A Concept Whose Time Never Should Have
Bruce W. Ebert, PhD, JD, ABPP
In 1977 the American Psychological Association (APA) created a prohibition against dual relationships that were exploitative (APA, 1977). The designation of dual relationships as an ethical problem first appeared in Principle eight (8) of the Ethical Standards of Psychologists in the category called Client Relationships (APA, 1958). Later (APA, 1977) the prohibition against entering dual relationships by a psychologist appeared in Principle six (6), called the Welfare of the Consumer. The exact same language of the 1977 Ethics Code appeared in the 1979 revision of the APA Code (APA, 1979). The primary reason to label exploitative dual relationships as unethical, in my opinion, was to attempt to prevent therapists from engaging in sexual relations with their clients. Initially the term was introduced to attempt to prohibit psychologists from providing clinical services to friends, family members, associates, and others such that the client’s welfare may be jeopard
Reprinted by permission. Ebert, B. W. (1997). Dual relationship prohibitions: A concept
whose time never should have come. Applied & Preventive Psychology, 6, 137–156.