1.) What are dual relationships? Why are these relationships considered harmful?
A dual relationship occurs when a psychotherapist acts as a therapist for a client but also assumes at least one other role. Usually the second fold of the relationship could be financial, social, professional or sexual.
Dual relationships between psychotherapists and clients have been criticized and discouraged by the majority of therapists, ethicists and licensing boards, to name just a few. The principle reason for this condemnation is that such relationships are considered harmful for clients and also impede the therapeutic process’ integrity.
At the centre of the concern is the matter of boundaries, as these are imperative to the ethos of therapy. According to industry professionals, problems with exploitation are also particularly valid, the concern being that therapists can easily use their position of authority to gain power in the second aspect of the relationship.
2.) How does an individual's understanding of psychotherapy vary across cultures? Provide an example in your response.
The concepts of mental distress and of psychotherapy can vary widely across cultures. Mental distress is not always viewed as an illness; there are many ways in which is can be seen. In some cultures, for example, it is seen a consequence of a defiance of a religious code. Therefore, therapists in culturally diverse societies need to be capable of adapting their methods and interventions. Psychotherapies that are centred around the needs of individual societies make use of their cultural fabrics; acknowledging and working with specific cultural beliefs can aid recovery.
American and Cameroon are examples of two countries with radically different attitudes towards mental distress. In many places within the U.S. it is common for an individual to have a therapist, even if they are not ‘unwell’. In some cultures within the African country of Cameroon, mental distress is seen as the work of the devil and, in some cases, the method of eradicating the problem is to apply small burns to the sufferers body.