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Counselors and other mental health professionals whose primary office is in a church building often face unique challenges in maintaining appropriate client-therapist boundaries. A sample of 497 Christian counselors responded to an 88-item survey of their ethical beliefs and behaviors. Of the respondents, 148 reported a church as their primary work setting and 162 reported a private office as their primary work setting. Survey results were factor analyzed, then church-based therapists were compared with private office-based therapists regarding their views of ethical behaviors. Although church-based therapists take greater liberties with multiple-role relationships than private office-based therapists, they appear similar with regard to other ethical beliefs and behaviors. Results suggest that churchbased therapists who take liberties in nonsexual multiple-role relationships are no more likely than other therapists to violate other ethical standards.


Originally published in Counseling and Values, 42, 142-152.

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