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Boundaries And Ethics In A Counseling Relationship

2227 words - 9 pages

Discuss the relevance of boundaries and ethics in the therapeutic relationship.

Ethics in the counselling and psychotherapy protects the client and the therapist involved in the therapeutic relationship and the therapeutic process as a whole; with the concepts that act as a guide for the therapists in provision of good practice and care for the client. The framework is built on values of counselling and psychotherapy; principles of trustworthiness, autonomy, fidelity, justice, beneficence, non-maleficence and self-respect, and provides standards of good practice and care for the practitioner (BACP, 2010). Ethical framework contributes to the development of the therapeutic relationship and process by assisting therapist’s decisions, and guides their behaviour and proceedings within their legal rights and duties. The ethical frame is structured on the boundaries of the therapeutic relationship and the therapists should be aware of their categories and be responsible for their forms. Monitoring and being aware of what goes on in and out of the room physically, emotionally and psychologically is primarily the duty of the therapist.

Personal space, regardless of the settings (clinical/private, etc), and how it is maintained can be one form of boundaries, and may play a very significant part in the development of the therapeutic relationship. P. D’Ardenne and A. Mahtani noted that “the choice of room, the furniture and décor, the location and distancing of seats”, etc will have an influence on the therapeutic relationship and process (1992:53). Every object in the room has imperative significances and requires careful and thoughtful attention on the therapist’s part. Pictures illustrating different scenes or people from around the world could feel welcoming (D’Ardenne & A. Mahtani,1992); display of family pictures is immature and, in my opinion unethical (do no harm/competence), especially if the client has/had crisis in the relationship or suffered a loss of a loved one. Time boundaries are important too as regular lateness, early arrival, missing sessions, etc can have significance for the therapeutic relationship and process. From the triads that we have had lasting 10-15 minutes I felt it was not enough time for the sessions to be therapeutic, because I felt that we were just getting onto an important part then had to abruptly to end it in order to reflect and give each other feedback, also to give a chance to practice for the other peer. Additionally, the 50 minutes session worked positively.

Physical contact with the client and self-disclosure to the client is not prohibited; however, as self-disclosure is a form of boundary that is within the therapist’s theoretical approach and the touch is client’s verbally expressed need, both have to be monitored as they could be misinterpreted by the client. If the need for touch is not verbalized by the client, therapist should not assume that that what the client needs as the whole...

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