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Counsellor’s relationship with former patient (14HDC00525)
Download Counsellor’s relationship with former patient (14HDC00525) (PDF 119Kb)
(14HDC00525, 25 June
Counsellor ~ Professional boundaries ~ Inappropriate
relationship ~ Former patient ~ Code of Ethics ~ Right
A woman was referred to a counsellor, whom she saw in a
professional capacity on eight occasions. Both parties agree that
approximately two weeks after their counselling relationship ended,
they began a personal relationship. Both the counsellor and the
woman confirm that their relationship was sexual. Their
recollections regarding the dates that the personal relationship
began and ended differ.
During the course of the personal relationship, the counsellor
changed his employer. Neither employer had been aware of the
counsellor's relationship with the woman while the counsellor was
in their employment.
Approximately eight years later the woman complained to the
counsellor's current employer about the counsellor's previous
relationship with her. Following an internal investigation, the
counsellor resigned from his employment.
It was held that the counsellor acted unprofessionally and
unethically by failing to maintain appropriate boundaries and
engaging in a personal relationship with his former patient. The
counsellor failed to comply with professional and ethical standards
and, accordingly, he breached Right 4(2).
Neither employer was held vicariously liable for the
counsellor's breach of the Code.
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