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Professional Boundaries in Social Work and Social Care


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Table of Contents

1. Introduction. 2. How Tight Are Your Boundaries? 3. Why Do We Have Boundaries? 4. Generic Boundaries. 5. Confidentiality. 6. Beginnings and Endings. 7. Professional Boundaries and the Law. 8. Broken Boundaries. 9. Understanding Negative Consequences. 10. Maintaining Boundaries. 11. Self Awareness. Appendix 1. Commentary on Chapter 2. Appendix 2. Relevant Organisations. Index.

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A no-nonsense guide to professional boundaries - what they are, why they are there and how to maintain them

About the Author

Frank Cooper is a freelance trainer specialising in professional boundaries in social care, and has over 16 years' experience as a social care professional. He previously also taught in the fields of volunteer training and drugs awareness, and has developed accredited courses in his chosen fields. His website can be found at


The book builds upon the foundations of the ethical and technical standards of the profession to inform where the boundaries should be. Its motivation comes across clearly - that is, to inform safe, sound and supportive behaviours... On many different levels the book succeeds in raising questions about our own practice and our colleagues. Ultimately it looks to ensure that the therapeutic relationship or tasks undertaken for the service user are focused on achieving positive and safe outcomes. -- PSW (professional Social Work)
Overall this is a book that is easy to read and will invite readers to explore their own boundaries. The case examples and explanations as well as the summery questions at the end of each chapter, invite strong self-reflections. -- ANZASW
Would you attend a client's wedding? How would you react if you met a client socially? Would you regard a client hugging you as inappropriate? What would you do if a client insist on seeing you and nobody else? These are some of the issues raised by Frank Cooper in this timely and thought provoking book. It should be compulsory reading on all social work and social care training courses and would be of particular benefit to newly qualified social worker... this book would be of benefit to every social work department! It would make ideal material for CPD meetings, journal or book clubs or for discussion at professional practise team meetings. -- IASW - Irish Social Workers
This excellent practical book has managed to address some very sensitive aspects of social care while avoiding jargon and legalistic prescriptive warnings. The author's vast experience in the speciality is evident in the commonsense approach proposed with self-assessment questions, brief case studies and suggestions on managing professional boundaries when talking to and supporting clients. -- The International Journal of Person Centered Medicine
This is a fantastic guide to professional boundaries that every Cafcass employee, not just FCA's and Guardians, would find useful. Cooper defines professional boundaries as 'a set of guidelines, expectations and rules which set the ethical and technical standards' for practice. -- CAFCASS
Frank Cooper provides helpful checklists and some core questions to assist practitioners in their decision-making. [...] [He] does much to improve professional understanding, and to protect the public. -- From the Foreword by Jonathan Coe, Managing Director, The Clinic for Boundary Studies, UK
The book is well-structured and accessible, describing many concepts with a strong grounding in everyday situations and experiences... this book that could be used for students, current social care workers and practice teachers in social care settings... Professional Boundaries does provide a practical guide to understanding and managing boundaries. -- Work, Employment and Society

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