A.5.d. Potentially Beneficial Interactions
When a counselor–client nonprofessional interaction with a client or former client may be potentially beneficial to the client or former client, the counselor must document in case records, prior to the interaction (when feasible), the rationale for such an interaction, the potential benefit, and anticipated consequences for the client or former client and other individuals significantly involved with the client or former client. Such interactions should be initiated with appropriate client consent. Where unintentional harm occurs to the client or former client, or to an individual significantly involved with the client or former client, due to the nonprofessional interaction, the counselor must show evidence of an attempt to remedy such harm. Examples of potentially beneficial interactions include, but are not limited to, attending a formal ceremony (e.g., a wedding/commitment ceremony or graduation); purchasing a service or product provided by a client or former client (excepting unrestricted bartering); hospital visits to an ill family member; mutual membership in a professional association, organization, or community. (See A.5.c.)
Dr. Zur's Comments on ACA Code: Undoubtedly, ACA code of 2005 has made significant positive change to stop the demonization of dual relationships and appropriately acknowledges that dual relationships can have positive clinical impact. However, it must be clear that "attending a formal ceremony (e.g., a wedding/commitment ceremony or graduation)" or making a "hospital visit to an ill family member" are not dual relationships. These are what I call out-of-office experiences. In contrast, bartering for services and "mutual membership in a professional association, organization, or community" constitute dual relationships. Read more about the differences between out-of-office experiences and dual relationships. Finally, it is interesting to note the code no longer uses the term dual or multiple relationships. Substituted is the term "Nonprofessional Interactions or Relationships."