This book explores an ethical value central to all mental health professions. Although "dignity" appears near the beginning of many codes of ethics, it has been largely unexamined in the professional literature. Potter Stewart famously declared about pornography that we can't define it but we know it when we see it. Likewise with dignity. This book addresses that gap. The book considers the role of dignity as an ethical dimension of practice: in individual psychotherapeutic and psychoanalytic work; in the therapeutic community; and in groups, organizations and nations. It outlines dignity in individual development and families, the role of dignity violations in the understanding and treatment of trauma, and how dignity and its violations can be a powerful force in conflict resolution. The book will also address dignity in relations to specific populations, with chapters on the African-American and the LGBT experiences. Listening, with the question of dignity in mind, offers a fresh non-pathologizing framework for the practitioner.
Susan S Levine