Counselor Ethical Boundaries and Practices
Section 1: Boundary Issues and Dual Relationships
Part A – Decision-Making Model and Counseling Examples
Anytime emotion and attraction are involved it can complicate the situation. We are emotional human being and attraction is just part of being human. It is how we deal with those boundaries and whether or not they would turn into a relationship. Anytime when dealing with a client you need to ask yourself a series of questions; is there a risk that could damage the patient? Is the dual relationship necessary or exploitative? Just like with any big decisions in our lives I believe we need to weigh the pros and cons and make an educated decision. What is the risk reward ratio and most important is it in the best interest of the client. Am I being objective in my evaluation of this matter? If I was a supervisor I would implement a questioner that myself and the counselor would go over. I would make sure to document and have the counselor sign the document stating that we have addressed the situation and they feel like there is no harm to the client. If I was the counselor and a client expressed interest in me I would inform them that I am happily married and this would be the environment for a personal relationship. If I had developed feelings for someone I would inform them that my professional relationship is crucial, but I have started to develop feelings and offer to refer them to another counselor.
Part B-Ethical Issues and Dimensions
The ACA states in section A.5.c. Sexual and/or romantic counselor–client interactions or relationships with former clients, their romantic partners, or their family members are prohibited for a period of 5 years following the last professional contact. The NAADAC does not make a time frame, but instead says” The addiction professional shall provide the client and/or guardian with accurate and complete information regarding the extent of the professional relationship. In such relationships he or she seeks to nurture and support the development of a relationship of equals rather than to take unfair advantage. It is very important that they are equals and no one is abusing their power or authority. If the client is well adjusted and living a healthy life, I don’t see the problem with a relationship. People change, careers change who knows what other factors are involved. However, I believe that with a past client where therapy has been terminated it is a much different scenario than with a current client. In my opinion if there is feelings between a client and counselor that they need to be referred to another counselor. In no way should relationship inhibit the client from success. There is time for that later, if appropriate.
Section 2: Professional Collaboration in Counseling
I think this is a critical part of counseling that doesn’t get used enough. I believe that bouncing ideas and thoughts off other colleagues and co-workers is a great tool. Why would we not get advice and ideas from other professional that might have seen the situation before. Also it covers the liability you may occur in that you did not practice outside your expertise. That you went and asked for another professional’s opinion shows that you are trying to find the best solution for the client. I see this all the time in my field. We do a great job of…