Dual Relationships and Psychotherapy

By Arnold A. Lazarus; Ofer Zur | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 5
The Truth About the Codes
of Ethics
Dispelling the Rumors That Dual
Relationships Are Unethical

Ofer Zur, PhD

The codes of ethics of psychotherapists’ professional associations have evolved through the years to suit the increasing awareness and knowledge of the field. Like other codes during the midtwentieth century and ensuing decades, the Code of Ethics of the American Psychological Association (APA, 1953) concentrated on the general points of promoting client welfare and discouraging abuse of power by therapists. Years later, when the codes changed to provide more specific guidelines and restrictions, therapists were instructed to make every effort to avoid dual relationships (APA, 1977, 1981). In the late 1980s, the realization began to spread that dual relationships were unavoidable in some circumstances, such as living in rural areas, the military, and among constituents of definite individual communities, such as the deaf, gay, and other minorities. To reflect this fresh awareness about and acceptance of dual relationships, all major professional associations (e.g., ACA, 1996; APA, 1992; NASW, 1996) have revised their codes of ethics in recognition of the fact that dual relationships are neither always avoidable nor always unethical (Barnett & Yutrzenka, 1994; Ebert,

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