Boundary Constructions in Psychotherapeutic Relationships
Keywords:Boundaries, Therapeutic Relationships, Psychotherapy, Relational factors
AbstractBoundaries define the nature of psychotherapeutic relationships. How these boundaries are defined and subsequently perceived by the client is key. The way the client construes the boundaries in such a relationship is instrumental in therapy efficacy as shown in the literature. A lack of clarity around boundaries confounds the client and threatens safety and heightens vulnerability in the therapeutic relationship. If boundaries can be viewed through legal, ethical and socioemotional lenses. Hence, the way boundaries are presented are very important. If presented without rationale or the intent of caregiving they can come across as intimidating to limits. 11 participants from various parts of India have been recruited for the study. They were interviewed about their negative experiences in therapy, special emphasis was given to the client therapist relationship. An interpretive phenomenological method revealed that unclear boundaries make the client feel ignored, manipulated and invalidated. They also create power imbalances which make it difficult for the client to communicate therapeutic distress. This paper also views the clients personal boundaries as a pertinent relational issue. When assessments are imposed without giving choice or rationale to the client. Clients report feeling disrespected and stifled in the therapeutic process.
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