What does benevolence mean to you? If counselors take an Oath of Benevolence, what does that look like specifically in terms of behaviors, attitudes, moral judgments, facial expressions, acceptance, validation, quality of investment or services, biases etc.? Provide rationale and examples. What does the research say about the specific role of benevolence in treating individuals


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Benevolence is defined in our text as the experience of sharing, helping, and acting generously toward others; That is what benevolence means to me, being kind. In terms of psychology, it has a deeper meaning. It is a part of the essential therapeutic values described by Strupp (1980).

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Robert Rocco Cottone, P. L., & Vilia M. Tarvydas, P. C. (2016). Ethics and Decision Making in Counseling and Psychotherapy: Vol. Fourth edition. Springer Publishing Company.


Benevolence in counseling refers to the counselor’s commitment to promoting the client’s well-being, helping them to grow and develop, and providing them with a safe and supportive environment. When counselors take an Oath of Benevolence, they are committing to treating their clients with kindness, empathy, and compassion. This commitment involves several specific behaviors and attitudes that are essential to building a positive therapeutic relationship, including:

Acceptance and validation: Counselors who take an Oath of Benevolence strive to create a non-judgmental space where clients can feel accepted and validated. This involves listening to clients without prejudice, accepting their feelings and experiences, and acknowledging their strengths and resilience.

Quality of services: Counselors who take an Oath of Benevolence are committed to providing high-quality services that are tailored to their clients’ needs. This involves developing treatment plans that are evidence-based, culturally sensitive, and client-centered.

Facial expressions: Counselors who take an Oath of Benevolence are mindful of their facial expressions, as these can communicate warmth, empathy, and care. They strive to maintain eye contact, smile, and use other nonverbal cues that signal their attentiveness and interest.

Biases: Counselors who take an Oath of Benevolence are aware of their biases and work to minimize their impact on the therapeutic relationship. They engage in ongoing self-reflection, seek feedback from clients, and attend to power imbalances that may arise due to differences in culture, race, gender, or other factors.

Research has shown that benevolence plays a crucial role in promoting positive therapeutic outcomes. Clients who perceive their counselors as kind, compassionate, and empathetic are more likely to report satisfaction with their treatment and to experience improvements in their mental health symptoms (Norcross & Lambert, 2011). Moreover, clients who feel accepted and validated by their counselors are more likely to form a strong therapeutic alliance, which has been identified as one of the most significant predictors of treatment success (Horvath & Bedi, 2002).

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