chapter  13
30 Pages

The Dumbing Down of Psychology: Faulty Beliefs about Boundary Crossings and Dual Relationships


This chapter investigates the nature of commonly held and misguided beliefs regarding the “evils” of boundary crossings and dual relationships in psychotherapy: that they are essentially unethical, illegal, harmful, and likely to lead to exploitation of clients (Bersoff, 1999; Koocher & Keith-Spiegel, 1998; Pope & Vasquez, 1998). Boundary issues and dual relationships in psychotherapy have been highly controversial subjects among psychotherapists for a long time. Ethics and law courses and risk management seminars have warned about the quicksand of dual relationships and instructed therapists to avoid them like the plague (Lazarus & Zur, 2002). Despite there being no credible evidence to support the belief in the depravity of boundary crossings and dual relationships, these terms have been used synonymously with harm and exploitation and have been baselessly linked to sex.