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12.28.2010 Posted In: NETWORKER EXCHANGE By Jordan Magaziner
Remember when setting appropriate boundaries in psychotherapy was a no-brainer? “No” was the operative word--no gifts, no sex, no self-disclosure, no financial or social connection whatsoever outside the hermetically-sealed cloister of the consulting room. The rules were simple, direct, and unambiguous. But in today’s more informal therapy marketplace, the rules often don’t seem as clear anymore.
So what’s a therapist to do when a client anxiously offers a diamond-studded token of appreciation for all of the positive change you’ve helped him achieve? Do you accept a not-so-valuable gift--a tin of holiday cookies--from a vulnerable client to express thanks? What’s your decision when your therapeutic instincts conflict with the rulebook?
I highly recommend one article in particular--Ofer Zur’s “The Ethical Eye” is a refreshingly sane and practical discussion of how to reconcile risk management with humanistic values. You can read this article free or you can read it as part of our 3-CE Ethics Reading Course.
How does today’s culture make ethics more (or less) complicated in your practice? What resources do you consult in order to make the best possible therapeutic decisions?
Does communications technology--Skype, e-mailing, text messaging, Facebook, or even the telephone--pose any ethical issues to our therapeutic practice? Which modern ethical dilemmas would you like to hear more about--or are there any of your own that you’d be willing to share?