Professional-client relationship refers to the dual relationship between a person who is a professional in a certain field and customers of their services. Professionals are held in high regard and are respected by the entire society. Therefore, the obligation of the professionals is to carry out their duties towards billions of people who require attentions with a sense of commitments without destructing the moral values of ethics. Some of the professional ethics that are required include being courteous, respectful, honest, transparent, accountable, trustworthy, and much more. The behavior of the professionals towards the clients should be responsible in all the aspects of the society and traditions that are acceptable in the communities in which they live. It is essential for the professionals to abide by their oaths, which require them to possess competency and mastery in their task. They must also be accountable to the community as well as maintain trust in the public. The quality of their work provides an effective conservation method of the community trust that they enjoy. However, there are social relationships which are complex with different levels of interactions, but there should exist a covenant that governs the extent of the relationship that exists between clients and professionals. This agreement will be significant in defining the difference in power between the customer and the professional in addition to allowing a better connection, which is the basis of the needs of the client. Freud and Sophie Krug argue that if the professional boundaries are maintained, the distance between the client and the professionals will be wider, which reduces their authenticity. Although the author's opinion is that the gap will enlarge has some truth in it, it is more likely that the boundaries in the relationship will not increase the actual distance. To the contrary, it will promote morality and ethics in the community.
The first reason why the boundaries of professional-client relationships should be maintained is that when a relationship starts to build up between the client and the specialist, the risk of customer exploitation becomes high. When the client and the professional get to learn about each other more, sometimes the professional may take advantage of different stressful situations of the client especially, especially if the client is of the opposite sex. This is nothing but sexual harassment, where the clients are demanded to meet some conditions for them to get the service. In a society the values of which are upright, the cases of sexual harassments are not acceptable because they are morally wrong. Freud and Krug may respond to this point by saying that cases of sexual harassment cannot occur if the client did not show any interest in the social worker. Perhaps the reason why they claim that is because they think cases of sexual harassment can not originate from a failure to maintain margins on the relationship. Many people strongly disagree with their view, because the moment the professional starts sharing meals and drinks with the client is when they can use a chance to express their feelings toward a client of the opposite sex. Although it is not morally wrong to share meals with customers in order to build a close relationship, there should be limits nonetheless. Either of the two should not request or agree to share alcoholic drinks, since under the influence of alcohol the possibility of going against societal ethics will be higher. Therefore, it is advised to hold on to the limitation of the relationship to avoid cases of sexual harassments (Weinberg & Campbell, 2014).
The second reason for supporting maintenance of the boundaries is because when the clients are allowed to make payments in any form some may offer to give their services in return for the one the professional gave them. Given that the clients are from different fields, for example, a masseuse making payments by giving massages, it will be reducing the respect that the professional has in the society. Freud and Krug contend that accepting exchange of goods for offered services by the professional is a necessary equalizer to make the client feel that he is not left in a one-down situation where he has nothing to offer. Perhaps, their point is based on the creation of a better environment to understand and assist the client through these exchanges of goods and services for the service offered by the professional. M disagree with their view, because if the client is a masseuse and in return for the service chooses to give a massage to the professional it is questionable whether this would be creating a real relationship or going beyond the expected limits. The general opinion is that such modes of payments are ethically wrong, because in such cases there will be no sense of power difference which is needed in professionalism to maintain trust in the community. Such kind of payments would not bring close the professional and the client, but they would be diminishing the respect and honor that the professionals have in the community. As a result, modes of payments should be confined to financial ones only to protect the reputation of the practitioners in the society.
The next reason to support the claim expressed in this paper is that when it comes to issues of touch it should only apply to special situations, because it can be used as the starting point of seduction. Cases like a doctor having to touch the patient are logical since their career requires one to make body contact at times. Body contact should, therefore, be limited to cases where it is necessary only, but not to every profession. Sophie Krug and Freud may claim that a touch to the client will be a sign of concern and hospitality to the client. They say this from a point of view that it is a part of professionalism to make the client feel cared for by the specialist attending to them. Further, they claim that not all kinds of touch are necessarily a sexual contact (Freud & Krug, 2002). The reasoning is flawed since the best way to express concern will be dealing with the issue of the client in the best way. It cannot be assumed that the touches are some of the best methods to tempt the client. Due to the respect from the society for their abilities, such relationships will diminish the sense of professionalism that the community has entrusted to them. To maintain the desired ethics in the society, boundaries on body contacts should be preserved.
The fourth reason to support the idea is the view that if the professional-client boundaries are ignored, the professionals will find themselves performing their duties in satisfaction of their interests rather than the client's interests as expected from them. The results will include disregarding other people who want their help and giving priority to the individual of interest. It is true that friendship can make a professional fail to attend to their duties and instead go to family functions of certain clients. These are late stages of failure to manage the boundaries in the early stages of the relationship. From the society's point of view, it is unethical to disregard your duties because a particular person or individual family of interest. Having that in mind, the need to define and maintain boundaries is evident (Lehavot, Barnett, & Powers, 2010). The opponent's way of thinking is subjective, since they claim there is nothing wrong with attending the family functions of a certain client. The reason for their view is because the society demands a good relationship between people. Their idea in respect to the community needs is viable, but the professional may fail to attend to other clients because of the self-interest to a particular person. There is an imbalance to the clients in the process of trying to create a more close relationship with some clients. Inasmuch as the society demands good relations, it is also unethical to disregard duties; hence, their view is partially correct.
Besides, if the relationship is not checked, there is a possibility that the professional may try to cheat on the client. For example, if it is a doctor-patient relationship, the doctor may cheat the patient on how dangerous is the sickness with an expectation that the client will be forced to request more time with the doctor and in turn the doctor takes the advantage. This could be prevented by making sure that the professional does not get to a situation where they will cheat the client while expecting some favor from them. Freud and Krug may try to refute this stand on maintaining boundaries with a view that there are certain situations that require judgments without consideration of the existing boundaries. This is because the professionals are trained to produce particular outcomes irrespective of whether they will cause moral precedence over other society roles. They argue that a doctor may be forced to give the wrong information to the patient if they are convinced that sharing the real information will lead to adverse effects to the patient. However, the general opinion is that lying to patients is disrespectful, because it means they are denied information that may be very crucial or may have a great impact on their personal lives. They connect this to the argument by saying that the doctor can only know the patient well if there is a close relationship between them. Their idea is correct, but the reasoning behind it is wrong. The reason is because professionals are well trained in such a way that they do not require so many interactions with the client before knowing which solution will work the best. Having open relationships has its contributions to the matter at hand between the professional and the client, but they forget that the argument does not restrict professionals from relating to their clients. Instead, it is focused on maintaining the boundaries to promote the ethics of the society (Dent & Whitehead, 2013).
Furthermore, throughout the career, it is essential for professionals to earn and maintain respect, trust, as well as confidence among the clients. How will this be practical if there is favoring of some clients due to the existing relationship? This is the question that should be directed to both Krug and Freud in their opposite ideas of having no connection boundaries. The strategy of earning the named qualities is a process that requires treatments of all clients equally. This will only be possible if there are set limits on association with clients. Otherwise, it will not be possible to earn a good reputation from consumers or beneficiaries of professionalism (Brooks & Dunn, 2011). The opponents may respond to the question posed above by saying that trust, confidence, and respect is earned from the way the professional utilizes they skills on meeting the needs of the client. However, their response is based on assumptions that clients do not care, provided they get the assistance they wanted from the professional. It is an assumption based on clients getting a chance later to share information on how their cases were handled. As a result, if unfairness is detected by the clients, they will lose the trust in the professional. It is, therefore, crucial to have boundaries which will go a long way in helping the proficient regulation of delivery of services to all, since nepotism or favoring something that is not morally upright. This means that throughout the career the professional will have a good reputation in the community if the boundaries are maintained. It would be, therefore, wrong for opponents to assume that clients don't consider how the professional treats others.
Besides, it is true that throughout the career of offering services, there are client's stories that are very sympathetic as well as terrifying to the professional. Many of the clients especially in the field of counseling are those, who have undergone painful issues. Some have been exposed to abuse, abandonment, and many other forms of mishandling. Some even report on having intimacy challenges due to past stressful situations. In such cases the professionals, mostly those who deal with counseling, may have not done away with the baggage they brought in their professions. Therefore, the nature of similar situations of the clients may become quite fuzzy. At this point of blurred emotions, if the relationship boundaries are not checked, the professional may start hurting the client by revealing their personal painful experiences. So instead of helping the client, another baggage is added on to them (Doel, Allmark, Conway, Cowburn, Flynn, Nelson, & Tod, 2010). It is for this reason that the idea of having boundaries with the clients has to be supported. This way, no matter which issue is brought up, it will be possible to deal with it without consideration of similar situations that may have occurred to the professional in the past. Freud and Krug would still argue that sharing personal experiences with the clients is a step toward solving the problem of the client. They think so, because they believe that by finding out that the professionals has faced the same difficult situation the client is facing will give hope and a feeling of relieve to the client. Their way of reasoning should be accepted here for the sake of an argument. It may sound good to share personal experiences with the client, but when the information concerns matters of intimacy or family issues that are secretive it is less beneficial. Such situations only lead to questioning of the professional ability to handle the matter at a personal level. It will be better to apply some limits in the process of sharing life experiences to maintain the honor and respect in the community. Furthermore, sharing family issues with the public is morally wrong since family challenges should remain a secret within the family.
In conclusion, having discussed the needs and possible effects on the society ethics in cases when the professional-client relationship is not well managed, it is illogical for Freud and Krug to say that applying boundaries will lead to bigger distance between the professional and the clients. Maintaining boundaries has significant effects on the morals of the society. Exploitation of the clients at the expense of building a relationship with the clients is unacceptable despite all costs. Boundaries will ensure a better delivery of services. Therefore, it should be promoted.
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