Arnold A. Lazarus, PhD, ABPP, and Ofer Zur, PhD
Adual relationship in psychotherapy refers to virtually any association outside the “boundaries” of the standard client-therapist relationship—for example, lunching, socializing, bartering, errand-running, or mutual business transactions (other than the fee-for-service). None of the codes of ethics of any major professional association states that nonsexual dual relationships are unethical. Nevertheless, many counselors and clinicians staunchly avoid entering into what have come to be called “multiple relationships,” and lecturers who conduct riskmanagement seminars warn that therapists open themselves up to potentially serious negative consequences if they cross the threshold of professionalism into something less formal. Sexual activities are obviously and appropriately forbidden. It is also regarded as unethical to enter into a dual relationship that involves a conflict of interest, such as teachers or professors serving as therapists to students who will be graded by them, or employers entering into formal psychotherapeutic relationships with their employees. But the absolute ban on “dual relationships” so prevalent in most circles draws no distinction between “boundary violations” that can harm a client, and “boundary crossings” that produce no harm and often prove extremely helpful. Not all boundary crossings are dual relationships. It is important to note that some boundary crossings, such as hugging a grieving mother, flying with a client who suffers from a fear of flying, making home visits to a disabled client, or having lunch with an anorexic, do not necessarily constitute
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Publication information: Book title: Dual Relationships and Psychotherapy. Contributors: Arnold A. Lazarus - Editor, Ofer Zur - Editor. Publisher: Springer. Place of publication: New York. Publication year: 2002. Page number: xxvii.
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