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A Manifesto for Relationship-Based Practice: Breaking the Boundaries Collective

Darley, D, Blundell, P, Cherry, L, Wong, JO, Wilson, AM, Vaughan, S, Vandenberghe, K, Taylor, B, Scott, K, Ridgeway, T, Parker, S, Olson, S, Oakley, L, Newman, A, Murray, E, Hughes, D, Bin Hasan, N, Harrison, J, Hall, M, Guido-Bayliss, L , Edah, R, Eichsteller, S, Dougan, L, Burke, B, Boucher, S and Maestri-Banks, A A Manifesto for Relationship-Based Practice: Breaking the Boundaries Collective. Ethics and Social Welfare. ISSN 1749-6535 (Accepted)

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Boundaries are an integral aspect of an ethical, safe, and healthy professional practice. However, there are issues imbedded within the concept of boundaries that can lead to ineffective, unsafe, and unhealthy practises. We are a group of service users, professionals, and services, mainly based in the UK, who have come together around a central theme of fostering relationship-based practice (RBP) as a central principle in all helping professions. The commonality between members of this group is shared experiences of the power of authentic, healthy, and safe relationships and witnessing the potential for change when professionals have challenged conventional ideas or decisions around professional boundaries. This group was formed after one of the authors (Lisa Cherry) identified a common thread whilst analysing the data for her PhD thesis – she noticed that occasions when professionals ‘broke’ or challenged boundaries were often seen as pivotal moments of change. Lisa was interested in how other people (professionals and service users) had experienced the power of this aspect of practice. Lisa sent a Tweet (Cherry, 2022) to her networks asking if this theme resonated with others. It garnered a huge response from many people – including clients, service users, academics, researchers, teachers, university lecturers, social workers, counsellors, and psychotherapists (as well as many others) – and from this the Breaking the Boundaries Collective was born (BTBC, 2022). This article is founded on all those perspectives and voices; the quotes used are taken from members of the collective and highlight pertinent reflections around the practice we are advocating for. We have written this paper to argue for an approach to professional boundaries that is relational, and to explore creative ways we, as professionals, can move away from defensive, distance-based practice (e.g., practice that lacks empathy and compassion, thereby, creating barriers to effective and collaborative work). There is evidence this dialogue is happening within professions, for example, counselling and psychotherapy (e.g., Blundell, Oakley and Kinmond, 2022; Speight, 2011), social work (e.g., Blundell, in press; O’Leary et al., 2013), teaching (e.g., Hewitson, 2021; Palmer, 2011) and other related professions (e.g., Cherry, 2021; Smythe et al., 2017). This paper aims to move this dialogue into an interdisciplinary space by engaging multiple professions and professionals (Cherry, 2021). Therefore, we invite the reader to evaluate their relationship with professional boundaries by assessing their current boundary practice and how it is situated within the context of the organisations and systems within which they work, then we ask the reader to (re)value their skills in fostering healthy and safe relationships when working with boundary issues.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: 1607 Social Work; 2201 Applied Ethics
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BJ Ethics
L Education > LB Theory and practice of education
R Medicine > RT Nursing
Divisions: Nursing & Allied Health
Psychology (from Sep 2019)
Publisher: Taylor and Francis Group
SWORD Depositor: A Symplectic
Date Deposited: 19 Dec 2023 14:38
Last Modified: 05 Jan 2024 09:52
URI: https://researchonline.ljmu.ac.uk/id/eprint/22129
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