Journal Article

Dual Relationships: Personal and Professional Boundaries in Rural Social Work

Richard Pugh

in The British Journal of Social Work

Published on behalf of British Association of Social Workers

Volume 37, issue 8, pages 1405-1423
Published in print December 2007 | ISSN: 0045-3102
Published online September 2006 | e-ISSN: 1468-263X | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/bjsw/bcl088
Dual Relationships: Personal and Professional Boundaries in Rural Social Work

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Social workers in rural areas often live and work in the communities that they serve. Consequently, they may have, or later develop, dual relationships with service users. These ‘out of hours’ connections raise some complex issues about how social workers conduct their practice and comport themselves socially within the wider community. This paper reviews the notion of dual relationships and assesses the schema proposed for assessing their ethical probity. Its conclusion is that the practical realities of rural practice challenge absolutist conceptions of confidentiality and undermine assumptions of objectivity and neutrality in professional stance.

Keywords: dual relationships; confidentiality; rural social work

Journal Article.  8512 words. 

Subjects: Social Work

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