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An Ethical Analysis of Person Centered Psychiatry

David Jousset


Dealing with Person Centered Psychiatry (PCP) allows the meta-ethical foundations for person-centered medicine to be questioned. First, we will analyze the ethics inherent to PCP, arguing that they are a necessary break with some of the risks associated with the current development of ‘mental health medicine’, and a significant shift from the major contemporary ethical theories that moves away from a subject-centered approach to caring towards an interpersonal one. Then, we will address the PCP ethics that still need to be formulated. Addressing ethical requirements that have been enriched by practice leads to problematizing the main features of PCP: the integrative approach, dialogue with patients, patient participation, humanism and personalism as philosophical foundations, and the epistemological and ethical functioning of the concept of ‘person’. The theoretical proximity and discrepancy with value-based psychiatry will also be specifically discussed. Finally, this paper argues that PCP needs to go beyond the simple reversal of an illness-centred approach to a patient-centred approach in order to achieve an interpersonal relationship approach, which is the core principle of health care as a ‘remediation’ of humanity.


Person; psychiatry; ethics; philosophy; relation; interpersonal approach; meta-ethics; cooperation; value.

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