In clinical psychology literature, the topic of ethical decisions is limited to a couple of descriptive studies, with an exception of a single local study, exploring the conflicting issues that arise despite the existence of a professional moral code. Moreover, these studies investigated only demographic factors such as age, gender, experience etc., as possible correlates of these ethical decisions, but failed to propose consistent and meaningful results. The aim of the present study was to explore the relationship between psychotherapists’ ethical decisions – emotions and personal tendencies. The deontological/utilitarian decision-making tendencies of psychotherapists in psychotherapist moral dilemmas were compared with those of undergraduate psychology students. The relationship between deontological/utilitarian decision-making tendencies and frequently used personality features in international moral psychology studies such as empathic concern, psychopathy, analytical thinking and altruistic utilitarianism was explored as well as the correlation between negative mood of the participants and deontological decision-making tendencies. Regarding both conventional and process dissociation analyses, research results revealed that there wasn’t a significant relationship between mood of the participants in both groups and their deontological/utilitarian decision- making tendencies. Psychotherapists’ deontological decision-making tendency was found to be higher than that of the students. Two groups were not differentiated on the basis of empathic concern but psychology students’ both Machiavellist and antisocial tendencies were higher those the psychotherapists. Furthermore, the results indicated that investigated personality variables were not correlated with utilitarian/deontological decision-making tendencies in general independent of the calculation method used. These results seemed to indicate that the personality features related to moral decisions in these scenarios would be different than those of the classical moral dilemmas and further research is needed to explore these personality features.
Key Words: Psychotherapist moral dilemmas, deontology, utilitarianism, process dissociation analysis