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Specific Dimensions of Professional Boundaries

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In any consideration of the professional boundaries that define psychotherapy, one dimension that must be taken into account is where the therapy takes place. Therapy usually takes place in an office, a clinic, or a hospital that is sufficiently private so that the patient feels comfortable disclosing embarrassing and shameful wishes, fears, and fantasies. However, the location of psychotherapy may vary within a setting. In a psychiatric hospital environment, for example, disturbed patients may feel confined and uncomfortable in a closed room and may find it much easier to talk while taking a walk on the hospital grounds. A medically ill patient in a general hospital may require therapy at the bedside.

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