Dual Relationships and Psychotherapy

By Arnold A. Lazarus; Ofer Zur | Go to book overview
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How Do You Like These

Arnold A. Lazarus, PhD, ABPP

Tt may appear unseemly to cast a critical light on a facet of the Association that is granting me a significant award. But what better forum to expound on ideas about which I feel strongly, and to an audience that might give due credence to my observations? Elsewhere (Lazarus, 1994a, 1994b) I have emphasized my displeasure with and concerns about several ethical proscriptions, but in this talk, I will limit my criticisms mainly to the subject of dual relationships. The American Psychological Association first addressed the issue of prohibiting dual relations in 1958 (APA, 1958) and subsequently proscribed multiplerole relationships (APA, 1992). I will argue that these generalized interdictions are regrettable and may undermine clinical effectiveness. At the outset, it must be emphasized that what would be considered a dual relationship or another boundary crossing in psychoanalytic therapy may be an integral part of behavior therapy. For example, in the latter approach, dining with a client in a restaurant as a means of countering a fear of public scrutiny is (forgive the pun) standard fare.

The primary intent behind ethical principles and boundary regulations is to ensure that the welfare of clients will not be jeopardized and to provide them with protection from exploitation, discrimination, and

Reprinted by permission. Lazarus, A. A. (1998). How do you like these boundaries? The Clinical
Psychologist, 51
, 22–25.


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