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let's look at manipulation as it relates to setting boundaries. Because of its connotations of changing others "by unethical means to serve one's own purposes,"
manipulation is a loaded word. In reality, manipulation also means skillful management,
and as such, is a technique that you probably utilize constantly.
Also, we are ethically manipulating when we select a particular setting for a family conference. However, the evils of manipulation arise when we manipulate to achieve our personal ends, or when we manipulate without regard for our client's needs and rights to participate in the decision making process.
Three Factors of Ethical Manipulation
Another obvious example of an ethical manipulation is crisis intervention. To define the problem and severity of the crisis event, I ask clarifying and direct questions about the current crisis. I then probe the client for as much specific information and details as he or she can tolerate in this state of crisis. This, of course, is important, because I can only assist with planning a safe course of action if I have a complete and accurate picture of the situation that triggered the problem.
Sample problem-definition questions I use to control and manipulate the
flow of information but stay in an ethical boundary are:
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