BSHS 335 Week 3 Boundary Issues

Topics: Sociology, Professional, Behavior Pages: 5 (1590 words) Published: August 17, 2015

Boundary Issues
Boundary Issues
Human service professionals are taught to understand their client’s as well as the role they play in their life professionally. The most important part of that is understanding that it is a professional relationship and should be nothing more than that. Boundaries are put in place in many different parts of a person’s life to help them understand what they are to do and where they are to avoid. This is also something that is implemented with human service professionals. They are taught boundaries for themselves and given the tools to help their clients’ understand what their boundaries are. It is done so that the clients’ can receive the best possible help there is for them. The following is going to explore different boundaries and relationships between a client and the professional, what to avoid, and the best possible solutions if a boundary is compromised. Considering who is answering the question if human service professionals should seek social relationships with their clients, the answers can vary. There are some who feel that it is possible to maintain the needed professional relationship that is necessary to effectively treat his or her client and be able to maintain a social relationship outside of the treatment realm; but there other who feel that when a human service professional attempts to acquire a social relationship with his or her client is not only impossible but also is a conflict of interest and a violation of the client/provider code of ethics (Corey, Schneider, & Callahan, 2011). The idea of social relationships in regards as a form of dual relationships within the human service professions has not been definitively categorized as immoral or moral, based on research and personal opinion, social relationships can cause more of a hindrance rather than an enhancement. Based on cultural background, according to Corey, Schneider, & Callahan, there are circumstances where dual relationships are necessary therefore being an exception to the code of ethics rule where it states that within the Asian culture “it is believed that personal matters are best discussed with a relative or a friend… self-disclosing to a stranger (the counselor) is taboo and a violation of familial cultural values” (2011). In a situation like this, the human service professional who may feel it unethical to maintain dual relationships with his or her client would have to be mindful to not come across as being insensitive and intensively go through a process of self‑examination in order to be able to adjust their thinking to be respectful of their client’s beliefs and or opinions. The decision as a human service professional to decide to enter a social relationship with their client or even not, can be a double-edged sword, regardless of what has been decided there are some things to be taken into consideration. The American Psychological Association specifies when it is appropriate to go into a dual relationship but with some considerations which are the amount of time that passed within the professional relationship; nature, duration, and intensity of the professional relationship; reasons behind termination of the professional relationship; the mental state and history of the client; and the impact it may have on the client (Dewayne, 2010). On the other side of this dilemma, because of the decision to go into dual relationships, the amount of lawsuits against human service professionals has risen because the client has started to feel exploited, and according Dewaye is the primary issue in dual relationships. With the issue of social relationships, the human service professional should always keep in mind the social work Code of Ethics which states “that if a dual relationship is exploitative, whether it begins before, during, or after a professional relationship, it should be avoided (Dewayne, 2010)” while always remaining balanced and considerate of his or her client while...

References: Corey, G., Schneider Corey, M., & Callahan, P. (2011).Issues and ethics in the helping professions (8th ed.). Belmont, CA
Dewayne, DEd, LCSW, BCD, C. J. (2010). Respecting boundaries — the don’ts of dual relationships. Social Work Today, 10(1), 18. Retrieved from
Gabbard, M.D., G. O. (2005). Patient-therapist boundary issues. Psychiatric Times, XXII(12), Retrieved from
Kohn, R. (2010, Summer). Professional Boundaries & Ethics Florida Independent Living .School of Social Work University of Central Florida, 15(3).
Reamer, F. (2001, Fall). Tangled Relationships: Managing Boundary Issues in the Human Services.Journal of Social Work Education, 37(3).
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