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Ethics of Multiple Relationships and The Case of Pat www.SteveFranklinMSW.com.

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1 Ethics of Multiple Relationships and The Case of Pat

2 Codes of Ethics posted on PsychotherapySaintLouis YahooGroups listserv.

3 ACA Code of Ethics 2005 Revised AAMFT Code of Ethics, effective July 1, 2001 APA Ethical Principles of Psychologists and Code of Conduct 2010 Amendments Code of Ethics of the National Association of Social Workers Approved by the 1996 NASW Delegate Assembly and revised by the 2008 NASW Delegate Assembly

4 The Case of Pat Time frame: almost 9 years ago, through this year. Chris sought help after being kicked out of marriage (by Pat) for having an affair

5 The Case of Pat Chriss spouse, Pat, softened Chris wanted Pat to attend Subsequently, to start couples counseling

6 AAMFT 1.3 Marriage and family therapists are aware of their influential positions with respect to clients, and they avoid exploiting the trust and dependency of such persons. Therapists, therefore, make every effort to avoid conditions and multiple relationships with clients that could impair professional judgment or increase the risk of exploitation.

7 Such relationships include, but are not limited to, business or close personal relationships with a client or the clients immediate family. When the risk of impairment or exploitation exists due to conditions or multiple roles, therapists take appropriate precautions.

8 ACA A.5.c. Nonprofessional Interactions or Relationships (Other Than Sexual or Romantic Interactions or Relationships) Counselor–client nonprofessional relationships with clients, former clients, their romantic partners, or their family members should be avoided, except when the interaction is potentially beneficial to the client.

9 A.5.d. Potentially Beneficial Interactions.. the counselor must document in case records.. ….Examples of potentially beneficial interactions … attending a formal ceremony (e.g., a wedding/commitment ceremony or graduation); purchasing a service or product provided by a client or former client (excepting unrestricted bartering); hospital visits to an ill family member; mutual membership in a professional association, organization, or community.

10 APA 3.05 Multiple Relationships (a) A multiple relationship occurs when a psychologist is in a professional role with a person and (1) at the same time is in another role with the same person, (2) at the same time is in a relationship with a person closely associated with or related to the person with whom the psychologist has the professional relationship, or (3) promises to enter into another relationship in the future with the person or a person closely associated with or related to the person.

11 A psychologist refrains from entering into a multiple relationship if the multiple relationship could reasonably be expected to impair the psychologist's objectivity, competence, or effectiveness in performing his or her functions as a psychologist, or otherwise risks exploitation or harm to the person with whom the professional relationship exists.

12 Multiple relationships that would not reasonably be expected to cause impairment or risk exploitation or harm are not unethical. ( b) If a psychologist finds that, due to unforeseen factors, a potentially harmful multiple relationship has arisen, the psychologist takes reasonable steps to resolve it with due regard for the best interests of the affected person and maximal compliance with the Ethics Code.

13 10.02 Therapy Involving Couples or Families (a) When psychologists agree to provide services to several persons who have a relationship (such as spouses, significant others, or parents and children), they take reasonable steps to clarify at the outset (1) which of the individuals are clients/patients and (2) the relationship the psychologist will have with each person… (b) If it becomes apparent that psychologists may be called on to perform potentially conflicting roles (such as family therapist and then witness for one party in divorce proceedings), psychologists take reasonable steps to clarify and modify, or withdraw from, roles appropriately.

14 Celia B. Fisher, Ph.D.; Multiple Relationships and the New APA Ethics Ethics Code Standard 3.05 does not prohibit attendance at a clients/patients, students, employees, or employers family funeral, wedding, or graduation; the participation of a psychologists child in an athletic team coached by a client/patient; gift giving or receiving with those with whom one has a professional role; or from entering into a social relationship with a colleague as long as these relationships would not reasonably be expected to lead to role impairment, exploitation, or harm. Incidental encounters with clients/patients at religious services, school events, restaurants, health clubs, or similar places are not unethical.

15 Nonetheless, psychologists should always consider whether the particular nature of a professional relationship might lead to misperceptions regarding the encounter. If so, it may be wise to keep a record of such encounters.

16 NASW 1.06 Conflicts of Interest (c) Social workers should not engage in dual or multiple relationships with clients or former clients in which there is a risk of exploitation or potential harm to the client. In instances when dual or multiple relationships are unavoidable, social workers should take steps to protect clients and are responsible for setting clear, appropriate, and culturally sensitive boundaries. (Dual or multiple relationships occur when social workers relate to clients in more than one relationship, whether professional, social, or business. Dual or multiple relationships can occur simultaneously or consecutively.)

17 ( d) When social workers provide services to two or more people who have a relationship with each other (for example, couples, family members), social workers should clarify with all parties which individuals will be considered clients and the nature of social workers professional obligations to the various individuals who are receiving services. Social workers who anticipate a conflict of interest among the individuals receiving services or who anticipate having to perform in potentially conflicting roles (for example, when a social worker is asked to testify in a child custody dispute or divorce proceedings involving clients) should clarify their role with the parties involved and take appropriate action to minimize any conflict of interest.

18 Issues of Sexual Intimacy (Not pertinent to Case Study)

19 AAMFT 1.4 Sexual intimacy with clients is prohibited. 1.5 Sexual intimacy with former clients … is … prohibited for two years following the termination … …should not engage in sexual intimacy with former clients after the two years … Should therapists engage in sexual intimacy with former clients … burden shifts to the therapist to demonstrate that there has been no exploitation or injury

20 ACA A.5.a. Current Clients Sexual or romantic counselor–client interactions or relationships with current clients, their romantic partners, or their family members are prohibited. A.5.b. Former Clients Sexual or romantic counselor–client interactions or relationships with former clients, their romantic partners, or their family members are prohibited for a period of 5 years following the last professional contact.

21 APA Psychologists do not engage in sexual intimacies with current therapy clients/patients (or) with individuals they know to be close relatives, guardians, or significant others of current clients/patients. Psychologists do not terminate therapy to circumvent this standard Psychologists do not accept as therapy clients/patients persons with whom they have engaged in sexual intimacies (a) Psychologists do not engage in sexual intimacies with former clients/patients for at least two years after cessation or termination of therapy.

22 (b) Psychologists do not engage in sexual intimacies with former clients/patients even after a two-year interval except in the most unusual circumstances. [and] bear the burden of demonstrating that there has been no exploitation, in light of all relevant factors, including (1) the amount of time that has passed since therapy terminated; (2) the nature, duration, and intensity of the therapy; (3) the circumstances of termination; (4) the client's/patient's personal history; (5) the client's/patient's current mental status; (6) the likelihood of adverse impact on the client/patient; and (7) any statements or actions made by the therapist during the course of therapy suggesting or inviting the possibility of a posttermination sexual or romantic relationship with the client/patient.

23 NASW 1.09 Sexual Relationships (a) Social workers should under no circumstances engage in sexual activities or sexual contact with current clients, whether such contact is consensual or forced. (b) [or with] clients relatives or other individuals with whom clients maintain a close personal relationship when there is a risk of exploitation or potential harm to the client. … Social workersnot their clients, their clients relatives, or other individuals with whom the client maintains a personal relationship assume the full burden for setting clear, appropriate, and culturally sensitive boundaries.

24 (c) Social workers should not engage in sexual activities or sexual contact with former clients because of the potential for harm to the client. If social workers engage in conduct contrary to this prohibition or claim that an exception to this prohibition is warranted because of extraordinary circumstances, it is social workersnot their clients who assume the full burden of demonstrating that the former client has not been exploited, coerced, or manipulated, intentionally or unintentionally. (d) Social workers should not provide clinical services to individuals with whom they have had a prior sexual relationship. ….

25 The Case of Pat Pat and Chris reconciled. Couples counseling recurred from time to time. Pat and Chris also sought individual counseling from time to time.

26 The Case of Pat Pat works in family services field* and would occasionally refer individuals to me for counseling. [*Family Services field: Attorneys, CASAs, Counselors, Childrens Division workers, GALs, Judges, etc]

27 APA 3.07 Third-Party Requests for Services When psychologists agree to provide services to a person or entity at the request of a third party, psychologists attempt to clarify at the outset of the service the nature of the relationship with all individuals or organizations involved. This clarification includes the role of the psychologist (e.g., therapist, consultant, diagnostician, or expert witness), an identification of who is the client, the probable uses of the services provided or the information obtained, and the fact that there may be limits to confidentiality.

28 The Case of Pat In recent case: Pat is an issue discussed by counseling clients in session. Conversations between Pat and me become subjects of conversation in client sessions.

29 The Case of Pat Pat requested client notes. I declined. Client obtained order from Judge compelling me to release information. I reluctantly comply.

30 ACA A.5.e. Role Changes in the Professional Relationship When a counselor changes a role from the original or most recent contracted relationship, he or she obtains informed consent from the client … Examples of role changes include 1. changing from individual to relationship or family counseling, or vice versa; 2. changing from a nonforensic evaluative role to a therapeutic role, or vice versa; … Clients must be fully informed of any anticipated consequences (e.g., financial, legal, personal, or therapeutic)

31 Dual Relationships, Multiple Relationships, & Boundary Decisions

32 Ken Pope & Patricia Keith-Spiegel "A Practical Approach to Boundaries in Psychotherapy: Making Decisions, Bypassing Blunders, and Mending Fences" Journal of Clinical Psychology: In Session, 2008, vol. 64, #5, pages ):A Practical Approach to Boundaries in Psychotherapy: Making Decisions, Bypassing Blunders, and Mending Fences "Nonsexual boundary crossings can enrich therapy, serve the treatment plan, and strengthen the therapist-client working relationship. They can also undermine the therapy, sever the therapist-patient alliance, and cause immediate or long-term harm to the client. Choices about whether to cross a boundary confront us daily, are often subtle and complex, and can sometimes influence whether therapy progresses, stalls, or ends…

33 Ethical Decision-making and Dual Relationships Jeffrey N. Younggren, Ph.D., ABPP Is the dual relationship necessary? Is the dual relationship exploitive? Who does the dual relationship benefit? Is there a risk that the dual relationship could damage the patient? Is there a risk that the dual relationship could disrupt the therapeutic relationship? Am I being objective in my evaluation of this matter? Have I adequately documented the decision making process in the treatment records? Did the client give informed consent regarding the risks to engaging in the dual relationship?

34 Dual Relationships between Therapist & Client: A National Study of Psychologists, Psychiatrists, and Social Workers Debra S. Borys Kenneth S. Pope 4,800 psychologists, psychiatrists, and social workers were surveyed (return rate = 49%)

35 Ethical? 1=never 2rarely 3 sometimes 4 mostly 5always NS Not sure NR no response NS NR Accepting a gift worth under $ Accepting a client's invitation to a special occasion Accepting a service or product as payment for therapy Becoming friends with a client after termination Selling a product to a client Accepting a gift worth over $ Providing therapy to an employee Engaging in sexual activity with a client after termination Disclosing details of current personal stresses to a client Inviting clients to an office/clinic open house Employing a client Going out to eat with a client after a session Buying goods or services from a client Engaging in sexual activity with a client Inviting clients to a personal party or social event Providing indiv. therapy to clients relative/friend/lover Providing therapy to a current student or supervisee Allowing a client to enroll in one's class for a grade

36 1 = no clients 2 = few, 3 = some 4 = most 5 = all clients, NR = no response NR Accepted a gift worth under $ Accepted a client's invitation to a special occasion Accepted a service or product as payment for therapy Became friends with a client after termination Sold a product to a client Accepted a gift worth over $ Provided therapy to an employee Engaged in sexual activity with a client after termination Borrowed less than $5 from a client Disclosed details of current personal stresses to a client Borrowed over $20 from a client Invited clients to an office/clinic open house Employed a client Went out to eat with a client after a session Bought goods or services from a client Engaged in sexual activity with a current client Invited clients to a personal party or social event Providing indiv. therapy to clients relative/friend/lover Provided therapy to a then-current student or supervisee Allowed a client to enroll in one's class for a grade

37 Zur, O. (2011). Dual Relationships, Multiple Relationships & Boundaries In Psychotherapy, Counseling & Mental Health.

38 Types of Dual Relationships: Social Professional Treatment Professional Business Communal Institutional Forensic Supervisory Sexual. digital, online or internet ??

39 Dual relationships can be.. Voluntary-avoidable: Unavoidable: Mandated: Unexpected Dual relationships can be.. concurrent sequential Level of Involvement can be.. Low-minimal level Medium level Intense level

40 GUIDELINES FOR NON-SEXUAL DUAL RELATIONSHIPS IN PSYCHOTHERAPY Treatment plans: 1. Develop a clear treatment plan for clinical interventions which are based on the context of therapy…. 2. Intervene with your clients according to their needs … 3. Some treatment plans may necessitate dual relationships however, in other situations dual relationships should be ruled out. Make sure you know the difference. 4. If planning on entering a dual relationship you must take into consideration the welfare of the client, effectiveness of treatment, avoidance of harm and exploitation, conflict of interest, and the impairment of clinical judgment. These are the paramount and appropriate concerns.

41 5.Do not let fear of lawsuits, licensing boards or attorneys determine your treatment plans or clinical interventions. Do not let dogmatic thinking affect your critical thinking. Act with competence and integrity while minimizing risk by following these guidelines. 6.Incorporate dual relationships into your treatment plans only when they are not likely to impair your clinical judgment, or create a conflict of interest. 7.Do not enter into sexual relations with a client because it is likely to impair your judgment and nullify your clinical effectiveness. 8.Remember that treatment planning is an essential and irreplaceable part of your clinical records and your first line of defense. 9. Consult with clinical, ethical or legal experts in very complex cases and document the consultations well.

42 Prior to and during therapy which includes dual relationships: 10. Study the clinical, ethical, legal and spiritual complexities and potential ramifications of entering into dual relationships. 11.Attend to and be aware of your own needs through personal therapy, consultations with colleagues, supervision or self-analysis. Awareness of your own conscious and unconscious needs and biases helps avoid cluttering the dual relationship. 12.Before entering into complex dual relationships, consult with well-informed and non- dogmatic peers, consultants, and supervisors. 13.When you consult with attorneys, ethics experts and other non-clinical consultants make sure that you use the information to educate and inform yourself rather than as clinical guidelines. Separate knowledge of law and ethics from care, integrity, decency and above all effectiveness. Remember you are paid to help and heal, not to protect yourself. 14. Discuss with your clients the complexity, richness, potential benefits, drawbacks and likely risks that may arise due to dual relationships. 15.Make sure that your office policies include the risks and benefits of dual relationships and that they are fully explained, read and signed by your clients before you implement them. Make sure your clinical records document clearly all consultations, substantiations of your conclusion, potential risks and benefits of intervention, theoretical and empirical support of your conclusion, when available, and the discussion of these issues with your client.

43 Clinical integrity and effectiveness: 16. Remember you are setting an example. Model civility, integrity, emotionality, humanity, courage, and, when appropriate, duality. 17. As a role model, telling your own stories can be an important part of therapy. Make sure that the stories are told in order to help the client and not to satisfy your own needs. 18. Remember that you are being paid to provide help. At the heart of all ethical guidelines is the mandate that you act on your clients' behalf and avoid harm. That means you must do what is helpful, including dual relationships when appropriate. 19. Answer clients' basic and legitimate questions about your values and beliefs, including your thoughts on dual relationships. 20. Continue to keep excellent written records throughout treatment. Keep records of all your clinical interventions, including dual relationships, additional consultations and your own and your clients' assessment of treatment and its progress. 21. Evaluate and update your approach, attitudes, treatment plans and above all effectiveness regularly.

44 If you find yourself in a dual relationship which either is not benefiting the client or is causing distress and harm, or has unexpectedly brought about conflict of interest, consult and, if necessary, stop or ease out of the dual relationship in a way that preserves the client's welfare in the best possible way.


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