Therapeutic Boundaries


As a mental health clinician, you may find yourself in situations where you or the people you work with may blur the therapeutic boundary. In some cases, this “crossing of the boundary” may strengthen the therapeutic relationship and enhance treatment effectiveness. However, boundary crossing poses a serious risk, as it can also harm those individuals you aim to help. For this reason, it is crucial that mental health professionals are aware of the potential risks and danger signs. This course explains the concept of a therapeutic boundary and how it differs from a social relationship. You will learn about the ethical role of the clinician, the difference between boundary crossings and boundary violations, and how to recognize potentially dangerous situations. As you master these skills, you will become more effective in maintaining an appropriate relationship between you and the individual(s) you serve. This course, which includes clinical case examples and interactive exercises to reinforce your learning, is appropriate as a review for experienced mental health clinicians as well as an introduction for less-experienced mental health clinicians or health professionals specializing in areas other than mental health (particularly nurses, social workers, addiction professionals, and certified counselors).


Hours: 1.00


Certificates provided by accrediting body (1 Match)

National Academy of Certified Care Managers


Relias,LLC is approved by the National Academy of Certified Care Managers (NACCM) as a continuing education provider, #18-502RA.

This activity approved for 1.00 CMC contact hours

Course Details

Course Code: REL-HHS-0-TB
Hours: 1
Type: Online Course
Content Expiration Date: 9/30/2019
Learning Objectives:
Define the meaning of a therapeutic boundary.
Describe the role of staff and the differences between a social relationship and a therapeutic relationship.
Identify and avoid the red flags of therapeutic boundary violations.

Section 1: Introduction A. About This Course B. Learning Objectives Section 2: What Is a Therapeutic Boundary? A. Meet Keirsten B. Test Yourself C. What Is a Therapeutic Boundary? D. Social Relationship E. Therapeutic Relationship F. Crossing Boundaries G. Boundary Violations H. Flexible Boundaries I. Remember Keirsten? J. Let’s Practice! K. Summary Section 3: Role of Staff A. Role of Staff B. Potentially Destructive Relationships C. Sexual Boundaries D. Types of Sexual Boundaries E. Sexual Exploitation F. Boundaries with Transference G. A Note of Caution H. Boundaries with Dual Relationships I. A Note on Social Media J. Boundaries with Gifts K. Risks Associated with Accepting Gifts L. Acceptable Responses M. Declining Gifts N. Let’s Practice! O. Boundaries with Scheduling P. Boundaries with Location Q. Boundaries with Language R. People-First Language S. Examples of Inappropriate Language Usage T. Boundaries with Self-Disclosure U. More on Self-Disclosure V. Boundaries with Encounters W. Let’s Practice! X. Boundaries with Physical Contact Y. Boundaries with Physical Exams Z. Role Modeling AA. Financial Exploitation BB. Let’s Review CC. Keirsten and Mark’s Roles DD. Summary Section 4: Danger Signals A. Danger Signs B. Sound Familiar? C. Red Flags of Role Blending D. Caution Section 5: Conclusion A. Summary B. References

Instructor: Kevin Fawcett, Ph.D.
Dr. Kevin Fawcett is a clinical psychologist in San Diego, CA. Dr. Fawcett runs a private practice where he provides therapeutic services for individual adolescents and adults, couples, as well as families. He also serves as an Adjunct Professor at Point Loma Nazarene University (PLNU), teaching courses on the psychology of personal development. He received his Master’s and Doctoral degrees in Clinical Psychology from the California School of Professional Psychology at Alliant International University, San Diego (2009). His clinical training involved work at the Chadwick Center for Children and Families at Children’s Hospital San Diego and the Clinical Services program at Catholic Charities, San Diego. He later completed his post-doctoral training working with college students in the Wellness Center at PLNU. Disclosure: Kevin Fawcett, Ph.D. has declared that no conflict of interest, Relevant Financial Relationship or Relevant Non-Financial Relationship exists.
Instructor: Wendy C. Krull, LCSW
Ms. Krull has over 16 years of social work practice experience. She received her Master’s degree in Social Work from Virginia Commonwealth University (2001) and received clinical training at Henrico Mental Health and Developmental Services and Resource Guidance Services in Richmond, Virginia. Ms. Krull was the Client Services Director at a domestic violence agency, providing clinical services and supervising all direct care staff. She later managed part of the Pregnancy and Adoption Services department within Catholic Charities, San Diego. Ms. Krull also has experience in clinical documentation review and audits. She currently is a technical writer/ editor at Relias Learning. Disclosure: Wendy C. Krull, LCSW has declared that no conflict of interest, Relevant Financial Relationship or Relevant Non-Financial Relationship exists.
Target Audience:
The target audience for this course is: entry, intermediate, and advanced level Alcohol and Drug Counselors; entry, intermediate, and advanced level Marriage and Family Therapists; entry, intermediate, and advanced level Nurses; entry, intermediate, and advanced level Professional Counselors; entry, intermediate, and advanced level Psychologists; entry, intermediate, and advanced level Social Workers; in the following settings: Health and Human Services.
Relias will be transparent in disclosing if any commercial support, sponsorship or co-providership is present prior to the learner completing the course.
Course Delivery Method and Format
Asynchronous/Online Distance Learning; please see certificate details for specifics on delivery format.
Relias has a grievance policy in place to facilitate reports of dissatisfaction. Relias will make every effort to resolve each grievance in a mutually satisfactory manner. In order to report a complaint or grievance please contact Relias.
If you require special accommodations to complete this module, please contact Relias Support by completing the web form ( or by using the chat functionality.
All courses offered by Relias, LLC are developed from a foundation of diversity, inclusiveness, and a multicultural perspective. Knowledge, values and awareness related to cultural competency are infused throughout the course content.
Reference herein to any specific commercial product, process, or service by trade name, trademark, service mark, manufacturer or otherwise does not constitute or imply any endorsement, recommendation, or favoring of, or affiliation with, Relias, LLC.
All characteristics and organizations referenced in the following training are fictional. Any resemblance to any actual organizations or persons living or dead, is purely coincidental.
To earn continuing education credit for this course you must achieve a passing score of 80% on the post-test and complete the course evaluation.
If you require special accommodations to complete this module, please contact Relias Customer Support here.