Boundary Violation Ethics: Some Conceptual Clarifications.
Journal of the American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law
29(3): 319-326, 2001.
The practices of both forensic psychiatry and clinical psychiatry appear to require
and to use, in boundary-violation discourse, a special way of referring to the heightened attention
to the ethics of interpersonal exchange. But this discourse and the judgments it expresses are each
in need of closer scrutiny. A variety of factors make the determination of certain actions to be
boundary violations unclear, including the range of alleged boundary-violating behavior,
ambiguities in the fundamental metaphor of boundaries violated or transgressed, and confusion
about the explanatory status of the value judgments boundary-violation language is used to
express. In addition, disputes and disagreements regarding boundary-violation judgments require
analysis-- an analysis undertaken in this article through appeal to theories of professional role
morality. Noted also is the significance of gender in boundary-violation ethics.