Crossing Ethical Boundaries Between Counselor and Client
Ida L. Enz
Texas A & M University-Kingsville
Eli Coleman and Susan Schaeffer, authors of the article Boundaries of Sex and Intimacy Between Client and Counselor, write, "Dilemma. A woman comes to see a male counselor and complains of anxiety and depression associated with her recent divorce. She is also deeply concerned about her attractiveness and ability to attract another partner. The thought of single life frightens her. After five sessions, she confesses to the counselor that she is deeply attracted to him. Although she finds him sexually attractive, she is equally or more attracted to his sensitivity, care, and support of her. Emotional intimacy is something her previous relationships have lacked. And, at times, those relationships have been abusive.
The Counselor does not know how to respond.
He too is attracted and has already fantasized about a relationship with her. But because she is a client, he does not dare reveal his feelings. He knows that allowing a relationship to develop would be wrong. That, however, does not solve the problem." (Coleman &Schaeffer 341).
For almost every individual, having to go to counseling can be one of the most nerve wracking things a they may have to go through during his or her life for whatever reason. Becoming attracted to your counselor, or learning they are attracted to you, may just as equally give the same nerve wracking feeling. How can things like this be prevented from happening right from the beginning? Is there not a code of ethics a counselor must follow to ensure that there is only ever professionalism during all sessions, and that clients are only seen during counseling sessions and...