Professional Boundaries & Setting Expectations

As mental health professionals, it is crucial to respect a client’s self-determination, and his/hers own pace of achievement when goal setting. This might be difficult to respect at times since we want the best for clients. Remember to refrain one’s self, and view what is occurring through a client’s eyes.

Our well-meant intentions might turn out more harmful than beneficial. As a result, we might hurt the working relationship we have developed with the client. A working relationship is built upon trust and positive regard to form a strong foundation. Harm that causes cracks to this strong foundation might lead to further crumbling. This is why expectations contracted between both parties are crucial to establish at the beginning of the working process. Expectations are established to create boundaries, and remind both parties of the role responsibilities. Boundaries are essential to uphold especially when working with human beings where emotions, personal disclosure, and traumatic experiences disclosed may influence your professional judgement.

It is important to seek support from an appropriate party such as  a supervisor, coworker, professor, or professional mentor if you feel your judgment is clouded, transference has occurred, etc.. We owe it to our clients to stay professional and to not cause harm during the working process.

Written by Audrey Haven, LMSW
SJ Staff Writer

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