Bartering for Psychological Services

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Abstract

The negative economic impact from managed health care has led some clients to request and, consequently, their psychologists to explore unique financial arrangments, such as bartering. Bartering is not precluded by ethics or law, but in this article, the author opposes bartering by exploring the ethical and legal considerations involved and the dual relationships that occur. Clinical considerations and the potential for exploitation in the relationship are examined, and caveats about bartering are offered. For the psychologist who accepts bartering, guidelines for keeping a bartering arrangement are provided. Even if carefully monitored for clinical contradictions or exploitation, bartering imposes a high risk of allegations of misconduct (e.g., impropriety or a conflict of interest) and should be avoided.

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