It may not be possible or reasonable for counselors to always avoid dual relationships with clients. For example, counselors who live and work in small, rural communities may attend the same religious institutions as their clients, or use the same libraries, doctors, or other services. In these multiple relationship situations, counselors would not be in violation of ethical standards if they took reasonable steps to protect their objectivity and efficacy, and to avoid possibilities of exploitation or harm.
Counselors and supervisors usually consider dual relationships on a continuum of risk. As you work through the notion of dual relationships, you should consider a counselor relationship with a client and the context of the situation, as well as the impact of dual roles on the power dynamics of the therapeutic relationship. For example, clients, students, and supervisees have less experience, knowledge, and power compared to licensed counselors and supervisors. Consequently, they are less likely to recognize inappropriate boundary crossings or to express their concerns about these crossings. It is the counselor responsibility as an ethical practitioner to monitor and ensure appropriate boundaries across all related counseling situations.
With these thoughts in mind
Give a brief description of three boundary issues that would be the most challenging for a mental health counselor to “honor” and explain why, including potential harm and benefits. Be sure to cite the relevant ethical codes. Then, evaluate how a counselor would address these same issues in a supervisory relationship.