Free Essay

Dual Relationship

In: Philosophy and Psychology

Submitted By mieishap1
Words 1525
Pages 7
Dual Relationship
Mieisha Marshall, Alicia, Sara Cofield, and Candy Ladd
November 17, 2014
Sharlie Hazen

Introduction Making ethical decisions in the field of psychology can be very difficult especially when you are in the business of counseling. You have to worry about your client’s crossing that boundary while trying to escape a dual relationship. For instance, the scenario that was chosen by our group consist of a close friend of yours is having difficulty with her teenage daughter. She knows you are a psychologist who specialize in adolescents. She ask if you would be willing to help her daughter for a few sessions to straighten her out. You ask yourself, what should be done during this current situation. For one, the therapist and the client’s mother are friends. The client’s mother may be become too dependable on the therapist to fix the problem. In this paper, we will find the best approach for a dual relationship. Ethical issues involving dual relationships will be examined to clarify and analyze the relationship that the therapist and the client’s mom have. Therapist face many challenges in everyday life and in this paper, we will discuss challenges one may face in professional psychology.
Concept of Dual Relationship When a therapist engages in more than one relationship with a client it is then classified as a dual or multiple relationship. If a therapist assumes a secondary role with a client like that of an employer, teacher, family member, family friend, sex partner, or business associate to name a few it is also considered to be a dual relationship. Dual relationships in a therapeutic setting can possibly lead to potentially explosive situations; as well as, run a risk of crossing boundaries that are unethical in practice. Such relationships can also impair therapeutic judgment. The code of ethics discourages dual or multiple relationships if there is a potential to harm a client.

Analyze Dual Relationship Scenario The dual relationship described in this scenario is depicted by the social friendship between the therapist and the family. While it is common for friends to seek advice and consultation from each other, the situation becomes a dual relationship when one party is a practicing professional in the field. Providing sessions for the daughter in a sense interferes with the relationship of the parent and child, as well as with the therapist and peer. While there is a sense of pride in the idea that a peer would have enough trust in asking for treatment for a close family member, there is much more to consider. The child must be willing to receive treatment, and the fact that the therapist knows the family quite well may deter her from opening up. There is a high level of difficulty in accepting or declining the offer. A peer would gladly offer to help and provide suggestions, but a therapist designs and implements a treatment plan of some sort to achieve results. Peers often ask for advice as a way to justify their own choices, or to reinforce decisions they have already made. Those seeking advice from professionals are seeking direction, rather than justification. Should the therapist choose to engage in treating the daughter of a peer, then there must be a way to determine when therapy starts and stops and how long does it last. Is this person always the therapist? What if the treatment does not work? Where does the therapist draw the line between peer and professional? The situation is complicated, and places a distinct strain on all involved.
Ethical Issues of Dual Relationships It is ethically unacceptable to knowingly venture into a dual relationship with a client. This includes, but is not limited to, family, close friends, and those with whom the therapist shares social obligations. Therapists are warned against treating persons with whom they have a history. In this scenario, the therapist is a friend of the parent. This suggests that the therapist has at some point been exposed to opinions from the parent regarding the child, close personal and social interactions with the child, and (or) close social interactions with others involved in the child’s life. This scenario creates the potential for bias and pre-contemplated opinion about the child and the child’s success with (or without) treatment. Another ethical issue arises with the parent. Friends ask for advice and assistance from each other but do not always agree. Therapists possess an authority that provides power to provide life altering treatment. Should the peer disagree with the proposed treatment plan for the child there is a greater risk of failure, for both the treatment and the friendship. In addition, therapists of minors often consult with the parents regarding the child’s behavior, progress, and treatment options. The line between consulting as a professional and consulting as a peer becomes blurred, and can affect the way that treatment is delivered. In addition, providing treatment would require an assessment of the perspective of the child, not the parent. Therapists relay on information provided by the parents, but focus on the issues that the child is facing. A child is also less likely to share negative information about the family unit with friends of the family, especially those who have close contact with parents. This can present a problem in the therapist’s ability to build a solid level of trust with the child. The possibility of the therapist reporting back to the parents is likely to hinder the child’s willingness to open up. Should the child disclose negative information regarding the parents, the therapist faces an uncomfortable situation. Standard procedure in reporting can be jeopardized by the bias of friendship. People, therapists included, tend to believe that peers are good people. Should the child report abuse the therapist is likely to begin to evaluate the probability of truth based on personal interactions with the peer rather than the statement of the child. Peers often ask each other about accusations, giving the benefit of the doubt. In a professional setting the therapist does not ask the accused, but rather alerts the proper authorities should the statement warrant such action. Challenges Presented Psychologists are obligated to defend the interrogation of the case of a client crossing boundaries on a routine, day to day basis. In the scenario our team chose, as professions, we may be faced with challenges. Trying to show boundary issues, it may arouse discomposure and uncertainty. What if the therapist don’t fix the teenagers problem? There could be a possibility of loss friendship and the client’s mother may try to sue or file a complaint. The challenges the therapist face in this scenario is that she’s a close friend to the potential client’s mother. The therapist and the client’s mother already have a d dual relationship because they are already friends. It is very challenging because as therapist, we try to see things in our own way. Therapist may be faced with the abundance of the patient and how effective she would be to the client knowing that the client’s mother and therapist are friends. Another challenge a counselor may have to deal with is failure to comply too unbreakable exposedness. By the client’s mother being friends with the therapist, she may feel she can get service for free. As professions, we want our pay and the client’s mother may not think the same. She didn’t mention anything about paying the service cost, she just ask the therapist to help with her teenage daughter. Once the therapist help her friend for a while, the therapist may tell her to get another therapist, but the client’s mother refuses because she has become comfortable and trustworthy of the therapist.
In conclusion, boundaries are therapeutic sessions between the client and the therapist. There are some dual relationship when more than one person exist in the situation. The scenario that was chosen indicated that the client’s mother depended on the therapist to help her daughter because they were close friends. Dual relationships in a therapeutic setting can possibly lead to potentially explosive situations; as well as, run a risk of crossing boundaries that are unethical in practice. Therapists are warned against treating persons with whom they have a history. In this scenario, the therapist is a friend of the parent. This suggests that the therapist has at some point been exposed to opinions from the parent regarding the child, close personal and social interactions with the child, and (or) close social interactions with others involved in the child’s life. Therapist face a lot of challenges dealing with clients. If the therapist don’t fulfill the client’s needs, they may want to sue or file a complaint. For instance, if the therapist didn’t help the client’s daughter, it could cause them to lose their friendship. As professions, we have to choose or battles and hope for the best.

Kagle, J, and Giebelhausen, P. (1994). Dual relationships and professional boundaries. Social Work, 39(2), 213. Retrieved
Pope, S. K. & Vasquez, T.J. M. (2011). Ethics in Psychotherapy and Counseling: A Practice Guide, 4th ed. John Wiley & Sons Inc.

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