There are many difficult ethical decisions professionals in the field of psychology especially when in a therapist and or counseling position without crossing boundaries while avoiding dual relationships from forming. For example, a close friend of yours 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. Pope asks "What would each person consider the most ethical response?"The first problem given this scenario, there is already a dual relationship that is beginning because the therapist is a "close" friend of the client's mother. In this way you can try to compensate for some of the distortion that may occur from seeing things only from your own perspective" (Pope & Vasquez, 2007). Everyone has their own personal beliefs regarding professional ethics and boundaries they draw. It is very important to assess each situation differently especially when in the field of psychology regarding patient's confidentiality as well as following ethical codes as well as incorporating your personal ethics to ensure the most beneficial treatment.
Dual Relationships and Boundaries
When making ethical decisions the 14 standards should be reviewed and applied to the given situation before making any final decision. Professionalism can be difficult to maintain without breaking boundaries when faced with an ethical dilemma one is unsure of or unfamiliar with. However, there are alternatives that may be a better option regarding the case at hand. Counseling practitioners might ask themselves how they think about ethics. Although references are sometimes made to "the diversity standards" in the code of ethics, it would be a mistake to think that only the specific standards that use terms such as nondiscrimination and cultural diversity are pertinent to multicultural competence. As Remley and Herlihy stated, "With respect to cultural diversity, perhaps more than any other ethical issue, it is crucial that counselors attend to the spirit of the Code of Ethics" (Herlihy, 2006). A professional should always take one's cultural, spiritual, and religious background into consideration when making an ethical decision because one of those factors could play a major role in the decision making process in terms of how it will affect the client and possibly others. In this case, I strongly believe that this individual should see an "outsider" for many reasons despite how much of a talented therapist who concentrates on adolescents. The client's mother would have to be involved in some aspects because she is a minor which could be detrimental for treatment and due to the fact that it is very possible for the therapist and the girl's mother to converse. The Concept of Dual Relationships
Dual relationships exist when psychologist get involved with clients in any way that is beyond the role of the psychologist (Gleason, Shrout & Bolger, 2008). Such relationships might develop through socialization at a personal level with the client, accepting gifts or entering into business associations with clients. According to researcher’s ethical decision making is a process that is ongoing and has no simple answers. Psychologists need to find ways in which to advance the best interest of their clients and in order to do so need to manage their own life experiences and values with the code of ethics as they find ways in which to help their clients (Moleski & Kiselica, 2005). According to the American Psychological Association (APA, 2010) there has been major harm and exploitations as a result of dual relationships (Borys & Pope, 1989). The Ethical principles of psychologists require all psychologists to act in a manner that does not impair their professional judgment (Borys & Pope, 1989). Reamer (2001) states, in order for individuals to understand what dual relationships are they first need to...
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