Dual Relationships and Boundaries Paper
Donna Lee, Rachelle Jones, and Jamie Owens
March 14, 2011
Dr. Marc Miller
Dual Relationships and Boundaries Paper
Most major professional codes of ethics have a policy or rule against dual relationships (Gottlieb, 1993). Dual relationships exist when a professional acts at the same time or sequentially in two roles (Gottlieb, 1993). Through the course of this paper, the concept of dual relationships will be examined. Ethical issues with dual relationships will be explained as well as the clarification and analyzation of a specific dual relationship. Not to mention the explanation of challenges presented by boundary issues in professional psychology. Define the Concept of Dual Relationships
Dual relationships in psychotherapy refer to any situation, which multiple roles exist between a therapist and a client. Examples are when the client is also a student, friend, family member, employee, or business associate of the therapist (Zur, 2010). According to American Psychological Association, as a psychologist, I should refrain from entering or promising another person, professional, scientific, financial, or other relationship with such persons if it appears that the relationship may impair me from effectively performing my duties as a psychologist, or may harm, or exploit the client (APA, 2010). It may not be possible or reasonable for me to avoid social or other non-work-related contacts; I must be sensitive to the potential harmful effects on the contact of his or her work and those clients with whom he or she deal (Reamer, 2001). I can engage in a dual relationship whether the second relationship begins before, during, or after the social work relationship. In any dual relationships, my influence and the client’s vulnerability carry over to the second relationship. Professionals, who enter dual relationships often, rationalize their behavior, arguing that the situation is unique and that they are serving the client’s special needs (Kagle & Giebelhausen, 1994). If I enter into a personal relationship with a client, provide services to a student or employee, or exchange goods, and services with a client violates professional boundaries, although a nonsexual dual relationships can also be potentially exploitive. Dual relationships exist when there is a combining of incompatible professional roles and behavior, to the detriment of someone to whom I owe a fiduciary duty. The client places his or her confidence in me, who should possess intelligence, knowledge, and leadership. As the fiduciary, I am competent and responsible and behave in the accordance with the standards of the profession and the best interests of the client. I have a responsibility not to misuse my power and to be honest (Kagle & Giebelhausen, 1994). Clarify and Analyze the Specific Dual Relationships in the Scenario The Scenario: A close friend is having difficulty with her teenage daughter. She knows you are a psychologist who specializes in adolescents. She asks if you would be willing to see her daughter for a few sessions to straighten her out. Analysis: A dual relationship exist “when in addition to the professional relationship, there is some other relationship with the individual: friend, family member, student, or business partner” (Gottlieb, 1993). Therefore, in this scenario the dual relationship present is between the close friend and me, the psychologist. Gottlieb (1993) asserts that there are different ethical decision making models to assist professional who fall into ethical dilemmas. Roll and Millen in 1981 developed guidelines for psychologist who must respond to request for psychotherapy from acquaintances (Gottlieb, 1993). The model that Roll and Millen developed would be a sufficient model to use for this particular scenario. Although this is a close friend of mine, there are some guidelines that I will have to follow according to Roll and Millen. The guidelines of Roll and...
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