Moral issues that relate to professional boundaries are the most difficult and tricky. In short, boundary issues result after a conflict between the professional duties of the social workers and their social, religion, business or sexual relationships. Dual relationships make professionals face conflicts of interest thus leading to boundary issues.
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Such relationships result after professionals decide to engage themselves in many relationships with the client, whether social or business (Blackburn, 2001). Once a professional accepts a second role with a client, whether becoming a social worker or a business associate, he or she definitely gets into a dual relationship.
It is quite difficult to avoid some of the dual relationships, although such dual relationships as incidences of sexual intimacies between for example a psychologists and their clients should be avoided at all costs.
Professionals should clarify the dual relationships that should be avoided as well as those which might be entered into with a lot of precaution. Psychologists struggle with boundary issues in knowing the acceptable boundary crossings, the behavior that becomes a boundary violation and the acceptable as well as unacceptable dual relationships.
Addressing of boundaries and dual relationships call for the presenting of a rational approach, along with experts comments to give further insights into the issues at hand.
One of the challenges presented by boundary issues is that most workers do not comprehend the difference between boundary violations and boundary crossings. When a professional and a client engage in an exploitive, deceptive or coercive relationship, then this is considered to be a boundary violation (Blackburn, 2001).
To have a safe connection with a client, professional boundaries must exist. Professional boundaries always direct the workers on what to do behavior-wise and safeguard the clients’ rights (Koehn, 1994). Another challenge faced by most of the professionals is when the client tries to push the boundary thus making the professional to cross it.
For instance, a situation in which the client insists on taking the professional worker for a trip. It is quite hard because according to the rules, the worker should not gain personally or professionally, whether financially or emotionally at the expense of the client. This can be prevented by using the boundary framework that is applicable in almost all organizations.
It also becomes hard for a worker to recognize and understand how his words or actions will affect the client. This is because a client may take some of the worker’s comment negatively or positively and what he or she believes the worker intended becomes his or her reality.
The client may like it, dislike it, feel uncertain about it, or feel harmed by it. Irrespective of who is pushing the boundary, the client’s interpretation will be his or her driver on what he or she chooses to do about the situation in case of anything (Blackburn, 2001). According to the boundary framework, the client should not be treated like objects and there has to be a fair professional-client relationship.
Another challenge facing most of the professional workers is how to put the boundary back into place. For instance, when a worker is asked something by the client, he would like to answer without hurting or offending him. On the other hand, the professional should maintain the boundaries always. This can be done through consultations or seeking advice as well learning and growing professionally.
Stepping out of the boundary framework may lead to judged boundary violation by regulatory authorities or employers. The boundary framework shows that both the professional worker and the client have an obligation and a responsibility.
Both of them should know how to conduct themselves and what is expected of them. The professional worker should always be responsible in maintaining the safe connection regardless of who pushes the boundary.
Blackburn, S. (2001). Ethics: Avery short introduction. New York: Free Press
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Koehn, D. (1994). The ground of professional ethics. London: Routledge