The opposite of ethics is ... ethics!

If you've been raised anything like I was, the mere suggestion of supervision or ethics or right relationship will give you the urge to run! If you were brought up with a black and white kind of discipline, based on good or bad, right or wrong, punishment or reward, then the whole topic will feel like another forum for wronging, a hierarchy set up to judge, to criticise, to tell you what to do and how to do it.

To truly embrace ethics, supervision and right relationship as a system of deep and caring support, many of us will need to carefully unpick and re-weave it. 

The best way I've found for doing this is to challenge the assumed opposites. Getting it wrong in ethics assumes unethical. Ethics as a moral framework assumes any glitch as immoral. If what happens is not quite appropriate, it's inappropriate. Right relationship assumes wrong relationship. These words - unethical, inappropriate, immoral, wrong - they are all insults in our culture. People who bear those labels are really bad!

However when we can move towards an Ethics From the Heart, it becomes more of a study in human being. Ethics From the Heart is a study of the interconnectedness of everything, of the dynamics of energy, of how one thing affects another. We become deeply curious about how we as therapists and carers and friends affect those we connect with. We notice the subtle and not-so-subtle ways we are impacted by our clients and friends. We approach money and business and power with a gentle curiosity.

We become more self-aware and self compassionate when there is no good/bad, right/wrong. There's simply Is-ness.

The thing is, as therapist and practitioners, as carers and friends, we cannot avoid veering off the path of always-ethical-action, of  exactly-right-relationship. Neither can we avoid being caught by triggers, by pitfalls and distractions, by overwhelming feelings ... it's just the nature of being a human. We don't grow out of it, we don't transcend it, and nor do we develop therapist superpowers!

The journey is to let go of the judgements about that, and to turn towards ethics as a path through the wilderness. Supervision then becomes a space for curious exploration. Supervision is connection, community. It is an integral part of the process of using our challenging experiences to grow and learn. It's a gift for us and for our clients.

Join me in my efforts to drop the opposites ;)  


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I Acknowledge the muwinina people, the original owners of the land on which I live and work, and I pay my respects to the elders, past, present and emerging.