Boundaries Issues


Boundaries refer to the basis under which a caseworker and clientinteract. They ensure that the relationship amid the parties remainsprofessional, in addition to setting the restrictions for thedelivery of psychological services. However, during the interactionof the caseworker and client, it is possible for either party tocross boundaries. Crossing boundaries happens when either the clientor caseworker engages in actions, which are not in line with thesupposed professional standards. The outcome is ethical violations.The paper describes a boundary issues situation where the caseworkercrosses boundaries leading to ethical violation.


A caseworker has been dealing with a client that has hadrelationship issues. The client explains that in her previousrelationship she has had to deal with an abusive partner. She seekshelp because the relationship has had a negative impact on herself-esteem, causing her to feel unwanted. As the caseworkerprogresses to work with the client, he realizes that she is a goodperson that simply fell in love with the wrong person. One eveningthe caseworker bumps into the client in a grocery store. Afterexchanging the normal greeting, the caseworker progresses to invitethe client for dinner, which she gladly accepts. This happens for afew nights and their client-caseworker relationship develops outsidethe line of work. The caseworker actively seeks time to be togetherwith the client away from the professional setting.

The situation is an illustration of a boundary issue resulting inthe violation of ethics. Boundaries ensure that the relationship amida caseworker and their client is professional, in addition to beingsafe (Corey, Corey &amp Callanan, 2011). It outlines the parametersfor delivering psychological services. When the caseworker seeks moretime away from the professional setting, it is apparent that theintention is to create a relationship, which is not professional.Thus, is violating the ethics under which to work. A caseworker isdisallowed from forming any close relationship with their clients,when the relationship is unrelated to the client’s reasons forseeking the help. It is apparent that the caseworker is not merelyinterested in helping the client deal with their self-esteemproblems. Rather, has developed an attraction towards the client,which is unethical. A caseworker is expected to avoid befriendingclients, which involves avoiding socializing like going on outingstogether. The caseworker and client have already become friends,which may escalate into possibly a stronger relationship.

It is possible to solve the ethical violation. The caseworker oughtto be reminded that it is not lawful to befriend a client. It isspecifically worse when there is a possibility that the relationshipmay escalate to something bigger. Action taken should be changing thecaseworker to a different one. In this case, the caseworker has beenin contact with the client in an unprofessional setting for manytimes. It makes it obvious that the client and caseworker alreadyhave a relationship, which is not related to their professionalreasons. If the client progresses to work with the caseworker chancesare, they will not get the needed professional assistance.


There are many ways a caseworker’s actions result in ethicalviolation. When a caseworker progresses to form a relationship withtheir client, it becomes an ethical infringement. A caseworker andclient are only expected to have a professional relationship unlikein the issue described where the caseworker seeks more time to bewith the client.


Corey, G., Corey, M. S., Callanan, P. (2011). Issues and ethics inthe helping professions. New York: Cengage Learning.