Date of Award
Educational Leadership, Counseling, and Foundations
This study was designed to explore the acceptability of social, business, and romantic relationships in counselor-client, professor-student, and supervisor-supervisee relationships. In addition, the study sought to determine whether professors and doctoral students in CACREP-accredited counseling programs responded differently to ethical boundary issues, and whether the differences in relationships between professor-student, supervisor-supervisee, or counselor-client influenced their responses. The study examined and compared the responses of participants to boundary issues on three different surveys. The results of the study revealed that personal relationships between counselors and clients were perceived to be less acceptable than relationships between professors and students and supervisors and supervisees. Personal relationships between professors and students were perceived acceptable at the same level as relationships between supervisors and supervisees with relationships between counselors and clients perceived as least acceptable. This research study revealed a significant difference between perceptions of participants regarding the social, business, and romantic relationships. Participants perceived the social relationships to be most acceptable, the business relationships to be more acceptable at a moderate level, and the romantic relationships to be least acceptable. Counselor educators and counseling doctoral students agreed regarding personal relationships in counseling in all but one of the six areas that were studied. A significant difference was found between counselor educators and counseling doctoral students in relation to the perceptions of personal social relationships. Counselor educators perceived personal social relationships between counselors and clients, professors and students, and supervisors and supervisees to be more acceptable than did counseling doctoral students. This study found that, among counselor educators, as their ages increased, their mean score on the Counselor-Client Survey increased. This suggests that as the counselor educators' age increased, their perceptions that counselor-client personal relationships were acceptable increased as well. In addition, older counselor educators perceived romantic relationships to be more acceptable between counselors and clients, professors and students, and supervisors and supervisees. This study provided information regarding the perceptions counselor educators and counseling doctoral students hold regarding the acceptability of persona l relationships in counselor-client, professor-student, and supervisor-supervisee relationships. Additional research is needed to determine where the limits should be set for personal relationships (social, business, and romantic) between counselors and clients, professors and students, and supervisors and supervisees.
Thornton, Mark, "Personal Boundary Issues in Counselor-Client, Professor-Student, and Supervisor-Supervisee Relationships in Counseling" (2003). University of New Orleans Theses and Dissertations. 27.