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Psychotherapy and Therapeutic Ethics in the Movies

Total Credits: 2.0

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Topic Areas:
Legal Considerations  |  Media |  Professional issues |  Ethics
Ofer Zur, Ph.D.
Course Levels:
Intermediate Practitioners
Two hours
Audio and Video
Never expires.

Tags: Ethics


Films allow us to see parts of ourselves reflected in characters on the screen, allowing us to see our own behaviors in a different light and possibly catch a glimpse of how others view us. In this course, Dr. Zur has attentively selected films that provide insights into what constitutes ethical practice, what is the standard of care, the difference between boundary crossings and boundary violation as well as review the topics of digital ethics and tele-mental health ethics.

Dr. Zur uses vignettes from popular movies and television shows to teach therapists about boundaries and ethical issues, and he does so in a manner that both highlights ambiguities and provides clarification. Additionally, scenes are discussed regarding how such behaviors can either make a client feel comfortable and help build a therapeutic alliance, or conversely, lead to distrust and betrayal.

Educational Objectives:

This course will teach the participant to:

  • Describe the importance of context as it applies to the standard of care and the therapeutic relationship
  • Identify the difference between boundary crossing and boundary violations
  • Identify ways in which self-disclosure can be used to enhance the therapeutic relationships and positive therapeutic outcome
  • Discuss ethical concerns arising out of use of contemporary technologies, and tele-mental health


  • Standard of Care
    • 6 components of the standard of care
    • Relationships of the standard of care & risk management
    • Importance of context
  • Boundary Crossing
    • Gifts
    • Self disclosure
    • Dual relationships
    • Out of Office Experience
    • Others
  • Boundary Violations
    • By therapists
    • By clients
  • Powerful/Dominating Clients
    • Intrusive clients
    • Powerful-Dominating clients
  • Digital Age
    • Communicating with clients by phone, e-mail, social media or texting 24/7
    • The Disinhibition Effect
    • The dangerous slippery slope from texting to sexting
    • Therapists’ transparency in the age of Google
  • Tele-Mental Health
    • Cross states’ lines
    • Separate Informed Consent
    • Handling emergencies
    • Verify client’s identity
    • Technical and security interruption & Confidentiality
    • Self-disclosure
    • What is missing in tele-mental health



Ofer Zur, Ph.D.'s Profile

Ofer Zur, Ph.D. Related seminars and products

Ofer Zur, Ph.D. is a licensed psychologist, instructor as well as forensic expert witness and ethics consultant.  He was the founder of Zur Institute, back in 2000, an online continuing education platform for mental health professionals.  He authored and co-authored 5 books, including “Boundaries in Psychotherapy” (Published by APA) and “Multiple Relationships in Psychotherapy and Counseling: Unavoidable, Common, and Mandatory Dual Relations in Therapy” and published over 100 articles on ethics and related topics.  He has been teaching in the U.S. and abroad on topics related to ethics, critical thinking, therapeutic boundaries, the psychology of victims, gender and war.  Dr. Zur is am APA Div 42 fellow and in 2021 he received authorization from the Minnesota Supreme Court to prepare an amicus brief regarding the standard of care for psychotherapy and counseling.

Please see Dr. Zur's CV for additional speaker information: