n IFE PsychologIA : An International Journal - Therapeutic relationships and professional boundaries : ethical issues in clinical psychology

Volume 21, Issue 3
  • ISSN : 1117-1421



The relationship that should exist between a therapist and his client is a relationship of trust. It should be a relationship that focuses on meeting the health care needs of the client. This relationship should serve as a means through which the therapist assists his client to resolve some difficulties that they are experiencing. One challenge that therapist however face as they get to know their clients intimately in the course of therapy is how to maintain proper boundaries. This is because the relationship often involves regular contact over time with client sharing their feelings with the therapist. These feelings often times have the potential to evoke actions that may be clinically inappropriate and unethical. These inappropriate actions when they occur are damaging to both the professional and the client. Professional boundaries are therefore intended to set limits and clearly define a safe, therapeutic connection between therapist and client. As professionals, it is up to the therapist to be aware of appropriate professional behaviors so that these boundaries are not violated. This paper is thus aimed at reminding us about the boundaries within therapeutic relations, how to maintain them during therapy and what to do when they occur.

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