DUAL RELATIONSHIPS Dual relationships are detrimental to the Human Service process because they blur boundaries and can lead to: • Exploitation: Clients often perceive Human Service professionals possessing an exaggerated sense of power and wisdom that, when applied in non-Human Service relationships, can be accidentally or intentionally manipulative or exploitative. • Loss of Objectivity: The non-Human Service role often distorts the Human Service relationship (Human Service professional-to-client as well as client-to-Human Service professional) resulting in a loss of needed clinical objectivity. • Potential for Misunderstanding: Clients and Human Service professionals when engaged in multiple relationships have difficulty containing the Human Service experience to the designated Human Service time and place. This invites misunderstanding and hurt feelings. • Breach of Confidentiality: When there is role confusion, it can be difficult for the Human Service professional and the client to remember what information was gained in the context of a Human Service relationship and what in the non-Human Service relationship. A real or perceived breach of confidence often occurs. • 2. Dual relationship issues affect virtually all Human Service professionals in all settings. Very few professional Human Service professionals remain untouched by potential dual role conflicts and dilemmas. • 3. Nearly all ethical codes of conduct caution against dual relationships. • 4. Occasionally a dual relationship is unavoidable. However, most dual relationships can and should be avoided. • 5. Dual relationships are the "royal road" to liability problems. Many, many ethical licensing complaint and liability issues can be traced back to poorly conceived and/or poorly managed dual relationships. • 6. Most dual relationships start out well-intended, seeming clear and simple. Over time they become increasingly muddy and problematic. • 7. Sexual/Romantic relationships with current clients, or terminating Human Service in order to initiate a sexual relationship, is unethical and illegal in many states. Consequences for such behavior can include ethical sanction/expulsion, revocation of license, civil suit and even criminal prosecution. • 8. In determining whether to proceed with a dual relationship, consider whether the potential benefit of the dual relationship outweighs the potential for harm. • 9. Whenever we are operating in more than one role and when there is potential for negative consequences, the Standard of Practice will place the responsibility for developing safeguards and measures to reduce the potential for harm squarely on the shoulders of the professional Human Service professional. • 10. Dual role relationships, if they must exist, challenge practitioners to closely monitor themselves and to examine their motivations for engaging in the dual role. • 11. When considering becoming involved in a dual relationship, it would be wise to seek consultation from trusted colleagues or a supervisor. • 12. When presented with a dual relationship decision: determine if the dual relationship is avoidable or unavoidable; assess the potential benefits and risks of initiating a secondary relationship and discuss the issue with a trusted colleague for their objective perception. If the dual relationship is avoidable or the risks associated with the dual relationship outweigh the benefits, decline the secondary non-Human Service relationship or refer the person requesting the Human Service worker (friend or social or work acquaintance) to another Human Service professional. If the secondary relationship (Human Service or non-Human Service worker) is initiated, fully explain to the client the potential difficulties and risks associated with dual relationships, carefully define the boundaries of both relationships, record the substance of this discussion in the clinical record, secure a written consent for treatment that acknowledges the dual relationship, and obtain ongoing supervision. TYPES OF DUAL RELATIONSHIPS Primary dual relationship YOUR FAMILY MEMBER YOUR YOUR ROMANTI FRIEND C/SEXUAL PARTNER Your business/pr ofessional Secondary dual relationship YOUR FAMILY Member's YOUR YOUR ROMANTI Friend's C/SEXUAL Partner's Your business/pr ofessional’s Friend Lover Business/pr ofessional Friend Other lover Family Business/pr ofessional Friend lover Family Other friend Business/pr ofesional Friend lover Family Other friend Business/pr ofesional Tertiary dual relationship YOUR FAMILY Member's YOUR YOUR Your coROMANTI Friend's co- worker’s C/SEXUAL workers Family Partner's Friend Lover Business/pr ofessional Friend Friend Other lover lover Family Family Business/pr ofessional Friend lover Other friend Co-worker • 'Business Other Professional = Co-worker, teacher, student, intern, supervises, contractor, accountant, business partner, doctor, etc.