Social networks are dense, small in size and it is common place for practitioners to have more than one role within the community. Social and professional boundaries may overlap as the clinician engages in local activities and supports local trade. Whilst communities advocate and actively seek to keep local health care services, overlap between the practitioner and his or her clients/ patients may occur due to the one or two degrees of separation between individuals, especially in small communities. Whilst practitioners may find it difficult to be anonymous in their community, clinicians have developed professional strategies to manage this life in a ‘fish bowl’. Overlapping relationships, whilst being an issue in a wide range of clinical contexts, may be seen as especially challenging for clinicians treating personally sensitive issues including mental health concerns. Clinicians when considering both the closeness of their relationship to the patient/client and the ongoing nature of the consultation, may choose not to treat those they know when a personality disorder, substance abuse or acute psychosis are present.
Citation: Anderson R, Pierce D (2015) An Investigation of Psychologists’ and Medical Practitioners’ Responses to Overlapping Relationships in the Context of Mental Health Care. J Community Med Health Educ 5: 348.