Ofer Zur

Ofer Zur

Ofer Zur is a contemporary psychologist, writer, and educator who specializes in therapeutic ethics and boundaries for mental health professionals.

Professional Life

Ofer Zur was born in Israel to a German mother, who was a psychologist, and a Hungarian father. He entered the Israeli Defense Forces in 1973 as a lieutenant, and he received his bachelor's degree in physical chemistry in 1975, from Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Zur continued studying oceanography and worked as a researcher in East Africa where he helped introduce a new diet to treat a malnourished community. Zur emigrated to the United States in 1980, and his interests shifted to psychology. He graduated with a master's degree in counseling psychology from Lesley College in Massachusetts in 1981. This shift to psychology allowed Zur to discover his own need to heal in order to come to terms with his war experiences. Zur continued his studies, completing his PhD in psychology at the Wright Institute in Berkeley, California, in 1984.

Zur worked as a rehabilitation counselor for the Santa Rita Rehabilitation Center at the Alameda County Jail between 1984 and 1987. Next, he acted as Associate Program Director and core faculty member for the graduate psychology program at the California Institute of Integral Studies in San Francisco. In 1988, Zur relocated to Sonoma, California where he established a private practice.

In 1995, Zur established the Zur Institute to provide continuing education courses for mental health professionals, as his career focus shifted to addressing the barriers and challenges that faced the field of psychotherapy. He collaborated with his colleague Arnold Lazarus, and they released the 2002 book, Dual Relationships in Psychotherapy, which was the first of its kind to challenge questionable therapeutic boundaries, address ethical reaches of therapists, and introduce the concept of taking a nonpathologizing view of the client.

Contribution to Psychology

Ofer Zur's work has focused on addressing concerns related to the therapeutic relationship and boundaries, pathologizing systems, and ethical issues in therapy. The Zur Institute's workshops and trainings focus on educating clinicians on how to enhance therapeutic effectiveness by rejecting dogmatic thinking and fear-based, risk-management responses. Instead, Zur's philosophy of treatment suggests embracing flexibility, critical thinking, and a nonpathologizing stance with clients. Zur also aims to educate the public on ethical and sound therapy practices, and his institute provides services and consultations to the public on topics ranging from Internet addiction, to learning how to evaluate options regarding mental health services.

Like his 2002 book, Dual Relationships in Psychotherapy, Zur's 2007 book, Boundaries in Psychotherapy: Ethical and Clinical Explorations, expands on the topic of therapeutic boundaries, such as a therapist's self-disclosure, gift exchange, home visits, telehealth, nonsexual touch, and the relationship outside the office.

Ofer Zur Featured on GoodTherapy.org

Dr. Zur is a featured presenter on GoodTherapy.org, sharing his knowledge in GoodTherapy.org continuing education Web Conferences for clinicians.

Books by Ofer Zur

  • Dual Relationships in Psychotherapy (2002)
  • Boundaries in Psychotherapy: Ethical and Clinical Explorations (2007)
  • The Complete Fee-for-Service Private Practice Handbook (2011)


Zur Institute. (n.d.). Biography & Autobiography: Ofer Zur, PhD. Retrieved from http://www.zurinstitute.com/bio.html

Last Update: 07-13-2015

Advanced Search
Subscribe to GoodTherapy.org's Email Newsletter

Free Student Membership

Are you a college or university student? Sign up here for a free student membership with GoodTherapy.org