What does it mean to have boundaries in a relationship? In the profession of counseling, there is a code of ethics that guides counseling in standards that are required. The code of ethics is designed by The American Counseling Association to protect and serve clients and counselors. Boundaries can include small things such as gifts, outside of the office meeting, eating lunch, and of course physical touch, sexual relations and personally networking socially. A dual relationship can be defined as both therapeutic and personal when it comes to the relationships that occur between counselor and client (Pearson, B & Piazza N). Although they are relatively easy to define, it can be considered difficult when legality and ethics are involved. In order to integrate certain criteria into an ethical decision-making model, one must first understand what is ethically appropriate in the world of counseling. Nearly most of the common types of dual relationships exist because there is a lack of judgment on the professional side (AASCB American Association of Studies Counseling).
By integrating an ethical decision-making model, both counselors and clients can grasp on the indication of whether dual relationships are ethical and/or appropriate. Information-Gathering is a valuable and reliable source for a first step in decision making model. Counselors need to understanding that all of the facts, data, scientific insights, laws and reliable information is imperative and needs to be put together in the right way before making any assumptions. Determining the nature and dimensions of the dilemma can lead to an ethical decision making resolution. Ethical decisions; even those decisions that may be small, having a clear conceptual clarity in regards to what the boundaries are for a client and a counselor is imperative. In the ACA Code of Ethics, if counselors extend boundaries such as going to a client’s graduation or wedding then it must be officially documented in writing before the event that added the rationale for such an interaction.
The ACA code of Ethics is a document by which professionals in the world of Counseling used for determining standards and laws. For example if a counselor finds out that her daughter was dating the son of a marriage couple she is counseling in her group sessions. With this kind of case the complexity of issues around dual relationships is not exactly clear. The first step in this case should be to consult with a supervisor. The relationship between the daughter and son is meaningless in the long run.