Boundary Issues
There are positives and negatives to every situation. Dual relationships are one of these situations that have either good or bad outcomes. It depends on the people involved and their values and beliefs. The following will show cases of both positive and negative situations, which human service workers engage in dual relationships with their clients. Example 1: Tammy has cerebral palsy and been in a wheelchair most of her life. She has had only two relationships with men because of her condition and insecurities. The level of severity of her condition prevents her from driving and therefore, she relies on an agency to provide her with transportation to medical appointments. Twice a week for the last three years she has used the same agency to get to these appointments. Kyle, a driver for this company has gotten to know Tammy well in this time as he is mostly the one to pick her up. He knows from talking to her that she has self-esteem issues and begins flirtatious conversations with her and eventually gives her his phone number. He tells Tammy to call him if she needs anything. Tammy believes she can trust him and calls him in an emergency one night when she fell. He comes out to help her and an intimate relationship begins. Tammy thinks of him as her boyfriend and starts calling him daily. Kyle ignores most of her calls and gives excuses later when he wants a sexual encounter with her. Kyle has used his position to take advantage of Tammy for his own selfish needs. Example 2: Kara was in an accident that left her quadriplegic. For many years her insurance has had a waiver program to pay for health care aids. Her health care aids Molly and Georgia assist her with things such as getting in and out of bed, showering, dressing, cooking, and cleaning. Even though Kara was close with both of her aids, Molly had become her best friend. When there was a mistake in Kara’s paperwork, insurance would cover her.

This meant there would be no waiver program to pay her health care aids. Although Georgia would call to check on Kara until the mistake was straighten out, Georgia never took personal time to go visit Kara. Molly, on the other hand, knew there was no way Kara would be able to care for herself. It could take a long time to fix the problem to get Kara’s insurance back. Molly would come out to Kara’s in the mornings to get her out of bed and dressed. She would return in the evening to put Kara to bed. Three times a week Molly would come out to Kara’s to help her shower and prepare meals, which she stored in the refrigerator and Kara could reheat in the microwave later. Molly also knew that Kara had no aid services she was very lonely and would come out a couple of times a week with her son to visit. Molly did this on her own personal time without expecting anything in return. These two scenarios show how a situation can vary, depending on the beliefs, values, morals, and motifs of the people involved. Dual relationship can work but only if the people involved know where one relationship ends, and the next begins. They must never allow themselves to take advantage of the situation or someone to take advantage them. Boundaries must be set that cannot cross.


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