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I feel that in a crisis, advice-giving is an activity that if used too freely and with poor timing, can cause you to become personally involved in the success or failure of your advice.
Despite these problems, advice-giving is a valid technique, as you know, if wisely used. You, of course, need to set a boundary to be sensitive to the clues a client gives that indicate they need advice and direct suggestions. Advice should be based on knowledge, objective analysis of the situation, and judgment of the client's capacity to accept counsel.
Using the authority-of-knowledge as a basis for these activities implies that the therapist breaks the boundary of client self-determination. By giving advice, this indicates that you know more about dealing with the client's concerns than the client does. Thus, to be ethical, advice giving should be based on an objective and realistic evaluation of all the factors involved.
Ethical Advice Giving
You may have had the frustrating experience of proposing solutions and giving advice that the client either agrees with verbally and does not follow, or carries out in such a way that it fails. In general, it is a questionable boundary violation to say, for example, "With my oldest son, I always set midnight as a curfew and insisted that he be in by then." This lends a personal element to the session that can lead to a focus on the therapist rather than the client. Certainly therapists use what they learn in their personal experiences, but when logical discussion of solutions is underway, it is better to maintain a firm boundary and not to personalize the situation.
5 Ethics Guidelines for Advice-Giving
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