577 Boundary Issues and Dual Relationships in the Treatment of Addictions

Registration Open

The Addiction Technology Transfer Center of New England , funded by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), Center for Substance Abuse Treatment (CSAT) at Brown University Center for Alcohol & Addiction Studies, is offering a credited, on-line course on boundary issues and dual relationships.

The primary purpose of this course is to provide participants with an overview of boundary and dual-relationship issues that arise in the treatment of addictions. Participants will be acquainted with key concepts (professional boundaries, dual and multiple relationships, conflicts of interest, ethical standards, ethical decision making, malpractice and liability, professional negligence, standards of care, risk management) and a typology of boundary issues that arise in the delivery of services. Major themes include: social, collegial, therapeutic, and business relationships with current and former clients; self-disclosure to clients; bartering for services; giving and receiving gifts; performing and receiving favors; and unanticipated and unavoidable dual relationships. Case illustrations will be used to discuss relevant ethical standards and risk-management issues. Emphasis will be on practical strategies designed to prevent harm to clients and to protect practitioners from ethics complaints and litigation.


Frederic G. Reamer, Ph.D., a Professor in the graduate program of the School of Social Work, Rhode Island College, where he has been on the faculty since 1983. His research and teaching have addressed a wide range of human service issues, including mental health, health care, criminal justice, public welfare, and professional ethics. Dr. Reamer received his Ph.D. from the University of Chicago (1978) and has served as a social worker in correctional and mental health settings. He has also served on the faculties of the University of Chicago, School of Social Service Administration (1978-1981), and the University of Missouri-Columbia, School of Social Work (1981-1983). Dr. Reamer has served as Director of the National Juvenile Justice Assessment Center of the U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (1979-1981); as Senior Policy Advisor to the Governor of Rhode Island (1987-1990); and as a Commissioner of the Rhode Island Housing and Mortgage Finance Corporation, the state housing finance agency (1987-1995). Since 1992 Dr. Reamer has served on the State of Rhode Island Parole Board. He also served as Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Social Work Education (1990-1994).

Dr. Reamer has conducted extensive research on professional ethics. He has been involved in several national research projects sponsored by The Hastings Center, the Carnegie Corporation, and the Haas Foundation. He is the author of many books and articles. His books include: Social Work Values and Ethics (Columbia University Press); Tangled Relationships: Managing Boundary Issues in the Human Services (Columbia University Press); Ethical Standards in Social Work: A Review of the NASW Code of Ethics (NASW Press); The Social Work Ethics Casebook (NASW Press); The Foundations of Social Work Knowledge (Columbia University Press; editor and contributor); Social Work Malpractice and Liability (Columbia University Press); The Social Work Ethics Audit: A Risk-management Tool (NASW Press); Social Work Research and Evaluation Skills (Columbia University Press); The Philosophical Foundations of Social Work (Columbia University Press); AIDS and Ethics (Columbia University Press; editor and contributor); Teens in Crisis: How the Industry Serving Struggling Teens Helps and Hurts our Kids (Columbia University Press; co-author, Deborah H. Siegel); Finding Help for Struggling Teens: A Guide for Parents and the Professionals Who Work With Them (NASW Press); Ethical Dilemmas in Social Service (Columbia University Press); Heinous Crime: Cases, Causes, and Consequences (Columbia University Press); Criminal Lessons: Case Studies and Commentary on Crime and Justice (Columbia University Press); Rehabilitating Juvenile Justice (Columbia University Press; co-author, Charles H. Shireman); A Guide to Essential Human Services (NASW Press); Ethics Education in Social Work (Council on Social Work Education); and The Teaching of Social Work Ethics (The Hastings Center; co-author, Marcia Abramson). Dr. Reamer is also the author of chapters on professional ethics in the Encyclopedia of Social Work, the Encyclopedia of Bioethics, and the Encyclopedia of Applied Ethics.

Dr. Reamer has lectured extensively nationally and internationally on the subjects of professional ethics and professional malpractice and liability. He chaired the national task force that wrote the current Code of Ethics adopted by the National Association of Social Workers. Dr. Reamer received the “Distinguished Contributions to Social Work Education” award from the Council on Social Work Education (1995) and the Presidential Award from the National Association of Social Workers (1997).

Course Objectives

  • Identify common boundary issues in the addictions field
  • Implement ethical decision-making frameworks and protocols
  • Identify boundary issues that pose malpractice and liability risks
  • Design and implement strategies to protect clients and prevent ethics complaints and lawsuits.

Course Requirements

This is a four-week course, beginning on October 24, 2011. Requirements are:

  • Required on-line reading (one hour per week)
  • Completion of pre and post test
  • Completion of weekly homework assignments (one hour per week)
  • Participation in the weekly course forum
  • Completion of an on-line course evaluation

*Please note that there are no real time events associated with this course. Lessons will be posted on the class home page on Tuesday and responses are due the following Monday. With the exception of the first weeks lesson which will be posted Monday with the responses due the following Monday. Assignments can be accessed at the participant’s convenience.

A full refund is available up until November 01, 2011 after which there will be no refunds.


$60.00 Certification

  • This four-week course, which begins on October 24, 2011, has been approved by the National Association of Alcoholism and Drug Abuse Counselors (NAADAC) for 8 educational credits. It is being provided by the Brown Distance Learning program, which is accredited as a NAADAC Approved Education Provider (#000151).
  • This course is approved by the Connecticut Certification Board (CCB) for 8 Category 1 continuing education for Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselors (CADC’s). The CCB is an IC&RC affiliate.
  • The New York State OASAS does accept distance learning CEUs provided by institutions of higher learning for individuals pursuing or renewing a CASAC, CPP or CPS.
  • ATTC of New England DLP is an NBCC-Approved Continuing Education Provider (ACEP ™) and may offer NBCC-approved clock hours for events that meet NBCC requirements. The ACEP solely is responsible for all aspects of the program. (provider # 6463) 11 clock hours will be provided for this event.

*Combined certificates are available upon request.

Certificates will be mailed within two weeks to participants in the program for its duration who submit all required materials.

Please contact your local certification board to verify reciprocity or acceptance of The ATTC of New England’s Distance Learning contact hours.

To participate, you must have:

  • An E-mail address and the capacity to retrieve and send E-mail;
  • Access to World Wide Web (the following programs provide WWW access: Firefox, Safari, and Microsoft Explorer)
  • Internet Explorer 7.0 or higher is the preferred browser for ATTC of New England DLP online courses
  • The ability to navigate the World Wide Web
  • A basic understanding of how to use a computer and send and receive email


REGISTRATION DEADLINE: October 24, 2011 or when the course limit is reached.

To register for this course please log into your account or create your account then log into your account and click the Enroll in a New Course link at the bottom of your account page. On the Enrollment page select ‘577 Boundary Issues’ using the pull down menu and click on the enroll button. Having enrolled into the course you will be prompted for payment. You may make your payment online or by regular mail. To view payment information please use the payment policies.

For a list of current ATTC of New England Distance Learning courses, please go to the following site:


Please Bookmark this site for future references. Course announcements will be made via the ATTC of New England Online Course Announcement Listserve 6-8 weeks prior to the start of each course. If you would like to be subscribed to this list, please contact the ATTC of New England DLP at [email protected]

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