Professional boundaries are the legal, ethical and organisational frameworks that protect both clients and employees, or workers, from physical and emotional harm, and help to maintain a safe working environment for themselves and their clients. They help workers to make objective decisions about the therapeutic process to most effectively assist clients to achieve their goals.
Sometimes we encounter challenging situations in our therapeutic work which can make maintaining these boundaries difficult. For example, if a client offers gifts, invites the worker to a social function, or wants to extend the therapeutic relationship beyond the service provided, e.g., be your friend or divulge information that is not relevant to the therapeutic goals.
Situations such as these require workers to have a clear understanding of their role and ethical principles, and the organisation’s policies and code of conduct. It is also important for workers to be clear and assertive with clients about the boundaries of their role and what is appropriate behaviour for the therapeutic process.
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