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Multiple Relationships in Psychotherapy & Counseling


This resource page is part of an Online Course
Dual Relationships: The Ethical Way

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Table Of Contents



Online Articles and Videos by Dr. Zur


Online Articles on Dual and Multiple Relationships by Informed Scholars Other than Dr. Zur

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Ethics Codes on Multiple and Dual Relationships in Psychotherapy


Books that Focus on Dual or Multiple Relationships


Multiple Roles in Military Psychology

Military psychology is another setting that often involves unavoidable even mandated complex multiple relationships among psychologists and their patients, commanders, subordinates, and those whom they evaluate for fitness for duty/combat. The multiple relationships in the military may also be unavoidable social dual relationships that take place when psychologists and clients serve on small rural bases or aircraft carriers.

Resources on the Dual and Multiple Relationships in the Military


Multiple Roles in Rehabilitation-Recovery Communities

Rehabilitation, recovery and 12 step programs often involve unavoidable multiple relationships among psychotherapists and clients when both may end up attending the same 12 step program meetings or recovery groups. This type of multiple relationship is rather common as many rehabilitation counselors are themselves in recovery and are attending, AA or other 12 step programs, Rational Recovery or other recovery programs.

Resources on Multiple Relationships in Rehabilitation and Recovery Programs


Multiple Relationships in Rural Areas and Small Communities

Dual and multiple relationships in rural communities are often unavoidable and, in fact, are normal and a healthy part of many rural interdependent communities. The fact that social, professional, and, at times, business, and many other multiple relationships are unavoidable and an inherent part of rural communities was one of the factors that caused APA to add the following statement in the Code of Ethics, back in 1992 of 'Multiple relationships that would not reasonably be expected to cause impairment or risk exploitation or harm are not unethical'.

Listing of online resources on Dual Relationships in Rural Communities

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Forensic Dual or Multiple Relationships: Treating Clinician v. Forensic Expert

Forensic and therapeutic roles are generally considered incompatible. The psychotherapist's or counselor's role is that of an advocate, which often presents irreconcilable conflict with the more objective-evaluative role of a forensic expert. The forensic-therapist dual relationship often presents conflict of interests and, as a result, are often unethical and should be avoided under most circumstances.

Listing of online resources on Forensic Dual Relationships


Dual or Multiple Relationships in Academic Settings

Academic settings present complex situations where dual or multiple relationships between faulty, psychotherapists, supervisors, administrators and student are often common and at times unavoidable. Faculty members are not only responsible for teaching and evaluating students, but may also they serve as advisors, supervisors, and mentors for students. Faculty members may play an additional role of hiring students for assistantships and in selecting students for awards, scholarships, rewards, and variety of professional opportunities. Additionally, it is not uncommon for faculty members and students to work together on research projects, co-author articles, co-present at professional conferences, and interact in professional and social settings within the training program or the educational setting.

Review Codes of Ethics on Dual Roles in Academic Institutions and Training Programs

More resources on Multiple Relationships in Training Programs and Academic Settings


Multiple Relationships in Correctional Facilities: Psychology in Prisons, Jails and Detention Settings

Dual relationships and multiple roles are inherent in detention facilities and in correctional psychology work settings. In correctional and detention facilities, treating psychologists and other mental health workers are expected and/or mandated to serve also as court appointed evaluators and testify in court as experts. In prison and jail settings, treaters or clinicians also have a primary loyalty and legal responsibility to the institution (primary around safety issues) above their loyalty to the patient-prisoner.

Listing of online resources on Dual Relationships in Prisons, Jails and Detention Facilities


Multiple Roles in Faith, Religious and Spiritual Communities

Faith communities, such as churches, synagogues, ashrams, temples, mosques, etc., often involve dual and multiple roles between the religious leaders and members of the congregations. This type of role blending may take place when pastors, priests, rabbis, swamis, imams and other spiritual leaders, in addition to their spiritual leadership roles, also provide spiritual or other types of individual or couple counseling. Another form of multiple relationships takes place in faith, religious or spiritual communities when members choose licensed mental health professionals who are fellow congregation members, because they know them, trust them, and with whom they, obviously, share a spiritual practice, world view, and belief system.

Resources on Multiple Relationships in Faith, Religious and Spiritual Communities


Multiple Roles in Sport Psychology

Sport psychology often involved unavoidable complex multiple relationships among psychologists, coaches, managers, treaters, and other roles. The multiple relationships may be professional, social or other form of dual roles.

Resources on the Dual and Multiple Relationships in Sport Psychology


Multiple Relationships in Police Psychology & Law Enforcement

Police and law enforcement psychology is another setting that presents complex and often unavoidable multiple roles, multiple loyalties and multiple relationships situations in which the psychologist may be concurrently involved in providing clinical services as well as training, fitness-for-duty evaluations, pre-employment screenings, consultations with SWAT units, hostage negotiations, debriefings and other roles. These diverse responsibilities and multiple loyalties can present conflict of interests, conflict of loyalties, and ethical and legal dilemmas for police psychologists.

Resources on Multiple Roles in Police Psychology


Supervisory Multiple Roles-Functions

The relationship between clinical supervisor and supervisee is highly complex as supervisory relationships inherently involve multiple roles, multiple functions and multiple responsibilities. Tensions may exist between the supervisor's ethical, legal, and gatekeeping roles, which include: a) Enhancing supervisees' growth and professional development; b) Protecting the clients; c) Protecting future clients who may be treated by the supervisees; and d) Like other psychotherapists, supervisors have the duty to protect the public in cases such as child/elder abuse/neglect and danger (i.e., Tarasoff).

Resources on Multiple Roles and Responsibilities in Supervision

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Unexpected Multiple Relationships

Unexpected multiple relationships take place is situations where therapists surprisingly discover that two different clients are related or have intense relationships, as in the movie "Prime" where the therapist finds out that that the "boyfriend" her client was referring to was . . . her son.

Dr. Steven Behnke on Unexpected Dual Relationships


Additional Relevant Articles on Boundaries by Dr. Zur




Online CE Courses on Multiple Relationships and Related Topics


Licensing Board Decision Regarding Multiple Relationships & Expert Testimony


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