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In a psychotherapeutic setting, however, they often take on deeper, symbolic meanings. Indeed, during therapy sessions, Lana sometimes found it easier to look at the sweater and think about Ruth in the abstract than to look Ruth in the eye.
To Ruth, offering her sweater seemed well within the limits of her professional role, demonstrating concern for Lana's welfare and making sure that therapy wouldn't come to a standstill because of her client's discomfort. One of the issues Lana was dealing with in therapy was her tendency in close relationships to "lose herself" in the other person.
After a short while, and after making sure that Gina had friends coming to see her, John left.
For Gina, John's visit meant that he cared about her and could appreciate the depth of her vulnerability and pain.
The individual therapist, in the sanctity of his office, often decides them alone.
That is why some therapists drink tea with their clients during sessions and others do not; some have family photos in view and others banish them; some will attend an occasional social function where a client is present, and others will leave a party if they spot a client across the room; some will hug routinely, some will hug only if asked, and some will flinch at even a handshake with a client.
There are too many things that can happen on a tennis court to jeopardize the core intent of the therapeutic relationship: watching the therapist lose his temper and behave irrationally, colliding with him and inadvertently hurting him, finding out that he has a tasteless tattoo or laughs at an offensive joke, and so on.
And no therapist could play a decent game and still keep his focus on protecting the client's interests.
Not only is an affair an ethical transgression on the part of the counselor, it is also often a psychological disaster for the patient.GINA, A YOUNG WOMAN IN HER 20s, who had been in therapy for about a year, was rushed to the hospital for emergency abdominal surgery.In response to her distressed phone call, John, her therapist, visited her the next day.But there are countless subtler--and no less consequential--boundary dilemmas that confound clients and therapists.
These dilemmas center around the smaller intimacies, even the commonplace courtesies, that normally mark people's everyday behavior.
For therapists--and clients--who are struggling with boundaries, the paramount question must be: Does this serve the patient's therapeutic interests?