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Dual Roles and Multiple Relationships in Higher Educational, Universities & Academic Settings, and Training Institutions

Resources

By Ofer Zur, Ph.D.
 

This page provides resources regarding the ethics of teacher-therapist Dual Roles (student-patient dual roles), teacher-supervisor dual roles, and sexual dual relationships between teachers or supervisors and students in educational and training institutions and academic settings.

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Zur Institute is approved by the American Psychological Association to sponsor continuing education for psychologists. Zur Institute maintains responsibility for this program and its content.

 

 

 

Overview

Although the occurrence of many dual relationships with clients can be avoided, this is not the case with many of the relationships between graduate students and educators. Unlike client-therapist relationships, training relationships are intrinsically multifaceted and by their nature consist of overlapping roles with various expectations, responsibilities, and obligations. For instance, faculty members are not only responsible for imparting knowledge and evaluating students on that knowledge, but typically also serve as advisors, supervisors, and mentors for students. Faculty members tend to play a role in hiring students for assistantships and in selecting students for awards, scholarships, grants, and professional opportunities. Additionally, it is not uncommon for faculty members and students to work together on research projects, co-author articles/presentations, and interact in professional and social settings outside of the immediate training environment. Each of these roles entails various obligations and responsibilities that have the potential to be in competition with one another. For example, faculty members are obligated to enhance the welfare and development of students and to protect the public from incompetent or unethical professionals. In the case of responsible and ethical students who are developing appropriate skills, these obligations are likely compatible. However, in the case of students who are not developing the skills needed to practice responsibly and competently, the welfare of the student and that of the public diverges. As the disparity between expectations and obligations associated with the various roles increases, the risk for harm and the burden placed on academic psychologists to make ethically responsible decisions also increases. Moreover, as Kitchener (2000) notes, balancing and managing the overlapping roles inherent in these relationships is not only taxing for those in positions of training students, but also can create distress and confusion for students who must respond congruently to shifting roles with faculty.

Kemper, K.P. (2007) The Effect of Ethical Climate and Faculty Student Relationships on Graduate Student Stress – Dissertation. P. 3-4.

 

Multiple Relationships and Multiple Roles in Teaching of Didactic and Experiential Group Counseling in a University Setting

A more specific type of multiple relationships takes place in higher education settings when the program combines didactic instruction and participation in an experiential group. While it is not uncommon practice to include both didactic and experiential aspects of learning in group work courses, doing so requires a high level of professionalism and awareness of the complexities of the multiple roles involved on the part of instructors teaching these courses. Informing students ahead of time of this group learning experience, which is likely to involve a high level of self-disclosure, is an important ethical mandate. It is also of paramount importance that group work educators are aware of the potential benefits and risks inherent in multiple roles and multiple relationships in teaching these kind of group courses, and that they effectively go through the informed consent process and communicate these potential benefits and risks to their students. It is also important that they acquire the necessary competence to navigate these roles and relationships in a manner that enhances their students' personal and professional development. More resources on this topic

 

Online Resources

 

Additional Resources on Multiple Roles in Academic Settings

  • Aultman, L.P., Williams-Johnson, P.A. & Schutz,P.A. (2009. Boundary dilemmas in teacher-student relationships: Struggling with ‘the line'. Teaching and Teacher Education, 25/5, 636–646.
  • Barnett, J. E. (2008). Mentoring, boundaries, and multiple relationships: Opportunities and challenges. Mentoring & Tutoring: Partnership in Learning, 16, 3-16.
  • Bass, B. (1970). The dual role of practitioner and member if the academic community. Professional Psychology, 1, 282-283
  • Blevins-Knabe, B. (1992). The Ethics of Dual Relationships in Higher Education, Ethics and Behavior, 2, 151–163.
  • Borders, L. D., Wester, K. L., Granello, D. H., Chang, C. Y., Hays, D. G., Pepperell, J., & Spurgeon, S. L. (2012). Association for Counselor Education and Supervision guidelines for research mentorship: development and implementation. Counselor Education and Supervision, 51(3), 162–175.
  • Bowman, V.E., L.D. Hatley, and R.L. Bowman. 1995. Faculty–student relationships: The dual role controversy. Counselor Education and Supervision 34: 232–42.
  • Branch, K. A., Hayes-Smith, R., & Richards, T. N. (2011). Professors’ experiences with student disclosures of sexual assault and intimate partner violence: how "helping" students can inform teaching practices. Feminist Criminology, 6, 54–75.
  • Burian, B. K., & Slimp, A. O. (2000). Social dual-role relationships during internship: A decision-making model. Professional Psychology: Research and Practice, 31, 332-338.
  • Carr, H & Gidman, J. (2012). Juggling the dual role of practitioner and educator: practice teachers' perceptions. Community Practitioner, 85/2, pp. 23-26(4)
  • Corey, G., Haynes, R., Moulton, P., & Muratori, M. (2010). Clinical Supervision in the Helping Professions. (2nd ed.). Alexandria, VA: American Counseling Association.
  • Cornell, W. F. (1994) Dual Relationships in Transactional Analysis: Training, Supervision, and Therapy. Transactional Analysis Journal, 24, 21-20.
  • Gottlieb, M. C., Robinson, K., & Younggren, J. N. (2007). Multiple relations in supervision: Guidance for administrators, supervisors, and students. Professional Psychology: Research and Practice, 38, 241-247.
  • Harris, R. (2002). On dual relationships in university counseling center Environments. In A. A. Lazarus & O. Zur (Eds.). Dual Relationships and Psychotherapy. New York, NY: Springer Publishing Co.
  • Harry, J. A. (1994) How personal can training get? Journal of Marital and Family Therapy, 20/1, 3, 15.
  • Herlihy, B., & Corey, G. (2015). Boundary Issues in Counseling: Multiple Roles and Responsibilities (3rd ed.). Alexandria, VA: American Counseling Association.
  • Holmes, D. L., Rupert, P.A., Ross, S. A. & Shapera. W. E. (1999). "Student perceptions of dual relationships between faculty and students," Ethics & Behavior, 9/2, 79–106.
  • Hyman, S. M. (2002). The Shirtless Jock Therapist and the Bikini-Clad Client: An Exploration of Chance Extratherapeutic Encounters. In A. A. Lazarus & O. Zur (Eds.). Dual Relationships and Psychotherapy. New York, NY: Springer Publishing Co.
  • Iosupovici, M., M.S.W., & Luke, E. (2002), College and University Student Counseling Centers: Inevitable Boundary Shifts and Dual Roles. In A. A. Lazarus & O. Zur (Eds.). Dual Relationships and Psychotherapy. New York, NY: Springer Publishing Co.
  • Johnson, W. B. (2007). On Being a Mentor: A Guide for Higher Education Faculty. Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.
  • Julius A. et al., (2017). Multiple Relationships and Multiple Roles in Higher Education: Maintaining Multiple Roles and Relationships in Counselor Education. In Zur, O. (Ed.) Multiple Relationships in Psychotherapy and Counseling: Unavoidable, Common and Mandatory Dual Relations in Therapy. New York: Routledge.
  • Knabe, B. (1992). The ethics of dual relationships in higher education. Ethics & behavior, 2, 151-163
  • Kolbert, J., Morgan, B., & Brendel, J. (2002). Faculty and student perceptions of dual relationships within counselor education: A qualitative analysis. Counselor Education and Supervision, 41(3), 193-206.
  • Koocher, G. P. & Keith-Spiegel, P., (2017). Multiple Relationships in Educational Settings. In Zur, O. (Ed.) Multiple Relationships in Psychotherapy and Counseling: Unavoidable, Common and Mandatory Dual Relations in Therapy. New York: Routledge.
  • Koocher, G. P., & Keith-Spiegel, P. C. (2016). Ethics in Psychology and the Mental Health Professions: Professional Standards and Cases (4th ed.). New York: Oxford University Press.
  • Lewin, M. (1970). The dual role of practitioner and member of the academic community. Professional Psychology: Research and Practice, 1, 279-280
  • Malesky, L. A. & Peters, C. (2012). Defining Appropriate Professional Behavior for Faculty and University Students on Social Networking Websites Higher Education. The International Journal of Higher Education and Educational Planning, 63, 135-151
  • Oberlander, S.E., & Barnett, J.E. (2005). Multiple relationships between graduate assistants and students: ethical and practical considerations. Ethics and Behavior, 15, 49-63.
  • Owen, P. R., & Zwahr-Castri, J. (2007). Boundary issues in academia: student perceptions of faculty–student boundary crossings. Ethics and Behavior, 17, 117–129.
  • Pepper, R. (2007). Too Close for Comfort: The Impact of Dual Relationships on Group Therapy and Group Therapy Training. International Journal of Group Psychotherapy, 57/1, 13-24.
  • Perrewe, P. L., Zellars, K. L., Rogers, L. M., Breaux, D. M., & Young, A. M. (2010). Mentors gone wild! When mentoring relationships become dysfunctional or abusive. In C. Schriesheim & L. Neider (Eds.), The "Dark" Side of Management (pp. 1–25). Charlotte, NC: Information Age Publishing.
  • Plaut, S.M. 1993. Boundary issues in teacher–student relationships. Journal of Sex and MaritalTherapy, 19,/3: 210–19.
  • Rupert, P.A., and D.L. Holmes. 1997. Dual relationships in the higher education: Professional and institutional guidelines. Journal of Higher Education, 68/3: 660–78.
  • Scarboroug, J. L, Bernard, J. m. & Morse, R. E. (2006) Boundary Considerations Between Doctoral Students and Master's Students. Counseling and Values, 51/1, 53–65.
  • Shore, W. J., Toyokawa, T., & Anderson, D. D. (2008). Context-specific effects on reciprocity in mentoring relationships: ethical implications. Mentoring and Tutoring: Partnership in Learning, 16, 17–29.
  • Slimp, P. A. O., & Burian, B. K. (1994). Multiple role relationships during internship: Consequences and recommendations. Professional Psychology: Research and Practice, 25, 39-45.
  • Sugimoto, C., Hank, F., Bowman, T. & and Pomerantz, J. (2015). Friends or Faculty: Social networking sites, dual relationships, and context collapse in higher education. First Monday, 20/3

 

Additional Resources on Multiple Relationships in Experiential Teaching Higher Education

  • Association for Specialists in Group Work. (2000). Professional standards for the training of group workers. The Group Worker, 29(3), 1–10.
  • Corey, G. et al., (2017). Multiple Relationships and Multiple Roles in Higher Education: Teaching Group Counseling with a Didactic and Experiential Focus. In Zur, O. (Ed.) Multiple Relationships in Psychotherapy and Counseling: Unavoidable, Common and Mandatory Dual Relations in Therapy. New York: Routledge.
  • Corey, G. (2015). Combining didactic and experiential approaches to teaching a group counseling course. In B. Herlihy, & G. Corey, G. (2015b). Boundary issues in counseling: Multiple roles and responsibilities (3rd ed., pp. 177-183). Alexandria, VA: American Counseling Association.
  • Corey, M. S., Corey, G., & Corey, C. (2014). Groups: Process and Practice (9th ed.). Boston, MA: Cengage Learning.
  • Englar-Carlson, M. (2015). An experiential approach to teaching group counseling. In B. Herlihy, & G. Corey, G. (2015b). Boundary issues in counseling: Multiple roles and responsibilities (3rd ed., pp. 171-177). Alexandria, VA: American Counseling Association.
  • Goodrich, K. M. (2008). Dual relationships in group training. Journal for Specialists in Group Work, 33(3), 221–235.
  • Herlihy, B., & Corey, G. (2015). Boundary Issues in Counseling: Multiple Roles and Responsibilities (3rd ed.). Alexandria, VA: American Counseling Association.
  • Ieva, K. P., Ohrt, J. H., Swank, J. M., & Young, T. (2009). The impact of experiential groups on master’s students counselor and personal development: a qualitative investigation. Journal for Specialists in Group Work, 34(4), 351–368.
  • McCarthy, C. J., Falco, L. D., & Villalba, J. (2014). Ethical and professional issues in experiential growth groups: Moving forward. Journal for Specialists in Group Work, 39(3), 186-193.
  • Ohrt, J. H., Frier, E., Porter, J., & Young, T. (2014). Group leader reflection on their training and experience: Implications for group counselor educators and supervisors. Journal for Specialists in Group Work, 39(2), 95-124.
  • Shumaker, D., Ortiz, C., & Brenninkmeyer, L. (2011). Revisiting experiential group training in counselor education: A survey of master/s-level programs. Journal for Specialists in Group Work, 36(2), 111–128.
  • St. Pierre, B. K. (2014). Student attitudes and instructor participation in experiential groups. Journal for Specialists in Group Work, 39(3), 194-211.
  • Stockton, R., Morran, K., & Chang, S. (2014). An overview of current research and best practices for training beginning group leaders. In J. L. DeLucia-Waack, C. R. Kalodoner, & M. T. Riva (Eds.). Handbook of Group Counseling and Psychotherapy (2nd ed., pp. 133–145). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

Extensive Reference List on Dual and Multiple Relationships in Psychotherapy & Counseling

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