This book addresses boundary violations through the lens of the professional-client relationship, drawing examples of misconduct from law, medicine, religion, education and psychotherapy.
The first three chapters cover the social context of the relationship, the inherent power differential that delineates the relational boundaries, and professionals’ difficulty with managing that power appropriately. Also discussed are the four characteristics of a boundary violation—a reversal of roles, a secret, a double bind, and an indulgence of professional privilege—and the damage to the client. Throughout the book, clients share their stories of violations—sometimes blatant, often subtle—in relationships. These vignettes, along with Peterson’s engaging style, transform ethics from dry, abstract, and theoretical principles to vital struggles to understand and appropriately manage power with clients.