Personal V Professional Relationships

310 Words2 Pages
Understanding the important differences between personal and professional relationships can help pave the way to success in both aspects of a person’s life. There are important skills that are required for successful human service professionals, such as communication, boundaries setting and empathy. (Hartly, S. (2002)). In addition, professional and personal relationships differ in time, financial contribution, purpose, structure and power balance. (Kagel, J. Giebelhausen, P. (1994). In human services professional relationships are generally also therapeutic relationships. A therapeutic relationship is similar to a personal relationship as it requires trust, vulnerability and it grows over time. However, the difference between professional/therapeutic relationship and a personal relationship that it is not reciprocal. As human service professionals we do not reveal ourselves to our clients. It is also different in that the responsibility for the health of the relationship is not shared equally; it lies more with the professional then the client. The professional is also responsible for building and maintaining boundaries in the relationship. (Hartly, S. (2002)). Furthermore, the professional relationship is built for a specific reason. In addition, professional relationships also exist between employers and employees, colleagues and vendors. The boundaries in these relationships often get blurry, as personal relationships develop. Blurred boundaries make hierarchical relationship between supervisor and supervisee more difficult and productivity can suffer. Professional boundaries are intended to set limits and clearly define a safe, therapeutic connection between human service professionals and their clients. For example, in a client /therapeutic professional relationship the professional has the power, as they are the once who possess the knowledge the
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