Dual Relationships in Counseling: It’s a small and slippery world…

QUESTION: “Even though therapists are bound by confidentiality and ethics, is it really a good idea to see a therapist who is friends with or sees professionally someone you know well?”

It’s complicated.

One Reasonable Answer: “While it’s not considered unethical to see friends of friends, some therapists would prefer not to do that given the sanctity of each relationship. In some cases, a therapist will choose not to work with two people who are close with each other if they truly feel they cannot remain impartial.”

accessed from: https://www.self.com/story/should-i-see-my-friends-therapist 02/20/2022

Click for Actual Page Referenced Here

What is NOT Acceptable

…(4) A health care provider shall not engage, or attempt to engage, in the activities listed in subsection (1) of this section with a former patient, client or key party within two years after the provider-patient/client relationship ends.

(5) After the two-year period of time described in subsection (4) of this section, a health care provider shall not engage, or attempt to engage, in the activities listed in subsection (1) of this section if:

(a) There is a significant likelihood that the patient, client or key party will seek or require additional services from the health care provider; or

(b) There is an imbalance of power, influence, opportunity and/or special knowledge of the professional relationship.

(6) When evaluating whether a health care provider is prohibited from engaging, or attempting to engage, in sexual misconduct, the secretary will consider factors, including but not limited to:

(a) Documentation of a formal termination and the circumstances of termination of the provider-patient relationship;

(b) Transfer of care to another health care provider;

(c) Duration of the provider-patient relationship;

(d) Amount of time that has passed since the last health care services to the patient or client;

(e) Communication between the health care provider and the patient or client between the last health care services rendered and commencement of the personal relationship;

(f) Extent to which the patient’s or client’s personal or private information was shared with the health care provider;

(g) Nature of the patient or client’s health condition during and since the professional relationship;

(h) The patient or client’s emotional dependence and vulnerability; and

(i) Normal revisit cycle for the profession and service.

(7) Patient, client or key party initiation or consent does not excuse or negate the health care provider’s responsibility.

What IS Acceptable:

(8) These rules do not prohibit:

(a) Providing health care services in case of emergency where the services cannot or will not be provided by another health care provider;

(b) Contact that is necessary for a legitimate health care purpose and that meets the standard of care appropriate to that profession; or

(c) Providing health care services for a legitimate health care purpose to a person who is in a preexisting, established personal relationship with the health care provider where there is no evidence of, or potential for, exploiting the patient or client.

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