Ethics, ontology and peace
By Tom Andersen
The editor of New Therapist has asked me to speculate on what are the key challenges facing the practice(s) of therapy in the coming century, how those challenges ought and are most likely to be met, and who the thinkers and practitioners are who (ought and) are most likely to lead us into a new century of therapy.
The additions in italics and brackets are mine, and I want at first to clarify how I understand what I am to speculate on.
I see two kinds of therapy, the first gives priority to the philosophy of ontology and the second gives priority to the philosophy of ethics. Ontology is occupied with questions like: What is it? For instance, what is a human being? Or what is the problem? One could say questions that call on explanations and understanding of something ,"out there". Ethics are carried by what connects people; that which is between us, for instance, language and conversations.
The first [ontological questions] can easily be technical as the therapist observes the other and does something to the other, for instance, solves a problem. The second [ethical considerations] tend to be collaborative, where both parts - the other and the therapist - first of all protect each other's integrity and values.