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Nanette K. Gartrell

In: Lesbian and Gay Psychology: Theory, Research, and Clinical Applications

Chapter 6: Boundaries in Lesbian Therapist–Client Relationships

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Boundaries in Lesbian Therapist–Client Relationships
Boundaries in lesbian therapist–client relationships
Nanette K.Gartrell

Lesbian therapists who are active participants in the lesbian community face unique challenges concerning the establishment of professional boundaries. Both the relatively small size of the community and the high incidence of informal contact between lesbian therapists and clients make boundary delineation difficult. This chapter describes strategies for managing self-disclosure, physical contact with clients, “special” treatment, and client gifts. It discusses informal community contact with clients, and relationships with former clients. The difficulty of maintaining personal privacy for the therapist is also addressed.

I had invited a colleague to lunch to discuss boundaries in lesbian therapy relationships. We met at a quiet, unpopulated restaurant near her office. We were engrossed in conversation when one of her ...

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