Creating and Maintaining Professional Boundaries
Creating and Maintaining Professional Boundaries
Professional Boundaries Self Assessment Tool
Answer every question, don’t think about your answer too long, and put down your first answer. Choose the answer that is closest to your own
Each question has a blank answer for you to add your suggestions for dealing with the situation. Dealing with boundary issues can be quite
complex and can require creative solutions. If you have ideas, fill in the blank.
Once you have chosen all your answers, circle the numbers in the relevant lettered column on the scoring table then add up all the numbers that
you have circled.
Disclaimer: This self-assessment tool aims to get you to think about yourself and your behaviors. The examples and the scores applied to the
answers are supposed to be representative examples not cast iron guidelines of rules to behavior. A good worker should judge every situation on
its merit. This is intended to help you think about these situations to help prepare you.
You are walking down the street with your partner and see a client you are currently working with, walking down the
the street towards you.
a) Ignore them
b) Make eye contact and see what they want to do
c) Nod a brief hello to them
d) Stop and chat with them
e) Stop them and introduce your partner
Does a client ask if you have a partner and/or children?
a) Give a totally honest answer
b) Tell them it’s none of their business
c) Acknowledge your situation without giving too much information away
d) Get out your family photos
e) Have a moan about your partner/lack of a partner
A client you have been working with closely relapses badly into old negative behaviors that leave them worse off
then when you started working with them.
How do you feel?
e) Nothing, their just a client
A client tells you that you really ‘get’ them and no one else understands them and that they think you are a
a) Thank them and say that they are a special people.
b) Act pleased but modest
c) Explain that you are just doing your job
d) Tell them to stop being soft
e) Give them a hug
A client gets engaged and says that they will invite you to the wedding and that they would really like you to be there
after all, you have been through together.
a) Say you will start looking for an outfit.
b) Tell them that you don’t think it is appropriate for you to go.
c) Tell them you would love to come but professional boundaries mean that you can’t.
d) Be vague, intending not to come anyway.
You are working with a client who you believe is becoming sexually attracted to you. They flirt mildly with you at a
a) Speak to your supervisor/manager about the situation
b) Play along with them so you don’t hurt their feelings
c) Tell them that this is a professional relationship and that they should not be so overfriendly
d) Get them transferred to another worker
e) Book a home visit to discuss the situation
A new client spontaneously gives you a hug at the end of a home visit.
a) Hug them back
b) Let them hug you but don’t really engage
c) Avoid the hug and tell them that it is not appropriate
d) Accept the hug and tell them it is not appropriate
e) Tell them not to ever touch you
You show up for a home visit and the client answers the door wrapped in a towel
a) Refuse to enter the house
b) Tell them to put some clothes on and wait outside while they do
c) Laugh it off and go in anyway
d) Suggest they need to put some clothes on before starting the session
You go out with your friends for a drink at the pub. You see one of your current clients in the pub with some of her
friends. She looks slightly drunk.
a) Ignore your client all night
b) Speak to your client and suggest they leave the pub
c) Ask your friends to leave with you to another pub
d) Have a word with your client and suggest that you ignore each other
e) Buy your client a drink
One of your clients brings you a reasonably expensive bottle of perfume/aftershave as a gift towards the end of
your time working with them.
a) Accept the gift with thanks
b) Refuse the gift as inappropriate
c) Accept the gift but say you will have to share it with the team
While speaking with a client, they mention your favorite band, they talk about how much they love the band.
a) Listen and ask them questions
b) Say how much you like the band
c) Start chatting about the meaning of the lyrics
d) Talk about the time you saw them at a festival
e) Change the topic of conversation
You are chatting with a group of co-workers when one of them tells a mildly racist joke. All the other clients laugh
and you think the joke although tasteless is funny.
a) Smile to yourself but walk away
b) Keep a straight face and say nothing
c) Challenge the clients directly about the implicit racism
d) Say that you find the joke offensive
e) Remind them of the rules about racist language
f) Laugh (but not too loud)
Boundaries Self Assessment Tool – Scoring table
A B C D E F G
Q1 1 2 3 4 5
Q2 3 1 2 4 5
Q3a 3 3 3 5 1
Q4 4 3 2 1 5
Q5 5 2 4 3
Q6 3 4 2 1 5
Q7 4 3 2 3 1
Q8 1 2 5 3
Q9 4 1 2 3 5
Q10 5 4 3
Q11 2 3 4 5 1
Q12 3 4 2 2 2 5
Total Score _________
16 – 20
Your boundaries are very severe, you should loosen up a bit and try and see things from your clients point of view.
21 – 37
Your nice and safe, no problems, you could stretch yourself and explore the grey areas of your work very carefully.
38 – 51
You are treading a fine line, if you do it with enough consideration, judgment and caution you will be fine. If you are not careful enough you will
cause problems for yourself, your team or your clients.
52 – 55
Your boundaries are very loose, you are setting yourself or your clients up to fail, have a good think about your motivations and personal
56 – 60
Your boundaries are non-existent, you need to sharpen up fast before you cause some serious problems.
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