Boundary Concerns for the Counselor-Client Relationship

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Boundary concerns for the counselor-client relationship

The relationship between the counselor and the client is more of a contractual and business relationship than that of an associate or a friend and should be conducted accordingly. The client is paying the counselor for the services. The counselor, accordingly, has an ethical duty to treat this as a business interaction and to provide the client with the service that she deserves. By doing so, the counselor not only imparts the service in a professional manner but also is more effectively able to help the client. Practicing counseling boundaries ensures that the client receives effective help. To that end, the counseling code of ethics has realms of details on the principles that are involved in ensuring that boundaries are implemented and maintained.
Dual relationships (or non-professional relationships) are split into two categories: sexual and non-sexual. Sexual relationships between counselor and client is considered the most severe and is explicitly condemned by the American Counseling Association (ACA) in the following words:
Sexual or romantic counselor client interactions or relationships with current clients, their romantic partners, or their family members are prohibited. (A.5. Roles and Relationships With Clients).
As regards non-sexual relationships, the ACA has this to say:
Relationships with clients, former clients, their romantic partners, or their family members should be avoided,
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