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The psychology profession brings practitioners into intimate contact with the individuals with which they work. Because of the resulting vulnerability this engenders, it is imperative that psychology students and professionals practice ethical decision-making strategies for ensuring boundaries when resolving conflicts related to multiple relationships.

For this Application, read the following case study:

You are in your sixth year teaching undergraduate psychology. You teach abnormal psychology course every term, and through students’ reflective papers, you learn a great deal about their backgrounds. Every year, it seems that a particular student becomes attached to you, frequently attending your open office hours and lingering to talk to you long after the official open office period is over. This year is no different. One young lady, Laura, frequently comes to you after class to ask questions about Applications. One afternoon, she suggests that you go to a restaurant to continue the conversation. Against your better judgment, you agree. Soon, Laura has had several adult beverages. She begins to cry and tells you details about her personal problems. She says she has been depressed, is having trouble with her parents, and is failing other classes. You recall that one of her first papers mentioned a suicide attempt and you start to panic. You did some role-playing in crisis counseling years ago in your master’s program but you never pursued licensure or clinical training. You suspect that Laura is telling you these things because she views you as an expert and feels she needs professional help.


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