Therapist and client relationship ethics law

Colorado Association of Psychotherapists - Code of Ethics

therapist and client relationship ethics law

Legal suits and the cost of defending licensing board complaints cause . plan, and strengthen the therapist-client working relationship. Learn about APA's ethics code, multiple relationships, confidentiality, billing and Your psychologist shouldn't also be your friend, client or sex partner. Sometimes, for instance, a law requires psychologists to disclose something, such as. Following ethical guidelines works for both the therapist and the client It is important to understand that counselors have power in the relationship, Counselors need to take social, legal and environmental factors into account when making.

This process of active listening forms the basis of talk therapy. It is common and natural that the client would feel a connection with a person focusing wholly on them, which is not the norm in life.

This often leads to wanting to know more about the counselor in other contexts.

Client Counselor Relationship Ethical Concern

Ethically a counselor should in such situations maintain appropriate boundaries, and contain the relationship within the counseling space. The counselor-client relationship is naturally skewed in terms of power. The client cannot know as much about the counselor as the counselor does about the client, opening up possibilities for manipulation and harm.

They serve to help the counselor decide when there is a safety risk to the client, and when further support may be needed. Other less obvious risks to the counselor involve basic counseling norms. Should a counselor see a client in his or her home? If a client cannot afford to pay what should they be charged? If you know of the client socially should you see them as a therapist?

These are some examples of grey areas that most counseling organizations have ethical guidelines for to protect both the counselor and the client. These guidelinesis protects the counselor from having to make the decisions on their own without support. Ideally, if professional decisions are made with the support of preexisting ethical guidelines, the counselor can fall back on support from fellow professionals when a judgment call made in the counseling room is called into question.

therapist and client relationship ethics law

Although it may be difficult, common counseling ethical guidelines also talk about how to seek support in times when the client may have an issue with the counselor. But is it a valid premise? Is it always helpful to think that way?


Before you read further, let me be absolutely clear. In no way am I supporting or encouraging any activity with a client or former client that would be exploitive.

therapist and client relationship ethics law

This includes sexual relations with clients, as well as any situation in which we exert undue influence over a client for our own benefit. And if so, what are the logical ramifications or consequences?

In small rural communities, this situation would be more acute, but the principle would be the same in big cities, too. You are interested in politics in your community and decide to run for school board.

'Til Death Do Us Part: Does a Client Ever Stop Being a Client?

You find out a former client has also announced his or her candidacy. Do you campaign against your former client, or withdraw because it would be a conflict? Our clients are often free to join many, if not most, of the organizations where we are members. Do we withdraw if they join our groups? Do we bar their membership if we can? This could include online networks, as well. You provide therapy to a child. Ten, fifteen, or more years later, that patient becomes a prominent, top in their field, attorney, surgeon, or other highly specialized professional.

'Til Death Do Us Part: Does a Client Ever Stop Being a Client? -

You discover that you need someone with those highly specialized qualifications. If the client is still a client even after all those years of no contact, is that a conflict of interest and a prohibited dual relationship?

If it is an issue of power, who is in the position of power? Is power in any relationship always static, or is it variable and subject to change based on the circumstances? Dual or Sequential Relationship When a therapist and client enter into a relationship that is outside of or in addition to the therapeutic relationship, it is generally referred to as a dual relationship.

Dual relationships are discouraged by most professional organizations. However, not all experts in the field believe that all dual relationships are necessarily harmful.

It would depend on the context. However, when a therapist and long past patient enter into a relationship separate from the therapeutic one, is that actually a dual relationship? Would it be more accurate to call it a sequential or serial relationship? Is there a difference? If one believes that our patients grow mature and sometimes surpass us in knowledge, wisdom, and power, then it is a significant difference. Of course, of all the dual or sequential relationships that are potentially possible with patients and former patients, when the issue of sex comes up, most all therapists of all disciplines react forcefully.

Having sex with a current patient or even a recently discharged patient is not only unethical—it is illegal. It is truly a betrayal of the trust the patient places in us. However, over time as in yearscan that change in some very special circumstances to allow exceptions to the rule?

If a therapist and former patient meet some 10 or 15 years after the last therapeutic session and develop a personal relationship, get married, and have children, can we say that an ethical violation or a crime has been committed? Washington State is one exception. However, assuming the former client does not file any complaint, how enforceable would such laws be? For example, what if the former therapist and patient got married, were in a committed relationship, and had children?

therapist and client relationship ethics law