Impairment of therapists, counselors, medical staff, and academicians plagues the helping professions. Although these professionals may be considered experts in assessing and treating the clinical distress and impairment of the general population, there is reluctance in identifying their own impairments. This creates the potential for them to cause harm to themselves and to those that they serve. The credibility of the profession and its purposes may be questioned when helping professionals are unable to manage their own distress or impairment.

It is important to recognize that the interpretation of professional impairment is multifaceted. The variances in conceptualizations have resulted in a number of causal factors and types of impairment. The current research surrounding professional impairment has focused primarily on areas of substance abuse, sexual misconduct, and ...

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