Maintaining Professional Boundaries in Interpersonal Work ... Maintaining Professional Boundaries in...

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  • Maintaining Professional Boundaries in Interpersonal Work

    Suffolk County Department of Health Services

    Division of Services to Children with Special Needs

    Laurie Baumann, M.S., BCBA JoAnn Scanlon, M.S., BCBA Barbara Falkman Michele Gentile, M.A., OTR/L George Heintz, M.S., SDA Kathy Junior, Ph.D. Jim Ciaravino, Ph.D. Sue Gerweck, Ph.D. Meryl Zaglin, Ed.D.

    A WORKSHOP PRESENTATION – February 2010

  • Too Much Baggage?

    Be aware of what exists

  • WHY ETHICS?

  • A Continuum of Professional Behavior Adapted by permission from Kelly Wolf, CASA of Santa Cruz County

    ZONE OF HELPFULNESS Where majority of client interactions should occur for effectiveness

    and client safety.

    UNDER-INVOLVED

    Distancing Disinterest Neglect

    OVER-INVOLVED

    Boundary Crossing Boundary Violations

  • What Are Professional Boundaries?

    Clearly established limits allowing for safe connection between service providers and their clients “Being with” the client, not becoming the client Being friendly, not friends Ability to know where you end and the client begins A clear understanding of the limits and responsibilities of the role of a service provider

  • The Importance of Boundaries

    Modeling healthy communication & professional relationships Avoiding the “rescuer” role Avoiding burn-out (“compassion fatigue”)

    o Stay focused on one’s responsibilities to the client

    o Open communication with other team members

    o Maintain physical and emotional safety

  • Creating and Maintaining Healthy Professional Boundaries

    Use professional judgment when interacting with client in social settings Supervisors should not accuse but use open-ended questions regarding clear boundaries Promote and model positive, open communication and respectful sharing of information with team members “Leave work at work”

  • Creating and Maintaining Healthy Professional Boundaries

    Establish clear agreements Address warning signs early Sharing personal information only related to goals Frequently clarify role and boundaries Utilize professional resources when there are questions regarding boundary issues

  • Signs that Boundary Issues May Be Present

    Client and service provider begin referring to each other as friends Service provider receives gifts or gives gifts to client Client has or is asking for significant personal information Client asks/expects to socialize outside of professional setting

  • Signs that Boundary Issues May Be Present

    Reveals excessive personal information to client Feelings of anxiety related to situation Offers assistance outside of role (staying later to watch child or transport family or child) Service provider finds him/herself “venting” with client about other team members

    Service Provider:

  • Signs that Boundary Issues May Be Present

    Refers to provider as their friend Gives gifts to the provider Asks for personal information, including home phone number. Expects provider to socialize with them outside professional setting

    Family:

  • Unclear Boundaries

    Self-Disclosure Gifts (greater than token value) Dual or Overlapping relationships Friendships Romantic Relationships

  • Difficult to Establish and Maintain Professional Boundaries? Why? Dual relationships the service provider and parent know each other from another setting

    Values Conflicts the family choices, history, relationships, feelings, lifestyle, etc. conflict with provider’s values and/or knowledge of best practice

    Vicarious trauma the provider experiences trauma symptoms from hearing the family experience. The providers may be triggered due to having a similar circumstance.

    Playing the “hero” role the provider may feel the need to “save” the family

    Poor teamwork service provider tries to take over for others – loses trust in other team members – wants to be the favorite

  • Consequences of Having Loose/Poor Boundaries

    Compassion fatigue- service provider’s role may not feel sustainable Potential for “splitting” on teams Client may feel betrayed, abandoned, and/or poorly served Service provider may act unethically

    The reputation of agency and/or professional may be compromised Service provider and/or client may be emotionally traumatized or put in physical danger

  • Some Techniques to Consider

    As early as possible, establish clear agreements with the family regarding your role as a service provider, your availability, and best ways to communicate with you. When boundary issues or warning signs appear, address these with the family quickly. Be sensitive to their feelings when doing this, emphasize the importance of and your commitment to maintaining healthy boundaries

  • Techniques….

    If you decide to tell a family something personal about yourself, ensure that the information is related to the family goals. Too much self-disclosure shifts the focus from the family to the service provider and can confuse the family in terms of roles and expectations of the relationship

  • Techniques…

    Realize that how a family interprets your words and actions might not match what you are trying to communicate. You may need to frequently clarify your role and boundaries and ask the family to repeat back what you said to ensure that they understand. This will also give the family an opportunity to ask clarifying questions Use your supervisor or professional colleagues as a sounding board when you have questions regarding boundaries.

    Maintaining Professional Boundaries in Interpersonal Work Too Much Baggage? WHY ETHICS? ���A Continuum of Professional Behavior�Adapted by permission from Kelly Wolf, CASA of Santa Cruz County ��ZONE OF HELPFULNESS� Where majority of client interactions should occur for effectiveness and client safety.������� What Are Professional Boundaries? The Importance of Boundaries Creating and Maintaining Healthy Professional Boundaries Creating and Maintaining Healthy Professional Boundaries Signs that Boundary Issues May Be Present Signs that Boundary Issues May Be Present Signs that Boundary Issues May Be Present Unclear Boundaries Difficult to Establish and Maintain Professional Boundaries? Why? Consequences of Having Loose/Poor Boundaries Some Techniques to Consider Techniques…. Techniques…