Dual relationship in counseling ethical

Dual relationship - Wikipedia

dual relationship in counseling ethical

The recent revision of the ACA Code of Ethics significantly changes the ethical guidelines related to dual relationships. Careful review of the. Keywords: dual relationship, rural practice, ethics, psychotherapy. 1On a daily basis, mental health professionals and their clients interact in various therapy. The social work Code of Ethics stipulates that if a dual relationship is exploitative, The social worker differentiates the roles, never providing counseling to the.

When a mental health professional is confronted with a choice as to whether one should enter into a dual relationship or not, many factors need to be carefully evaluated.

dual relationship in counseling ethical

Not only can these relationships run risk for the consumer of our services, but, as is well exemplified by the earlier comment, they may have great risk for the professional as well. I will not review the vast literature on this topic area as part of this paper since many authors, much more thorough than I, have already done so and these articles are easily available. What I will try to set out in this brief article is a decision making model that a professional can use to evaluate whether he or she should consider entering into a dual relationship with a patient.

This model will not only focus on the welfare of the client but, in this world of professional risk, this model should be viewed as a risk management tool designed to also protect the welfare of the professional in this period of enhanced professional accountability When addressing dual relationships one must be aware that the evaluation of boundary violations in professional practice are often outcome driven determinations.

Usually the determination of whether or not a professional committed a violation of professional practice is arrived at retrospectively when experts or ethics committees evaluate a case. Thus, and consistent with the risk management model of the APA Insurance Trust, when one chooses to enter into a dual relationship one is forced prospectively assess how these professionals might retrospectively view a specific case, potentially years after it occurred.

So, when assessing whether or not to enter into a dual relationship, one is almost forced to predict future reactions to their conduct, something that is not at all easy to do.

dual relationship in counseling ethical

Hopefully, by answering the following questions in a step by step fashion a professional who is considering entering into a dual relationship will increase the likelihood that he or she will make the correct choice in the matter: Is the dual relationship necessary? This is a very important question for the mental health professional to answer. Therapy by itself is complex and difficult to perform without the introduction of other factors. Thus, at the outset a professional must address whether he or she even needs to enter into a dual relationship.

Simply put, unnecessary dual relationships can be fraught with unnecessary risk. As a rule, it is likely to be in the best interests of the professional, regardless of location, to avoid dual relationships if at all possible.

Respecting Boundaries — The Don’ts of Dual

However, if the dual relationship is necessary, then the professional is forced to answer the next question. Is the dual relationship exploitive? This is an easy one.

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Exploitation of patients is unethical and if the proposed dual relationship is exploitive of the patient, then it is unacceptable. If exploitation is not evident or if it can be avoided, then the professional is forced to move on and answer the next question.

dual relationship in counseling ethical

Who does the dual relationship benefit? Since it is unethical to exploit patients, just whom does the relationship benefit? This is a dilemma often faced by those who work in small communities. However, not all dual relationships are as easy to assess as this small town dilemma.

For example, what about purchasing a car from the local dealership in a small town when the owner of the dealership is your patient and when failure to do so would make people in the community wonder just why you did not buy the car locally? Benefit in this case is not as easy to assess. To purchase the car elsewhere would not only raise wonder in the community but also could impact your therapeutic alliance. The answer to this example only becomes more complex when trying to decide whether or not to negotiate the price of the vehicle with your patient?

Ethical Decision-making and Dual Relationships

So, assessing just who benefits by the decision to enter into a dual relationship is not so easy to assess. Is there a risk that the dual relationship could damage the patient? This also is not an easy question to answer and it calls for a great amount of objectivity on the part of the professional. Consistent with the principles of biomedical ethics, interventions should not harm patients, or at least an attempt must be made to minimize the risk of harm.

In that spirit, an additional relationship that is combined with therapy must be assessed for harm and its harmful effects must be controlled for and minimized. That is not to say that a professional entering into a dual relationship must completely prevent risk, but that each of us has a fiduciary obligation to be in touch with risk factors, to manage them and to minimize them. Is there a risk that the dual relationship could disrupt the therapeutic relationship? This question is one that not only requires consideration before entering into the dual relationship but also is one that must be asked throughout the treatment process.

In the spirit of minimizing risk, the therapist who chooses to enter into a dual relationship with a client, or one who is even forced into the dual relationship, must manage the relationship in such away that the therapeutic component is not damaged by the secondary relationship. In this spirit, the therapist has an obligation to discuss this factor in detail with the patient prior to entering into the dual relationship and must also keep this topic and related issues at the forefront of treatment to avoid any damage to the therapeutic alliance.

Am I being objective in my evaluation of this matter? So how should counselors deal with them?

Dual Relationship

In this lesson, we'll look at the ethics of dual relationships. Dual Relationships Gerry is a counselor in a small town. He has a problem: What should Gerry do?

Ethical Dilemmas and Dual Relationships

Is this a problem? Dual relationships in counseling occur when the counselor-client relationship overlaps with another relationship.

Dual Relationships in Counseling: Definition, Ethics & Guidelines

For example, Gerry and Jeannie are counselor and counselee. But they are also teacher and parent. They have a dual relationship.

dual relationship in counseling ethical

So, are dual relationships in counseling problematic? To understand that, let's look at the ways that a dual relationship can violate important principles and how to understand if a specific one might be an issue. Principles Gerry is worried about his dual relationship with Jeannie. How might it negatively impact their counseling relationship? There are three important principles that can be compromised with dual relationships. Protection of the therapeutic relationship.

dual relationship in counseling ethical

Can Gerry counsel Jeannie effectively, or will their ability to relate to each other as counselor and client be compromised by their dual relationship? Protection of clients from exploitation. Will the dual relationship between Gerry and Jeannie lead to Jeannie being exploited, or will she be protected by the nature of the dual relationship?

Protection of counselors from liability.