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The Importance of Ethics in Clinical Practice Part 5

The Importance of Ethics in Clinical Practice Part 5

Conflict of Interest

Working with friends and relations can sometimes lead to conflicts of interest. If individual therapy is ongoing for both partners in a relationship with the same therapist, sometimes information is released that the other party is not privy to. The therapist may then be drawn into collusion with one of the partnership so as not to release the information to the other. This then becomes “their little secret” and puts the therapist in a very difficult position. The therapist’s perspective may have changed as a result of this information but he/she cannot verify with the other “client”. This scenario and similar ones are very difficult to manage due to the barrier that the “secret” may have created. They are best avoided whenever possible. This cannot be avoided if doing relationship or family therapy. In this case it is sometimes necessary to warn the clients that secrets cannot always be held and permission should be sought to inform the other person.


Transference is the arousal of powerful emotion originally experienced elsewhere, being directed towards a third party, usually the therapist. This can lead to difficulties if the therapist behaves inappropriately. All therapists need to be aware of this and be able to recognise when it is happening. It should be investigated and discussed in depth in supervision. The concept should be covered in detail in any legitimate hypno-psychotherapy training.


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