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Part 2 - Boundary Issues and Dual Relationships in the Human Services

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About the Course:

This book offers a frank analysis of a range of boundary issues that human-service practitioners may confront. The ethics of intimate relationships with clients and former clients is addressed, as well as the healthy parameters of practitioners’ self-disclosure, the giving and receiving of gifts and favors, and the unavoidable and unanticipated circumstances of social encounters and geographical proximity. With case studies addressing challenges in the mental health field, school contexts, child welfare, addiction programs, home health care, elder services, and prison, rural, and military settings, Dr. Reamer offers effective, practical risk-management models that prevent problems and help balance dual relationships Since the publication of the previous edition of Boundary Issues and Dual Relationships in the Human Services in 2012, digital technology has transformed how human-service professionals deliver services to clients. This third edition brings the book up to date, adding discussion of the ways in which practitioners’ online communications and technology-based relationships with clients can violate ethical standards and providing practical advice for how to resolve boundary issues. This course covers the last 4 chapters of the book, including chapters on personal benefit, altruism, unavoidable and unanticipated circumstances, and risk management guidelines and strategies.

This course is based on the book, Part 2 – Boundary Issues and Dual Relationships in the Human Services created by Frederic G. Reamer, Ph.D. in 2020.

Publication Date:

3rd Edition Nov 2020

Course Material Author

Frederic G. Reamer, Ph.D.

Frederic G. Reamer, Ph.D. is a professor at the School of Social Work at Rhode Island College. His research and teaching have addressed mental health, health care, criminal justice, and professional ethics. He has served as Director of the National Juvenile Justice Assessment Center of the U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention; Senior Policy Advisor to the Governor of Rhode Island; and as a Commissioner of the Rhode Island Housing and Mortgage Finance Corporation, the state housing finance agency. Reamer served on the State of Rhode Island Parole Board from 1992 to 2016. He also served as Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Social Work Education, Associate Editor of the National Association of Social Workers Encyclopedia of Social Work (20th edition), and currently serves on the Editorial Board of the Encyclopedia of Social Work Online. Reamer is the author of many books and articles. He chaired the national task force that wrote the current National Association of Social Workers Code of Ethics.

Course Creator

Elizabeth Mosco

Elizabeth Mosco, Ph.D. is a licensed psychologist in Reno, NV. She opened a private practice after 10 years of conducting home-based assessment and therapy with the VA Sierra Nevada Health Care System. Dr. Mosco’s clinical interests include maternal mental health, older adults, and third wave cognitive behavior therapies.

Course Objectives:

  1. Identify two boundary issues associated with bartering, business and financial relationships, advice and services, favors and gifts, and/or conflicts of interest.

  2. Summarize several risk management strategies to mitigate boundary issues associated with bartering, business and financial relationships, advice and services, favors and gifts, and conflicts of interest.

  3. Give 2 examples of boundaries issues that can arise because of practitioners’ genuinely altruistic instincts and gestures.

  4. Summarize several risk management strategies to mitigate boundary issues associated with practitioner altruism.

  5. Summarize several risk management strategies to mitigate boundary issues in unavoidable and unanticipated circumstances such as rural communities, the military, and social encounters.

  6. List 2 policies or guidelines for practice addressing relevant boundary issues (such as technology/social media).

  7. Identify when to seek collegial consultation in regard to boundary issues and dual relationships.

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American Academy of Health Care Providers in the Addictive Disorders (AAHCPAD)

5.5 CE Credit hours

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Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB ACE)

5.5 CE Credit hours

CE Learning Systems, LLC, provider #1020, is approved to offer social work continuing education by the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB) Approved Continuing Education (ACE) program. Organizations, not individual courses, are approved as ACE providers. State and provincial regulatory boards have the final authority to determine whether an individual course may be accepted for continuing education credit. CE Learning Systems, LLC maintains responsibility for this course. ACE provider approval period: 2/23/2019 – 2/23/2022. Social workers completing this course receive 5.5 continuing education credit(s).

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NAADAC, the Association for Addiction Professionals (NAADAC)

5.5 CE Credit hours

This course has been approved by CE Learning Systems, service provider of, as a NAADAC Approved Education Provider, for educational credits. NAADAC Provider #107243, CE Learning Systems is responsible for all aspects of their programming.

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National Association of School Psychologists (NASP)

5.5 CPD hours

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National Board for Certified Counselors (NBCC)

5.5 CE Credit hours

CE Learning Systems, service provider of has been approved by NBCC as an Approved Continuing Education Provider, ACEP No. 5951. Programs that do not qualify for NBCC credit are clearly identified. CE Learning Systems is solely responsible for all aspects of the programs.

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Course Material

References begin on page 249.

Exam Questions

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Course Number 103096
5.5 credit hours
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