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Ethical Boundaries in Balancing the Power Dynamic in the Therapeutic Relationship
5 CEUs Ethics & Boundaries: the Power Dynamic in the Therapeutic Relationship

Section 1
Track #1 - Three
Rationalizations Regarding Violation
of the Sexual Contact Boundary

Question 1 | Ethics CEU Answer Booklet | Table of Contents | Introduction
Psychologist CEs, Social Worker CEUs, Counselor CEUs, MFT CEUs

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This CD primarily deals with balancing power concerning the violation of the personal contact boundary by therapists regarding their clients. The Institute selected this topic as a result of a survey conducted of Professional Licensure Boards in several states. The Boards were asked what ethical area they would select as having the greatest priority.

We, as therapists, would like to think that mental health professionals taking sexual advantage of their clients is a problem that was left far behind in the free love era of the 70's and 80's and in the AIDS awareness of the 90's. One would certainly feel this is not something to be concerned with, especially in this lawsuit prone new millennium. Don't you hear at least one advertisement per night on television from a lawyer pleading you to sue someone about something?

Share on Facebook 3 Rationalizations for Sexual Violation
But the truth is many mental health professions rely on a number of rationalizations and assumptions that allow us to maintain certain beliefs about balancing the power in the therapeutic relationship regarding sexual contact boundary. Here are three I've found. See where you fit.
1. Are you thinking, right now, balancing therapeutic power regarding the sexual contact with clients no longer exists?
2. Do you think that the occurrence of this contact is currently greatly exaggerated?
3. Do you think that we are able to, "so to speak," police ourselves; and that clients who complain are treated with dignity and respect?
I feel beliefs that maintain the silence about abuse of patients, clients, residents, etc. perpetuate these rationalizations.

My belief is that understanding is the first step to learning. My hope is that you feel you have a real interest in learning more about this complex and emotionally laden topic. And perhaps the gem, as mentioned earlier, that you might gain from this CD set is a better understanding of the dynamic of the abuse of power by those in therapeutic roles.

Thus, the content of this CD set will be divided into two parts. The first part deals with warning signs, risk factors, and stages of recovery. The final part deals with treatment interventions.

- Stone, M. PhD. Boundary Violations between Therapist and Patient. Psychiatric Annals, 1999, 670-7.

QUESTION 1
What is one rationalization some professionals use regarding abuse of the personal contact boundary with clients? To select and enter your answer, go to Ethics CEU Answer Booklet.

 
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