Boundaries and Contracts Within Counselling

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To have good ethical practice within counselling it is important that there are boundaries and contracts in place that are agreed to and understood by both the counsellor and the client.
At the start of each new counselling session it is important that a contract is set out between the client and counsellor. The BACP states 'good practice involves clarfiying and agreeing to the rights and responsibilities of both the counsellor and the client at appropriate points in their working relationship'.
Within the contract such things as the type of counselling being offered, number of sessions, the frequency of sessions, timing of sessions, length of sessions, payment and confidentiality should be discussed and agreed to by both the counsellor and client. Boundaries mark a safe place in which to provide counselling where the client can enter and exit, but inside the boundaries the focus is always on the client. It is important that counselling remains professional all times and by having boundaries in place it helps to differeniate the client/counsellor relationship from any other the client may have. With good clear boundaries in place it will help protect the client from any kind of exploitation, within the boundaries each person should know exactly waht their role is and what they have to do within their role i.e. the counsellor is there to counsell and the client is there to be counselled. Boundaries are influenced y the law and by the BACP codes of practice and ethics.
If the boundaries are not kept to then issues could become apparent which could effect the ethical practice of counselling. Such issues include, dual relationships is a no no, the counsellor is there to counsell and the client is there to be counselled and this is the way it must remain, the counsellor must by no means make a self disclosure to the client. If the counsellor feels they have something to disclose than they must see a counsellor themselves. It is important that the counsellor

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