Date of Award

Spring 4-11-1994

Document Type

Open Access Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Social Work (MSW)


Social Work

First Advisor

Mary Lou Williams

Second Advisor

Jeanette H Milgram

Third Advisor

Karen E Johnson


This study explored the topic of awkward or troubling post-termination encounters between therapists and clients. Fifteen interviews were conducted with mental health professionals, most of whom were themselves members of the minority communities they frequently served, including gay and lesbian, and African American therapists. This study relied heavily on the literature concerning dual relationships, and was based on the hypothesis that therapists have many awkward or troubling encounters with former clients for which they are unprepared to adequately deal with, based on lack of formal training or education. Results from this research demonstrate that these encounters are more frequent and problematic for minority practitioners, and often negatively impact the personal and professional lives of the therapists, as well. Vignettes were collected from the subjects regarding their range of post-termination encounters, and information was gathered concerning the minimal amount of previous training most respondents had received for handling these potential boundary dilemma's. Finally, ideas for training are presented, so that the complicated issues around post-termination encounters in small or minority communities can be more formally and realistically addressed in the future.


SC 11.MSW.1994.Adams.KM

Included in

Social Work Commons