Ethical Dilemmas Essay

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Ethical Dilemma Dual relationships refer to relationships which exist when a therapist interacts with a client or consumer in a capacity beyond the role of a therapist. Dual relationships causes risk to the therapeutic relationship, which may cause harm to trust, confidentiality, and the ability of a therapist to maintain an unbiased perspective. The American Psychological Association (2002) has set ethical principles and standards to provide guidelines for therapist conduct and guidance for ethical decision making. In therapist psychology, therapists are faced with ethical dilemmas which may cause harm to the client or the therapist. In the event a therapist is faced with an ethical dilemma he or she may follow the steps of the ethical decision making process. The ethical decision making process provides guidance to therapists assisting each therapist to respond to ethical dilemmas. As Pope and Vasquez state, the steps may help therapists to identify important aspects of a situation, consider positive and negative consequences of the ways in which therapists may respond, and discover better approaches. Therapists’ decisions and actions have an effect on the welfare, dignity, and independence of the client. One of the most common dual relationships in therapist psychology refers to an intimate relationship between therapist and client. Intimate dual relationships occur when the therapist is interested in fulfilling his or her personal needs, rather than focusing on the welfare of the client. Intimate dual relationships can cause exploitation and potential harm to the client. According to American Psychological Association (2002) 1.17, multiple relationships should be avoided attempting to eliminate harmful consequences. In the event a therapist has the desire to fulfill his or her personal needs, he or she may consider following the first 14 steps of the

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