Small communities occur in rural settings and anywhere a relatively small number of people frequently cross paths due to similar interests, backgrounds, or characteristics. Counselors who are part of small communities and serve clients in those communities must carefully evaluate the people they ethically and legally serve. They also must evaluate any relationships with their clients outside of counseling. This session will discuss this evaluation and document of relationships with clients in small communities.
To identify the most common ethical concerns when accepting as clients individuals the counselor already knows and when crossing boundaries with a client in a small community.
To identify tactics that counselors can use to preserve the therapeutic relationship, maintain counselor objectivity, and safeguard clients from negative consequences when boundaries are crossed or non-therapeutic interactions occur in small communities.
To gain experience applying the ACA Code of Ethics, its underlying moral principles, and an ethical decision making model in order to identify possible ethical courses of action for ethical dilemmas a counselor may encounter when deciding whether to accept or refer a client who the counselor already knows and when deciding whether (and how) to cross boundaries with clients when working in a small community.
Associate Professor and Program Director for the Counseling Programs,
St. Mary's University, San Antonio, TX