Dual Relationships and Psychotherapy

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

APPENDIX A
Summary of Key Points
Nonsexual Dual Relationships in
Psychotherapy and Counseling
1. Ethical guidelines of all major psychotherapists’ professional associations [e.g., the American Psychological Association (APA), the National Association of Social Workers (NASW), the American Counseling Association (ACA), the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapists (AAMFT), the Canadian Psychological Association (CPA), and the California Association for Marriage and Family Therapists (CAMFT)] do not mandate a blanket avoidance of all dual relationships, but they all prohibit exploitation and harm of clients. All decree that:
Sexual dual relationships with ongoing or current clients are always unethical.
Nonsexual dual relationships are not always avoidable.
Nonsexual dual relationships are not always unethical.
Therapists must avoid only dual relationships that might impair their judgment and objectivity, interfere with performing therapy effectively, or harm, exploit, or undermine their patients.
2. Nonsexual dual relationships do not necessarily lead to exploitation, sex, or harm.
3. The “slippery slope” argument, which asserts that the crossing of small insignificant boundaries inevitably leads to sex and ex-

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