In today’s psychology profession, a therapist and even the client can cross many boundaries if immediate boundaries are not put into place during the initial visit. Some boundaries that are crossed are not a problem at first and then the problem progresses. Leonard L. Glass called these, “the gray areas of boundary crossing and violation” (429). However, there is further description, “Boundary issues mostly refer to the therapist's self-disclosure, touch, an exchange of gifts, bartering and fees, length and location of sessions and contact outside the office” (Guthiel & Gabbard). This statement by Thomas G. Gutheil, M.D. & Glen O. Gabbard, M.D explains the meaning of boundary issues that most will face in treating patients in the mental health profession. The ethical boundaries can be harmful to the client and the therapist, if clear boundaries are not established early in treatment. “Therapy can be confusing: two people converse in a private room, one in distress, the other described as a helpful expert: At least one of the two is likely to express thoughts and feelings usually kept secret” (10). This statement by Madill et al. is important because in a therapy setting, you have two people and human emotions can easily become a part of the dilemma in treatment. Misuse of ethical boundaries is prevalent in today’s practice of clinical psychology. In order to address and minimalize the damage to the client and psychologist, ethical rules are applied.
First, the therapist's self-disclosure boundary commented Ofer Zur, Ph.D., “Is a therapist's self-disclosure inevitably becomes an unhealthy social relationship.” In addition, to find out if the therapist’s self-disclosure wa...
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... Leonard L. "The Gray Areas Of Boundary Crossings And Violations." American Journal Of Psychotherapy 57.4 (2003): 429-444. PsycINFO. Web. 11 Nov. 2011.
Hanson, Jean. "Should Your Lips Be Zipped? How Therapist Self-Disclosure And Non-Disclosure Affects Clients." Counseling & Psychotherapy Research 5.2 (2005): 96-104. Academic Search Premier. Web. 12 Nov. 2011.
Lazarus, Arnold A. "How Certain Boundaries And Ethics Diminish Therapeutic Effectiveness." Ethics & Behavior 4.3 (1994): 255. Academic Search Premier. Web. 15 Nov. 2011.
Madill, Anna, et al. "Staying On The Straight And Narrow." Therapy Today 21.5 (2010): 10-14. Academic Search Premier. Web. 12 Nov. 2011.
Wessinger, Cynthia. Personal interview. 28 Sep. 2011.
Zur, O. (2004). To Cross or Not to Cross: Do boundaries in therapy protect or harm.
Psychotherapy Bulletin, 39 (3), 27-32. Web. 11 Nov. 2011.
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