When Attending a Marriage & Family Counselor Session What Constitutes a Conflict of Interest?
There are numerous instanced of what constitutes a conflict of interest in therapy. Just the same as medicine, treating particular patients is not always in the best interest of both the patient and therapist. A therapist, for example, would be in conflict when trying to counsel their own family members, just the same as a doctor is when treating illnesses of their own family, beyond that is, offering some basic care when necessary. The theory of therapy is a therapist will bring complete objectivity to their sessions, and this would not be possible if they know the person or persons very well.
These instances are referred to as nonsexual dual relationships; although they are not illegal, they are not always advisable. Additional ones where a conflict of interest could happen, are listed below.
A therapist and their client cultivate a friendship outside of their sessions, where they also have a business relationship.
A therapist and client reside together in small communities or are both in the same communal organizations.
A therapist works not just as a therapist for a client but could evaluate them in some way too.
This last is applicable in prisons and institutions, when a therapist may make judgments about a client’s future, and this type of relationship could occur in organizations which use a counselor for staff to go to.
Not all exterior relationships with a therapist pose a conflict of interest in therapy. For example, if a person goes to a church which their therapist also attends, this can be seen as harmless although it could affect a patient’s privacy or make them feel uncomfortable if they happen to meet their therapist at a social gathering. The therapist is bound by confidentiality and is unable to disclose a person is their client, which could be awkward. Another example is if the counselor is, in fact, a skilled marriage & family counselor, then the whole family would be able to see just one person, without it being a conflict of interest.