Professional Ethics and Potential Conflicts Term Paper by Nicky

Professional Ethics and Potential Conflicts
A review of the ethical issues in the therapist-patient relationship.
# 149005 | 1,546 words | 4 sources | APA | 2011 | US
Published on Nov 20, 2011 in Psychology (General) , Ethics (General)

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The paper outlines the four types of dual relationships typically occurring in therapist-patient relationships, looks at the types of extra-therapeutic relationships that are strictly prohibited by ethical codes and penal law and also explains the fundamental concept of boundaries. The paper highlights how the nature of psychological therapy and its relationship dynamics raise more potentially delicate ethical issues than physical medicine. The paper points out that ultimately, patients rely on professional therapists to meet their ethical obligation to
avoid any conduct that could harm them or reduce the likelihood of success associated
with their therapy. The paper includes an outline.

Dual Relationships
Emotionally Intimate of Sexual Relationships
Boundary Issues

From the Paper:

"Prevailing understanding of psychotherapy and other forms of psychological
counselling suggests that the likelihood of adverse effects on the patient make double role
situations extremely inadvisable (Pope & Vetter, 1992; Zur, 2009). More specifically, the
natural dynamics of psychological transference in long-term psychological therapy is
extremely easy to disrupt or change in ways that undermine effective treatment and the
best interests of the patient.
"Second, the inherent power differential that exists in the realm of psychological
therapy is not readily compatible with extra-therapeutic relationships between therapist
and patient. Third, even where the therapist is vigilant in recognizing any potentially
harmful situation and terminates the therapeutic relationship, the patient is invariably
harmed by virtue of closing the door of a successful therapeutic course. In addition, such
resolution exposes the patient to detrimental effects of abandonment issues in the context
of therapy that could easily reduce the patient's ability to establish the necessary
relationships with new therapists necessary to achieve the goals of treatment (Pope &
Vetter, 1992; Zur, 2009).
"Double profession issues are those where the therapist and patient share other
professional relationships besides the professional therapist-patient, such as where the
therapist is also the patient's lawyer or accountant (or vice-versa). Together with the
principles and prohibitions in APA Ethical Standard 1.17, two other provisions (1.18 and
1.25) provide additional guidance in that regard. Specifically, they address situations
where the nature of the second professional relationship is harmful to the patient or where
it presents potential for conflicts of interest or exploitation of the patient."

Sample of Sources Used:

  • Gerrig, R., Zimbardo, R. (2007). Psychology and Life. New Jersey: Prentice Hall.
  • Pope, K.S. and Vetter, V.A. "Ethical Dilemmas Encountered by Members of the American Psychological Association: A National Survey" American Psychologist, March, 1992, vol. 47, no. 3.
  • Tong, R. (2007). New Perspectives in Health Care Ethics: An Interdisciplinary and Cultural Approach. Upper Saddle River, New Jersey: Pearson Education, Inc.
  • Zur, O. (2009). Dual Relationships, Multiple Relationships & Boundaries In Psychotherapy, Counseling & Mental Health. Retrieved June 10, 2009 from:

Cite this Term Paper:

APA Format

Professional Ethics and Potential Conflicts (2011, November 20) Retrieved August 08, 2022, from

MLA Format

"Professional Ethics and Potential Conflicts" 20 November 2011. Web. 08 August. 2022. <>