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Dual relationships are proscribed in the standards of ethical conduct for most professional groups that provide counseling or psychotherapy. Dual relationships are thought to be unethical because they cloud the clinical judgment of the counselor and may present conflicts of interest that prevent the counseling relationship from being beneficial. Pastors frequently provide counseling for troubled persons or families, yet they often maintain other roles and relationships with these persons and families. This article addresses the issue of the inevitability of dual relationships in pastoral counseling. Courses of action for handling dual relationships in pastoral counseling are identified.


Originally published in Counseling and Values. 1997. Volume 42. Issue 1. Pages 30-40.