The Definition Of Dual Relationships In The Mental Health Field

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In the mental health field, a dual relationship is a situation where multiple roles exist between a therapist, or other mental health practitioner, and a client (Zur, 2015). Dual relationships are also referred to as multiple relationships, and these two terms are used interchangeably in the research literature (Zur, 2015). Standard 3.05 of the APA ethics code outlines the definition of multiple relationships. Dual or multiple relationships occur when (APA, 2010):
1. A professional and personal relationship take place simultaneously between the psychologist and the client.
2. The psychologist has a relationship with a person closely related to or connected to their client.
3. The psychologist has intentions to enter into a future relationship with the client or someone closely related to the client
In the ethics code, Standard 3.05a states, “(a) a multiple relationship occurs when a psychologist is in a professional role with a person and at the same time is in another role with the same person” (Fisher, 2013). If a psychologist gets involved in this situation, they will not be able to defend themselves in front of the licensing board because this behavior will not be condoning. It is better to avoid this situation to escape repercussions. In addition, the standard provides a description of when to avoid multiple relationships when the relationship causes harm to the client or impairs the psychologist's competence and when these relationships are not considered unethical
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