Back to top

relational ethics

It is the main proposition of contextual therapy that human interaction is essentially guided by relational ethics. Ethics in this sense is not to be understood as a collection of moral values or guidelines determining what is "right" or "wrong," but rather as a search for justice and fairness in human interaction. Accordingly, the functioning of a family depends on the long-term regulation or balancing of the credit and debit accounts (ledger of merits) between family members. In this process, the assets and claims accumulating over a number of generations play an essential role (multigenerational perspective). This balancing of the books must take into consideration the point of view of each family member and the feeling that one has done something for the family for which one has a right to be compensated. The therapeutic attitude that facilitates this is multidirectionalpartiality, which also helps therapists not impose their values upon the family.

Definition extracted with permission from Simon, Fritz, et al, Family Process, Inc.: Language of Family Therapy: A Systemic Vocabulary and Source Book (Family Process Press Series)