It's good to talk? Talking Cure and the ethics of on-screen psychotherapy

Blaker, L 2013, 'It's good to talk? Talking Cure and the ethics of on-screen psychotherapy' , Journal of Media Practice, 14 (3) , pp. 193-209.

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This article considers the ethical concerns facing media practitioners who make programmes which feature on-screen psychotherapy. Psychotherapy is conventionally regarded as a confidential activity involving the participation of ‘vulnerable’ people. These qualities combine to produce particular ethical dilemmas for practitioners who make programmes about psychotherapy. These dilemmas are explored through an analysis of the UK television documentary series Talking Cure, which follows a number of people through psychotherapeutic assessment at a well-known clinic. Although the series was considered by some within the television and psychotherapy communities to be ‘groundbreaking’, its critical reception exposes the ethical pitfalls facing media practitioners (and psychotherapists) who work on such programmes. In the current UK factual television landscape, particularly in light of developments within the lifestyle television genre, the participation of psychologically or emotionally vulnerable people is relatively commonplace, and the involvement of psychotherapists who deliver psychotherapeutic treatment is not unusual. This article identifies the potential risks facing media practitioners who engage in this kind of programming. While professional codes provide guidance on how to negotiate ethical dilemmas, it is the individual media practitioner who must negotiate the challenges which emerge when the rights of vulnerable programme contributors are pitched against the demands for ‘good television’.

Item Type: Article
Schools: Schools > School of Arts & Media > Arts, Media and Communication Research Centre
Journal or Publication Title: Journal of Media Practice
Publisher: Taylor & Francis
ISSN: 1468-2753
Related URLs:
Depositing User: L Blaker
Date Deposited: 04 Aug 2017 08:49
Last Modified: 27 Aug 2021 23:35

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