- Center for Ethical Practice - https://centerforethicalpractice.org -

Deliberate Dual Relationships: Ethical Responsibility to Anticipate Harm

Ethics Codes specify that not all dual relationships are unethical. When must we say “no?” When do we have no choice? When are we free to say “yes?” Before we voluntarily create a dual relationship, or if we enter one “involuntarily” because required by law or by agency policies, what are our ethical responsibilities for evaluating/anticipating the potential for harm – or the perception of harm?


I. Ethical Standards About Dual Relationships

II. Licensing Board Regulations About Dual Relationships

III. Ethical Decision Making About Voluntary Dual Relationships

A. Deciding When to Say “No”

Evaluating the Potential for Exploitation

Evaluating the Potential for Harm

Anticipating the Potential for “Perception of Harm”

B. Considering When To Say “Yes”

Wearing Dual/Multiple Clinical Hats?

Adding Non-Clinical Role to Existing Clinical Role?

Adding Clinical Role to Existing Non-Clinical Role?

IV. Ethical Responses to “Involuntary” Dual Relationships

A. Legally-Imposed Dual Roles/Relationships

B. Agency/Employer-Required Dual Relationships