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Issues and Ethics in the Helping Professions 10th Edition

Issues and Ethics in the Helping Professions (10th Edition)

Book Edition10th Edition
Author(s)Corey, Corey
PublisherCengage Learning
Managing Multiple Relationships in a Small Community
A Case of Multiple Relationship in a Small Community
Bartering for Professional Services
The Case of Exchanging Services for Therapy
Giving or Receiving Gifts
Sexual Attractions in the Client-Therapist Relationships
A Case of Sexual Attraction Towards a Client
A Special Case: Nonerotic Touching With Clients
Chapter 7, Managing Multiple Relationships in a Small Community, A Case of Multiple Relationship in a Small Community, Exercise 01
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Vijay, a 16-year-old high school student, is being seen by the school psychologist, Dr. Roshawn, at the request of his parents. Vijay's school work has dropped off, he has become withdrawn socially, and he has expressed to his parents that he has thought of suicide, even though he has not made a specific plan. After the psychologist has seen Vijay for several weeks of individual counseling, his concerned parents call and ask how he is doing. They wonder whether they should be alert to possible suicide attempts. Vijay's parents tell Dr. Roshawn that they want to respect confidentiality and are not interested in detailed disclosures but that they want to find out if they have cause for worry. Without going into detail, Dr. Roshawn reassures them that they really do not need to worry.


Does Dr. Roshawn have an ethical obligation to inform Vijay of the conversation with his parents?


In counseling, dual relationship refers to the condition in which the therapist holds another relationship with the client along with the professional therapist-client relationship. For instance, establishing a professional client-therapist relationship with one's business partner can be considered a dual relationship. Such a dual relationship can be challenging to the therapist since it demands appropriate management of the ethics and values of the counseling. Even though it is advised to maintain a boundary in the counseling relationship and avoid the establishment of multiple/dual relationships, it may not be always practical to comply with this advice/guideline.  

In the given case, Individual M and Individual A hold a professional therapist-client relationship, and in addition, a medic-patient relationship has also been established. Evaluating the given circumstances, it can be concluded that the dual relationship, in this case, is unavoidable in nature. 

The following are the major reasons that rationalize why the dual relationship between these individuals is unavoidable;

  • Individual M and Individual A reside in a small community where the probability of involving in multiple relationships is high. In small communities, the number of therapists and medics can be less, and thus there is a high chance that these individuals may engage in dual/multiple relationships.
  • The emergency nature of the situation demands Individual A to take quick actions to save the life of Individual M. Avoiding a dual relationship in such a case can even lead to the loss of life, and thus in the given case, the dual relationship is unavoidable.

Verified Answer

In the given case, the dual relationship between Individual A and Individual M is unavoidable.

The following are the major reasons that make the dual relationship unavoidable in the given situation/case:

  • These individuals live in a small community, where it is impractical to constrain within the boundary and avoid multiple relationships.
  • The emergency in the situation demands quick medical care without considering the issues related to the crossing of the boundary.
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