of therapeutic interventions.

What we Do

The Society for the Ethical Practice of Psychotherapy has two aims: building community, and creating quality continuing education materials. 

We believe that the vast majority of the people in the psychotherapy and counseling professions, be that practitioners, students, and even patients, agree with us that positive outcomes for individual patients are far more important than any social or political agenda. 

To that end, we are planning to create high-quality continuing education materials that practitioners may find to be a “breath of fresh air” in our current cultural climate.

We are currently working on our first continuing education unit.  Please donate to help us fund it, and sign up for our mailing list to hear from us when it’s ready!

How it works

Membership in the Society for the Ethical Practice of Psychotherapy is entirely voluntary, and free of charge. 

If you choose to join us, we simply ask that you agree to make the aforementioned commitments to your psychotherapy patients, present or future, and that you put the ethical practice of psychotherapy above any social, political or cultural leanings or agenda that you have, or that you feel pressured to support.  If you can do that, you belong.

We will put you on our member list, which for the time being will not be public. If we make a public list later, your name will not be published without your consent. We may send you emails later.

We will give you a few SEPP logos so you can declare your membership to our Society wherever you see fit. 

We thank you deeply for your interest, and we hope you’ll join us in our effort to keep psychotherapy ethical.

Leadership

Dr. Aaron Kindsvatter, Ph.D.

Aaron Kindsvatter, Ph.D., was formerly a tenured faculty member of counselor education in New England. During his time in higher education, he noted with concern the growing movement within counselor education to politicize counselor training and psychotherapy. In response to this movement he co-founded the Society for Ethical Practices in Psychotherapy. He sits on the Executive Board of the International Association of Psychology and Counseling. Kindsvatter lives and practices in Burlington, Vermont.

David King

David King is an IT professional and civil liberties advocate with a passion for protecting the integrity of our institutions. Serving as the Director of IT at the Foundation Against Intolerance & Racism and as the Technology Administrator for the Institute for Liberal Values, he believes firmly that institutions, including counseling and psychotherapy, must adhere to their overarching goals and principles, not be co-opted by the social movements and political agendas of the day. David lives in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

The Society for the Ethical Practice of Psychotherapy is a fiscally sponsored program of the Institute for Liberal Values.