Boundaries and Self-Care in Clinical Practice

timer Asked: Oct 10th, 2018
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Question description

In order to be effective in applying the methods and techniques of clinical psychologists, practitioners must make use of their own personalities and behaviors to develop an effective working alliance with clients. Two critical aspects that guide practitioners are boundaries and self-care. Boundaries involve the understanding and maintenance of personal and professional boundaries of behavior between practitioner and client. An important boundary is not allowing multiple relationships, as these can be harmful to the client. Self-care involves taking care of oneself in order to avoid burn-out from long hours of working with clients who are often seeking treatment for intense problems. Self-care is important for all practitioners, yet is especially important for practitioners who work with survivors of trauma. Without proper self-care, practitioners who work with this population may suffer from secondary traumatic stress and/or vicarious trauma.

The assignment: (34 pages)

  • Describe ethical boundaries in clinical psychology and explain why they are important to the profession.
  • Explain the importance of self-care for professional psychologists and professional psychology students.
  • Develop a plan of self-care that you will utilize while completing this professional psychology program.

Tutor Answer

School: New York University

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Boundaries and Self-Care in Clinical Practice
Institution Affiliation


Practitioner-client relationships in the field of clinical psychology are intimate, but at the
same time, very fragile. The client gets to share personal and intimate details of their lives, and to
apply the methods and techniques of the trade effectively, the psychologist has to tap into their
own personalities and behaviors in developing an effective working alliance with the client
(Kitchener & Anderson, 2014). Defining a standard nature of these relationships presents
problems. But even more difficult is the task of defining boundaries between these relationships.
For instance, it is appropriate for a client to share an intimate piece of information during
therapy, but it becomes questionable when a therapist shares a personal detail with the client
(Kitchener & Anderson, 2014). According to Kitchener and Anderson (2011), boundaries in
clinical psychology entail not just a physical aspect, but an emotional, and psychological aspect
as well. Above all, the practitioner-client relationship must focalize at maintaining (achieving)
the wellbeing of the client which is the professional responsibility the psychologist. A loss of
focus on this responsibility subsequently blur...

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