The black and white and shades of grey of boundary violations

Gardner, Andrew, McCutcheon, Helen and Fedoruk, Maria (2015) The black and white and shades of grey of boundary violations. Collegian, 24 1: 45-51. doi:10.1016/j.colegn.2015.10.001

Author Gardner, Andrew
McCutcheon, Helen
Fedoruk, Maria
Title The black and white and shades of grey of boundary violations
Journal name Collegian   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1322-7696
Publication date 2015-11-14
Year available 2015
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1016/j.colegn.2015.10.001
Open Access Status Not yet assessed
Volume 24
Issue 1
Start page 45
End page 51
Total pages 7
Place of publication Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Publisher Elsevier
Language eng
Formatted abstract
Using a Constructivist Grounded Theory approach (Charmaz, 2006), this research examined the social construct of the “professional boundary” necessary in mental health therapeutic work and the problem of professional boundary violations in the therapeutic relationship. Thirteen mental health clinicians from various professional disciplines commonly found in mental health clinical practice responded to three specific questions designed to gain an understanding about how clinicians gauge the differences between minor and serious boundary violations. The three questions facilitated further exploration of boundary violations specifically to explore the difficulties of determining what is and what is not considered a boundary violation often resulting in polarised views or “black and white” descriptions and opinions. However many shades of grey were also revealed during the interviews.

Almost all participants rated intimacy or sexual contact with a client or an ex-client as being a serious boundary violation, on the other hand there was a great deal of variety in the examples offered as minor boundary violations. Whilst the “Black” is clearly defined by clinicians in this research, the “White” only seemed to create more “Grey” areas, with descriptions of behaviours that fell into the Grey area being more difficult to define.
Keyword Boundary violations
Constructivist Grounded Theory
Minor boundary violation
Serious boundary violation
Therapeutic relationship
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Provisional Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Official 2016 Collection
School of Nursing, Midwifery and Social Work Publications
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Created: Tue, 17 Nov 2015, 23:32:34 EST by Vicki Percival on behalf of School of Nursing, Midwifery and Social Work