We can similarly make exceptions to general boundary rules as long as we do so with thoughtful consideration of what we are doing and why. Appropriate boundary crossings include such things as going for a walk with an anxious client to help him learn a new way to manage anxiety.

It may be helpful to make a house call to a client who can’t come to the office because he is recovering from a difficult surgery and needs some additional coaching with coping skills. Sometimes it’s useful to observe a family in vivo by doing a home visit.

Going to a milestone event can be an important validation of the work we’ve done – although I suggest that it’s usually not helpful to stay for the party.

Part Two will provide some basic guidelines for therapists to consider.

Path and fence photo available from Shutterstock