Boundaries In Relationships

910 Words4 Pages
The American Psychological Association (2010) ethics code defines a multiple relationship as “one in which a practitioner is in a professional role with a person in addition to another role with that same individual.” In the present paper, the role boundaries play in therapeutic relationships is explored, as well as boundary crossing and violations. Boundary crossings can enrich therapy, serve the treatment plan, and strengthen the therapist-client working relationship. They can also undermine the therapy, severe the therapist-patient alliance, and cause immediate or long-term harm to the client (Pope & Keith-Spiegel, 2008). It is reasoned that when clinicians engage in multiple relationships with their clients, ethical dilemmas may arise,…show more content…
18) she described the “risky business” of engaging in dual relationships with clients as a social worker. Her main focus in this article was describing concerns with crossing pre-established professional boundaries with clients and entering dual relationships. Dewane (2010, p. 18) proposed that these dual relationships have the potential to exploit the client, increase social worker’s liability, and risk hindering the therapeutic process. The social work Code of Ethics instructs, “If a dual relationship is exploitative, whether it begins before, during, or after a professional relationship, it should be avoided” (Dewane, 2010, p. 18). Dewane (2010, p.18) also specified some exploitative situations to include romantic/sexual relationships, trading goods or services instead of money, and entering into business agreements. She took it a step further by stating, “Many of us are in the social work profession because we find it rewarding; it fills an emotional need. But when our needs interfere with a client’s needs, we have violated a boundary, such as adopting a child you’ve been working with” (Dewane, 2010, p. 18). This brings up the question, what happens to the client when the relationship ends? What happens if the relationship ends badly? Dewane (2010, p.18) also maintained in her article that dual relationships are sometimes inevitable and unavoidable. She described circumstantial factors in which dual relations may be considered appropriate for some social workers; situations including when therapeutic relationship has been terminated for some time, the client’s history, vulnerability, and current mental status. The author urged clinicians to consider these questions when deciding to enter into dual relationships: How will the power difference change in the therapeutic relationship? How long will this dual relationship last? Will one relationship affect the other? Is there a risk of client
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