Next confession, I like to learn. Knowledge is power, or something like that.
I just finished 13 hours of ethics training- not mandated, not required, just because I wanted to learn more. The first 7 hours really bothered me in that we looked at ethics from a "thou shall not" perspective. The next six asked us to really think things through. "What makes sense to do in this situation? Does touching the woman who is sobbing make more sense or does not touching her make sense? What is the context and what is your motivation in doing or not doing it?"
Let's just say that the best treatment/counseling is sometimes right on the edge. There are a bazillion times that the "right" thing to do is not clear because the risk management training I received in the past scared the dickens out of most counselors. Something happened in the 1980s as a backlash against the 1960s loose sexual boundaries and it was assumed that all counselors would have sex with all their clients unless we imposed some extreme rules. We all recognized that it was overkill.
We learned that we had to protect ourselves from our clients rather than give great counseling. I challenged that over the years, but had some trainers and bosses come down pretty hard on me. They did not want to get sued, so it did not matter that the clients were getting better. Big beaureacracies can get a bit rigid.
One day last year, someone brought me a cup of hot chocolate (with mint). The old way of looking at things was that sharing a meal or food was to be avoided. I had a really hard time hearing that and appreciated hearing, in the training, that we are now realizing that sometimes a client might bring a cup of hot chocolate with no ulterior motives. They are not trying to buy extra counseling time, not trying to seduce us and we can be human.
Use common sense and consult with your supervision group or an ethics expert/lawyer if you are unsure, then document it. What a relief!