Sexual contact with clients: assessment of social workers' attitudes and educational preparation.

Graduate School of Social Service, Fordham University, New York, NY 10023, USA.
Social work (Impact Factor: 1.15). 06/2000; 45(3):223-35. DOI: 10.1093/sw/45.3.223
Source: PubMed


The purpose of this study was to assess social work students' attitudes about sexual contact with clients and their perceptions about their training and education in this area. The sample included 349 social work students in their final semester of an MSW program. There were relatively high levels of approval for sexual contact between social workers and clients in certain circumstances. Approval was not limited to circumstances in which professional relationships were terminated, were brief, or had involved only concrete services. Students with less social work experience and who thought class content on sexual ethics was inadequate were more likely to approve of sexual contact between social worker and client. Students did not feel that they had received adequate education or training on sexual ethics, and many felt unprepared to handle sexual feelings from or toward a client. Implications for education, training, and practice, and suggestions for future research are discussed.

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    • "Discipline specific undergraduate curriculums provide only cursory reference to professional boundaries, if at all, with little ongoing attention to professional development activities, vocational and work based training (Berkman, Turner, Cooper, Polnerow, & Swartz, 2000; Brodie, Nagy, English, & Gillies, 2002; White, 2003). Even those professions, such as psychology, psychiatry and social work, which pay more attention to boundary dilemmas in their disciplinary education, report practice dilemmas (Berkman et al., 2000; Garfinkel, Dorian, Sadavoy, & Bagby, 1997; Knapp & Slattery, 2004). When professional boundaries education is discussed it is typically in reference to students (Boland-Prom & Anderson, 2005; Davidson, 2005; Jacobson, 2002; White, 2003). "
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    ABSTRACT: Professional boundaries between practitioners and clients are essential to the delivery of ethical and professional health services yet often prove difficult to address. A research agenda was initiated comprising a literature review, needs assessment, the development, implementation and evaluation of a Professional Boundaries for Health Practitioner (PBHP) training course. This agenda led the authors to critically reflect on the barriers of rumours, dismissiveness and time that were identified to the provision of training in this field. From these reflections, an interprofessional training framework was developed. This paper focuses on the importance of two facets of reflective practice in this process. These were (1) the importance of the integration of reflection and critical thinking skills in practitioner training; (2) critical reflection undertaken by the authors in identifying barriers to practitioner participation in work based training and determining the scope and nature of training that enhances ethical practices and meets practitioner needs Yes Yes
    Reflective Practice 04/2009; DOI:10.1080/14623940902786172
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    • "), counselling (Brown, 1994; Smith and Fitzpatrick, 1995), social work (Berkman et al, 2000), and medicine (Candib, 2001)—recognize the importance of professional boundaries between helpers and their clients. Boundary discussions typically delineate between boundary violations and boundary crossings. "
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    ABSTRACT: Clinical nursing instructors and students spend considerable time together, and share clinical experiences that can be intense and emotionally charged. Yet despite clinical teaching being so commonplace, little is known about how clinical instructors experience relationships with their students, and how they negotiate interpersonal boundaries within these relationships. In-depth unstructured interviews were conducted with eight clinical nursing instructors in Western Canada, to explore how they defined and constructed interpersonal boundaries with their students during clinical nursing teaching rotations. The data analysis resulted in four major themes: "the fluidity of boundaries", "personal sharing and self-disclosure", "time dependent", and "the touchy topic of touch". All participants agreed that rigid boundaries were occasionally needed to prevent flagrant boundary violations, such as sexual relations with students. However, participants also stated that overall, the unique and complex nature of clinical teaching called for instructors to have fluid and flexible interpersonal boundaries with students. The nature of clinical nursing education may encourage instructors to form relationships with their students that are characterized by flexible and fluid interpersonal boundaries. Clinical nursing instructors may benefit from opportunities to dialogue with trusted colleagues about the unique nature of relationships and boundaries with students during clinical teaching.
    Nurse education in practice 12/2008; 9(6):356-60. DOI:10.1016/j.nepr.2008.10.008
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    • "Berkman el al. (2000) point out that although these terms are frequently used, they are not always clearly defined in professional codes of ethics for psychologists. According to Gechtman (1989, cited in Berkman et al., 2000) sexual contact includes one or more of the following activities: erotic fondling or petting, oral-genital stimulation of or by clients, and sexual intercourse. "
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    ABSTRACT: ENGLISH ABSTRACT: Sexual relationships in the psychotherapeutic setting have always been regarded as unethical and sexual attraction between therapist and client has generally proved to be awkward and anxiety provoking for those involved. Although research indicates that these relationships do occur, and that sexual feelings between therapists and clients are not infrequent, there is little conceptual clarity on the dynamics thereof. Consequently, the available guidelines and ethical rules regulating such sexual contact generally take the form of “thou shalt not…” and provide limited assistance to therapists in managing such situations in a manner that protects the integrity of the therapeutic relationship. This review assumes the presence of the psychodynamic phenomenon of transference in all psychotherapeutic relationships, and constructs sexual attraction and contact as the product of the sub-concept of erotic transference. Against this background, the review presents the dynamics of erotic transference in terms of its nature, impact and management. On this basis, current ethical codes and training issues are reviewed, guidelines for proper prevention and management are suggested and important directions for future research are identified. Thesis (MA (Psychology))--University of Stellenbosch, 2005.
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