LinkedIn 0 Boundaries are a crucial aspect of any effective client-counsellor relationship. They set the structure for the relationship and provide a consistent framework for the counselling process.
Boundaries in Counselling What are Boundaries in Counselling Boundaries are the perimeters of the therapeutic relationship — the frame within which the work takes place. Clear boundaries promote trust in the practitioner and provide clarity about the purpose and nature of the relationship.
All interpersonal relationships have boundaries, often unspoken, which are mutually understood limitations as to what is appropriate in a particular situation. In counselling, the boundaries are made explicit in the contracting stage of the relationship, and are mutually agreed and understood by both therapist and client.
The boundaries create clarity for both parties around expectations, and a safe frame for the work of therapy.
It is important Boundaries in counselling be explicit about the length and frequency of the sessions being offered, whether the work is to be open-ended or time-limited, and when and where the counselling sessions will take place.
Clarity about these practical elements help to provide a transparent frame in which the more interpersonal aspects of the relationship can be allowed to develop securely.
Dual Relationships When a client and therapist are engaged in another relationship or interaction outside of the role of therapist and client, this is known as a dual relationship. Dual relationships can manifest in a number of ways: This guidance asks that we use sound ethical decision-making in any situation where dual relationships might present themselves, and that we proceed with caution, avoiding dual relationships wherever possible.
It is important to use supervision when there is a possibility of a dual relationship, and ethical bodies, including the BACP will also offer advice and guidance to their members.
Self-Disclosure When deciding upon the appropriateness of a personal disclosure in the therapeutic relationship, it is important to think about therapeutic purpose. Touch Some therapists offer hugs or other touch such as hand-holding as part of the therapeutic relationship.
Any intervention involving touch needs to be managed in a considered way, and reflection in supervision about the purpose and value of touch is important, as well as discussion with the client about the therapeutic meaning. An ongoing dialogue in the therapy room helps to avoid misunderstandings and ensure safety.
This is particularly important for clients who may have experienced relational trauma. Any organisational policies must also be taken into consideration and properly observed.
Gifts Sometimes clients may wish to offer their therapist a gift at the end of therapy or on a special occasion. Some therapists may choose not to accept gifts from their clients, and in order to avoid an upsetting rejection, it is a good idea to make such a policy clear from the outset of therapy.
Often expensive gifts or gifts of money are not permitted. Out of Session Contact Particularly relevant to private practice, some therapists may offer clients communication options between sessions, either for a fee or included in the service.
This might include phone, email or text contact.
It is important that any between-session contact is discussed, and that a realistic amount is offered. A sudden change in the therapeutic frame can be unsettling for the client, and any changes to the contract around out-of-session contact must be managed sensitively.
Social Media In the modern world, it is important that we consider how our personal and professional online presence might impact on the therapeutic relationship and ensure we are maintaining online boundaries in a way that protects the integrity of the therapeutic relationship and promotes trust.
The BACP ethical framework addresses the issue of social media use: Supervision is the place to discuss client work. Confidentiality Counsellors have a duty to maintain client confidentiality by not discussing client material inappropriately, storing client data securely and according to the law, and to ensure clients are clear about the limits to confidentiality and when confidentiality may need to be broken.
When Boundaries are Crossed Boundaries can create ethical dilemmas when working with clients and if a therapeutic boundary is crossed or becomes blurred, it is likely to be unsettling for both therapist and client.
When a therapeutic boundary has been crossed, depending on the nature and seriousness of the violation, the therapist has an ethical duty to: Mitigate harm where possible and ethical.
Take the situation to supervision. If a student, inform the learning establishment. Inform the organisational manager where appropriate.In counselling, the boundaries are made explicit in the contracting stage of the relationship, and are mutually agreed and understood by both therapist and client.
The boundaries create clarity for both parties around expectations, and a safe frame for the work of therapy. Good boundaries, however, are not equivalent to good therapy.
Boundaries exist to protect the therapy; they are not the therapy itself. It is quite possible for a therapist to keep the boundary and lose the patient, by enforcing boundaries in a restrictive, legalistic, defensive manner. Boundaries •Establishing boundaries is an important competency •Boundaries delineate personal and professional roles •Boundaries are essential to patient and therapist safety •Professional relationships with patients exist for their benefit •Whose needs are being .
Why are boundaries in counselling important? One of the key values of the psychodynamic approach is the clear focus on the importance of boundaries in counselling.
It may not be necessary to say too much about the importance of boundaries in the sessions themselves, but in my work I try to be attentive to boundary issues. A Practical Approach to Boundaries in Psychotherapy: Making Decisions, Bypassing Blunders, and Mending Fences.
Kenneth S. Pope, Ph.D., ABPP and Patricia Keith-Spiegel. Boundaries are like fences; they are man-made and are designed to separate. Their function is to "fence in" and "fence out", to include and exclude.
Being man-made, they can be constructed or dismantled, heightened or lowered, and made more or less permeable. Psychotherapy boundaries are an inherent part of the therapeutic setting.