A dual relationship is a scenario whereby multiple relationships exist between the therapist and client. In some instances, it's interchangeably referred to as multiple relationships. Typical examples include where a client is also a friend, employee, business partner or family member of the therapist. The therapist in some way has a relationship with an individual related to the client. The last one would be where the therapist has intent in the future to enter into a relationship with someone close to the client or the client himself.
According to Yeager (2002), the existence of the relationship with itself brings about challenges more so in situations where sexual and non- sexual complications arise. Non-sexual relationships aren't necessarily unethical as opposed to the sexual one's that present significant ethical questions. On top of that, non-sexual relationships contrary don't lead to exploitations as opposed. Given that, we would predominantly focus on dual relationships in an ethical way in our context.
Dual relationships are of several types. They include social, professional, communal, business, institutional, supervisory, sexual, and digital dual relationship. With relation to the context they occur and the ethical concerns, they can also be classified into avoidable, unavoidable, unexpected, and mandated types. To address the client’s need, in cases of dual relationship, there is a need to evaluate its effect on their ability to delve into deep issues by setting boundaries. On the other hand, boundary setting infringes on people’s rights and often leads to the feeling of isolation (Birnbacher, 1999). Therefore, the two sides need to be looked into since it may alter and facilitate better healing capabilities. Despite that, ethical concerns should always be on the check with the sole purpose of upholding the client's overall situation. This strategy in non-sexual relationships should be adequately addressed through the provision of information, to highlight on complexities and consequences that may arise.
Autonomy and Clients Rights
Autonomy is the personal rule free from interference and limitations that deter arriving at meaningful choices. Autonomous individuals are not subject to any interference and act with intention and understanding. Application of the principle is fundamental in areas such as client and therapist situations. According to Yeager (2002), conducive environments should need to be in place so as to enable clients to arrive at autonomous decisions. Respect for the principle includes recognizing an individual's self-determination and will in addition to enabling necessary conditions for free choices.
On the same subject, the client has rights that need to be upheld and considered. Ignoring them would amount to deviation from autonomy and present important ethical issues. Hence, considerations should always be in place, and when the choices conflict the client's will prevails.
Some of the client's rights that ensure the protection of autonomy and self-determination are as follows: clients have a right to provision of self-exploration with a counselor that revers their chosen values. The other would be integrating of personal values, self-beliefs into the therapeutic process for growth. Clients should be allowed to abide by their will that would be free from coercion, manipulation or unnecessary influence. Another right would be the ability to air out their concerns without being subjected to any category or label. There is also the right to seek assistance from any approved therapist without intrusion from the government. The last provision is the ability to evaluate with help from the therapist on various options to enhance personal responsibility and better decision-making skills (Birnbacher, 1999).
The rules, when upheld, would ensure autonomy prevails, and client's rights are respected. Consequently, they would act at their discretion freely and justly.
Counselor/ Therapist Role in the Helping Relationship
According to Yeager (2002), a helping relationship exists where participants intend an outcome should result from one or both parties, more appreciation, and expression, use of the possible inner resource of the individual. One can get into the relationship for different reasons, and it's based on a contractual basis as the parties can opt out. Consistency and structure guide the implementation process for results to materialize. Therapeutic alliance is another vital element for successful helping relationships. The relationship is bound by standards, practice and code of ethics.
Various stages are incorporated into the process to deal with the diverse needs and backgrounds of the clients by the counselor. The steps include attending, exploration, understanding, action and action. In each and every step, both participants have a role to play, but we'll focus more on the therapist. Therapists face various challenges during interactions with the clients and it's up to them to devise ways and means of coping with the situation.
In a helping relationship, they play various roles that guide them to effectively and efficiently navigate the process. Among their role is listening to the client. Careful consideration is put into the listening process so as to grasp the contents in various perspectives. It is essential as critical details such as emotional state can be understood to help in providing guidance and responses to the client. The other roles that the therapist plays are that of observation and acceptance. All those guide in the interpretation of the instincts of the client so as to provide the best assistance possible.
The therapist, in general, plays a fundamental role in helping relationships. Engagement is paramount as it builds a strong bond and enables a result oriented process. The counselor shouldn’t use his position to see the deficit in the client but instead an opportunity to provide positive reinforcement.
Being a qualified advisor is no easy task. One must possess a specialized set of skills that would enable them to undertake their activities. Effective therapy is critical to building relationships that engender trust. Sensitivity to client's personal perspectives, humility and respect are tenets to a comprehensive treatment. In our context, we feature key competencies a counselor should possess that would aid in administering effective treatments (Birnbacher, 1999).
The first one would be self-awareness. The trait is brought about by having the ability to be insightful about the self. Grasping of the narratives, current and past relationships would be of the essence. Also, comprehending strength and weaknesses is key and not being defensive.
Secondly, a counselor should be flexible in response styles. A qualified advisor understands the need of being versatile in the replies targeting at various client's needs. Questions and silence may vary depending on some occasions. Summarizing, reflection, joining of conversations and problem-solving are among the responses the counselor could offer. He is always intentional in the selection of choices of response.
Third, the counselor should possess hypothesis skills. It is the ability to deviate from the client’s problems to a wider perspective and then back again to the topic. Multiple pieces of data could be clustered and linked to enhancing comprehension of the situation. The ability enables sampling of various hypotheses that would clarify the motive and bring about possible interventions.
Among other competencies include the capability of building trustworthy relationships, observation skills, and cultural awareness. All those set of skills when integrated and implemented in unison result to the creation of a competent counselor.
Birnbacher, D. (1999). Ethics and social science: Which kind of co-operation? Ethical theory and moral practice, 2(4), 319-336.
Yeager, L. B. (2002). Ethics as social science: the moral philosophy of social cooperation. Edward Elgar Publishing.
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