n IFE PsychologIA : An International Journal - Boundary transgressions : an issue in psychotherapeutic encounter : ethical issues in clinical psychology

Volume 21, Issue 3
  • ISSN : 1117-1421



Boundary transgressions tend to be conceptualized on a continuum ranging from boundary crossings to boundary violations. Boundary crossings (e.g. accepting an inexpensive holiday gift from a client, unintentionally encountering a client in public, or attending a client's special event) are described in the literature as deviations from commonly accepted practice that may be harmful, helpful, or benign to the therapeutic process. On the other hand, boundary violations (e.g. drinking alcohol with a client, or engaging in sexual relations with a client) depart from accepted practice and place clients, and the therapeutic process, at serious risk (Gutheil & Gabbard, 1993; Simon, 1992).

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