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An Ethical Dilemma: When Therapy Clients Give Gifts

Reconciling Boundaries with the Therapeutic Alliance

Jenny Newsome • 4/22/2015

When I was young and only three years out of graduate school, one of my first private clients came into a session carrying a small package simply wrapped in brown paper and string. The memory of that package and how I reacted to it haunts me still. Inside, was a necklace, and not just any necklace: a gold chain with a diamond pendant that she had designed herself, worth about $500. I told her flatly that accepting something so expensive was against the ethical rules of my profession. Suddenly, I'd allowed other voices into the sanctuary of our therapy. Once they were there, I couldn't get them out.

Daily Blog
Copyright:
2/13/2013
Authors:
MARY JO BARRETT, MSW
 
OFER ZUR, PHD
 
LINDA STONE FISH, MSW, PHD
 
ARNOLD A. LAZARUS, PHD, ABPP
 
KATY BUTLER, MA
 
JAN MICHAEL SHERMAN, MA
 
JANINE ROBERTS, EDD
 
JAY EFRAN, PH.D.
 
JENNY NEWSOME
 
MICHAEL F. HOYT, PHD
 
SUSAN ROWAN
Product:
NRC095556

The Necklace

When Does a Rule Become a Straightjacket

Jenny Newsome • 3/2/2002

When I was young and only three years out of graduate school, one of my first private clients came into a session carrying a small package simply wrapped in brown paper and string. The memory of that package and how I reacted to it haunts me still.

Magazine Article
Page 1 of 1 (3 Items)
Copyright:
2/13/2013
Authors:
MARY JO BARRETT, MSW
 
OFER ZUR, PHD
 
LINDA STONE FISH, MSW, PHD
 
ARNOLD A. LAZARUS, PHD, ABPP
 
KATY BUTLER, MA
 
JAN MICHAEL SHERMAN, MA
 
JANINE ROBERTS, EDD
 
JAY EFRAN, PH.D.
 
JENNY NEWSOME
 
MICHAEL F. HOYT, PHD
 
SUSAN ROWAN
Product:
NRC095556
Page 1 of 1

An Ethical Dilemma: When Therapy Clients Give Gifts

Reconciling Boundaries with the Therapeutic Alliance

Jenny Newsome • 4/22/2015

When I was young and only three years out of graduate school, one of my first private clients came into a session carrying a small package simply wrapped in brown paper and string. The memory of that package and how I reacted to it haunts me still. Inside, was a necklace, and not just any necklace: a gold chain with a diamond pendant that she had designed herself, worth about $500. I told her flatly that accepting something so expensive was against the ethical rules of my profession. Suddenly, I'd allowed other voices into the sanctuary of our therapy. Once they were there, I couldn't get them out.

Daily Blog
Page 1 of 1

The Necklace

When Does a Rule Become a Straightjacket

Jenny Newsome • 3/2/2002

When I was young and only three years out of graduate school, one of my first private clients came into a session carrying a small package simply wrapped in brown paper and string. The memory of that package and how I reacted to it haunts me still.

Magazine Article
Page 1 of 1
"Jenny Newsome" is the pseudonym of an experienced cognitive-behavioral therapist on the Eastern Seaboard.