There is no empirical research exploring how substance abuse therapists perceive and manage their professional role or privacy boundaries. This study explores their attitudes associated with self-disclosure and dual relationships. Ten therapists, five who had recovered (neophytes) and five who had never been substance dependent, shared their work experiences during semi-structured, in-depth interviews, which have been subjected to interpretative phenomenological analysis. While nonneophytes were generally reluctant to share personal information or establish alternative forms of relationship with current or former clients, neophytes were more open to using self-disclosure and admitted changing professional relationships into friendships. These findings are discussed in relation to ethical codes, training and supervision in substance abuse treatment.
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