Centre for Rural Mental Health, School of Psychology, Psychiatry and Psychological Medicine, Monash University, Bendigo, Victoria, Australia. Email: email@example.com
Dual relationships in mental health practice: issues for clinicians in rural settings
Article first published online: 18 NOV 2004
Australian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry
Volume 38, Issue 11-12, pages 953–959, November 2004
How to Cite
Scopelliti, J., Judd, F., Grigg, M., Hodgins, G., Fraser, C., Hulbert, C., Endacott, R. and Wood, A. (2004), Dual relationships in mental health practice: issues for clinicians in rural settings. Australian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry, 38: 953–959. doi: 10.1111/j.1440-1614.2004.01486.x
Gene Hodgins, Lecturer in Psychology; Carol Hulbert, Senior Lecturer in Psychology
Department of Psychology, University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Australia
Ruth Endacott, Professor and Head; Margaret Grigg, Senior Lecturer; Anita Wood, Research Assistant
Department of Nursing, School of Health and Environment, Latrobe University, Bendigo, Victoria, Australia
- Issue published online: 18 NOV 2004
- Article first published online: 18 NOV 2004
- Received 18 December 2003; revised 7 June 2004; accepted 4 July 2004.
- dual relationships;
- mental health;
Objective: This paper aims to provide an overview of the literature on non-sexual dual relationships, and to discuss these in the context of rural mental health practice in Australia.
Method: An internet-driven literature search was undertaken using OVID databases, which include MEDLINE, PsycINFO, CINAHL, and EMBASE: Psychiatry. Ethical codes of practice for the mental health professions of psychiatry, psychology, occupational therapy, social work and nursing were referred to. Searches were not limited by year of publication. Other unpublished material or information was included where relevant.
Results: Dual relationships are common in rural mental health practice. However, research on non-sexual dual relationship boundary issues in rural mental health is limited. Ethical codes of practice of mental health professional bodies provide little guidance regarding non-sexual dual relationships. Decision-making models addressing the ethics of dual relationships are restricted to considerations of whether to enter a dual relationship rather than how to manage such a relationship.
Conclusions: ‘Everyday’ dual relationships are a predictable part of rural mental health practice. Further research is required to identify the benefits and/or problems in clinical practice resulting from non-sexual dual relationships. Responsibility for identifying and implementing ways of appropriately managing such relationships should be shared by the patient, the clinician, mental health services and professional organizations.