In the mental health profession, boundaries are easily crossed, some unintentionally and some intentionally. Some boundary crossings prove beneficial to clients and do not necessarily create multiple-role relationships (Koocher & Keith-Spiegel,2016). There are various examples of multiple-role relationships, non-sexual and sexual. Most non-sexual multiple-role relationships are not considered unethical unless it results in harm or exploitation. For instance, having risky clients, for not all clients can tolerate boundary-crossing. Such clients include impaired cognition, judgment, self-care, self-protection, and little social status and power. In this matter, these clients are at greater risk for exploitation (Koocher & Keith-Spiegel, 2016). For instance, a child who has been abused is placed in foster care and enrolled in psychotherapy to be treated., Over time, the child had been put back in the home with his mother but continued to have sessions with the psychotherapist. During one of the sessions, the child mentioned that he would go to the psychotherapist’s home if he were to get abused again. The psychotherapist replied by informing the child that he did need an escape plan and gave him resources for such. While the psychotherapists took note of his poignant analysis that she was caring during a crisis, she appropriately recognized that she could not meet the child’s needs (Koocher & Keith-Spiegel, 2016). In this case, the professional used a positive limit setting technique in which restrictions are placed in response to the client’s request.
A professional’s goal is never intended to harm, demean, or neglect a client. In multiple-role relationships, it is highly likely that some clients may feel neglected or abandoned due to their therapist setting limits.