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Romantic Involvement between Counselor and Client

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Attached is a file that contains a scenario that I need some ideas on in regards to what 4 different Code of Ethics say about physical attraction/romantic relationship with a client and when and if it is possible.

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OTA 105878/Xenia Jones

Ethical Dilemma Study: Romantic Involvement

The Scenario -

You are a single counsellor with your own private agency. You saw a family for a year in 2003. During the counselling sessions you realized there was an attraction between you and the oldest daughter or son. Since you did not want to hinder the therapeutic relationship you had built with the family, you did not pursue a romantic relationship. After one of the family sessions you and the daughter/son admit to the romantic feelings you have for each other, yet agreed not to pursue this attraction. Later the family seems to improve and the counselling was terminated. It has been 24 months since your last counselling session, so you decide to call and pursue your romantic feelings for this client. Have you, as a professional counsellor, conducted yourself in an ethical manner?


Following the principles established in Principle 1.7 which is as follows:
"1.7 Marriage and family therapists do not use their professional relationships with clients to further their own interests."

And if we were to define 'romantic relationships' as 'own interests' of the therapist/counsellor then it is but right that I did not pursue our relationship. For purposes of professionalism and to build client trust, it is wrong to use the connection I have with the family for my own romantic ends. Attraction is undeniable but it also hampers the ability to see neutrality. I see myself as a responsible and 'caring' counsellor and 'caring' for my clients and for my professional necessitates that I conduct myself within the lines of my profession. If I move past it, I will not be able to function as I should. Additionally, the following principles - 1.3, 1.4 and 1.5 all establish the principle of avoiding any form of intimacy, in fact it is prohibited. It is possible that any form of intimate ...

Solution Summary

The solution provides information, assistance, advise and guidance in tackling the topic of reviewing a scenario that involves romantic involvement between counselor and client using 4 different codes of ethics: AACC, ACA, AAMFT & IAMFC. Resources are listed for further exploration of the topic. A owrd version of the solution is also attached.

See Also This Related BrainMass Solution

Need assistance with an ethics scenario.

Martha and Kevin came in to see you for couples counseling. They completed the initial session and you agreed to see Kevin individually per his request. Martha was fine with this as she wants to work on their marriage and feels that Kevin has been withdrawn and depressed lately. In the second session, just with Kevin, he reveals to you that he no longer loves Martha and has been seeing another woman for about 6 months. He states that he does not want to get a divorce because he still cares about Martha and does not want to hurt her. He also wants to keep seeing the other woman and does not want Martha to know.

Discuss the following:
1. What does the ACA Code of Ethics say about working with multiple clients and confidentiality?
2. How would you address this with Kevin?
3. In what ways can you prepare clients while complying with the ethical code when it comes to working with multiple clients in a session, such as in couples and marital counseling?

Review the "Ethics" page on the ACA's Web site.

350 Words or more with scholarly references

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