Practice Guidelines

Law, rules and regulations, not Guidelines, specify the requirements for practice and violating them constitutes professional misconduct. Not adhering to this Guideline may be interpreted as professional misconduct only if the conduct also violates pertinent law, rules and regulations, some citations of which are listed at the end of this Guideline.

4. Maintaining Appropriate Professional Boundaries

It is your responsibility, not your client's, to maintain appropriate boundaries in your professional relationship. If a complaint is filed, it will be your responsibility to demonstrate that a client has not been exploited or coerced, intentionally or unintentionally.

Be especially vigilant regarding any conduct that could impair your objectivity and professional judgment in serving your client, and any conduct that carries the risk and/or the appearance of exploitation or potential harm to your client.

Recognize and avoid the dangers of dual relationships when relating to clients in more than one context, whether professional, social, educational, or commercial. Dual relationships can occur simultaneously or consecutively. Dual relationships include, but are not limited to:
  1. accepting as a client anyone with whom you have had a prior sexual relationship;
  2. forming a sexual relationship with a current client or someone who has been your client;
  3. treating clients to whom you are related by blood or legal ties;
  4. bartering with clients for the provision of services; and
  5. entering into financial relationships with clients other than their paying for your social work services.

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Citations of Pertinent Law, Rules or Regulations:

Last Updated: December 18, 2013