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Public Lecture & Oral Defense of Doctoral Dissertation: Tammera M. Cooke

November 7, 2017 @ 11:00 am - 12:30 pm PST

Audience in library listening to a woman speaking

Psychology’s Struggle To Locate A Moral Vision In A Value-Neutral Framework:


by Tammera M. Cooke

This hermeneutic research followed the tradition of examining what is often unquestioned in clinical practice as it pertains to the moral, political, and philosophical foundations that underlie the American Psychological Association’s (APA) Ethical Principles of Psychologists and Code of Conduct (2002/2010) and Standard 3.05, Multiple Relationships—it’s meanings and controversies—in order to better understand the cultural influences reflected in and the political consequences that emanate from the Ethics Code.

Data for this study were collected via semi-structured qualitative interviews with two American psychologists who lived in Washington State, experienced living and working in rural communities, and had practiced with clients from cultures other than their own. This process generated ideas about the larger picture of the social landscape in which the participants and psychotherapy in general are embedded. The interpretive method of analysis proposed by hermeneutic researchers Plager (1994), Leonard (1993) and Stigliano (1989), was used to identify key themes that arose from the data. By abstracting from the themes and case-studies, two broad conclusions emerged. First, the authors and interpreters of the APAEthics Code seem to have understated the influences of other cultures, sub-cultures, and various ethnic understandings that run counter to Western ideas about individualism and communalism, sub-cultures and ethnicity, and small town/rural life. Second, the interviews contained material that indicated the proceduralism present in mainstream psychology is an impediment to a better understanding of moral issues, relational processes, and thus ethical outcomes in the work of psychologists.

Reflections about possible areas for further research and unanswered questions about ethics education and training are also included.

Dissertation Committee Members

  • Phillip Cushman, Ph.D., Committee Chair
  • Mark Russell, Ph.D., ABPP
  • MiNa Chung-Brcak, Ph.D.


November 7, 2017
11:00 am - 12:30 pm PST

Antioch University and Otterbein University Announce Intention to Form First-of-Kind National University System.

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