Complete comparative list of different Codes of Ethics on a variety of topics. Each quote is not only annotated, but also critiqued for its validity and usefulness, as well as how realistic and update to date it is. Most codes during the mid-twentieth century and ensuing decades i. The concerns with therapeutic boundaries came to the forefront of the field after Gestalt therapy, with Frederick Perls at the helm, became enormously popular during the sexual revolution of the s. As a result, consumer protection agencies, licensing boards, and legislators joined ethicists and psychotherapists in establishing clear restrictions with regard to therapist-client sexual dual relationships. Therapists were instructed not only to resolutely avoid sexual relationships but also to make every effort to avoid any kind of boundary crossing and dual relationship because, as the unfounded myth went, it starts them on the slippery slope towards sexual dual relationships and harm.
Ethical Considerations When a Client Crosses Sexual Boundaries
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Here's how to inoculate ourselves against negative ones. Verified by Psychology Today. Tales from the Couch. Some years ago when I was single, Eva G began psychotherapy. She was unhappy because she was repeatedly involved in ungratifying relationships with men who were at least 20 years her senior. She was quite attractive, bright, articulate, and wanted to understand her need to date older men.
Participating in multiple relationships with a client never crossed my mind. Yes, I recognized that working as a female with adolescent males with boundary issues put me in a position to potentially experience encounters and attempts of an inappropriate nature. However, the reciprocation of their feelings toward me was never in the cards. Although I was well educated on the theories, reasons, and understanding of the ethical considerations regarding intimate relationships with clients, I was unprepared to face the ethical decisions I was going to have to make when a client of mine sexually assaulted me. Sexual intimacies between mental health professionals and their clients are considered one of the most immoral acts within the profession.
Completed over a three-year period, this revision of the ethical code is the first in a decade and includes major updates in areas such as confidentiality, dual relationships, the use of technology in counseling, selecting interventions, record keeping, end-of-life issues and cultural sensitivity. All ACA members are required to abide by the ACA Code of Ethics, and 22 state licensing boards use it as the basis for adjudicating complaints of ethical violations. As a service to members, Counseling Today is publishing a monthly column focused on new or updated aspects of the ACA Code of Ethics the ethics code is also available online at www.