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Mental health services -- Moral and ethical aspects, Mental Disorders -- prevention & control, Counseling


The present paper discusses literature concerning the practice of bartering for counseling, psychological, or social work services in lieu of traditional monetary payment. The author contrasts the language concerning the practice of bartering found in the respective ethical codes for each profession, and presents literature describing both risks and potential benefits of bartering arrangements. The primary risks of bartering include liability concerns and the potential for harmful or exploitive dual relationships. The primary benefits are that bartering makes mental health services available to those who cannot afford traditional fees, and allows for a culturally relevant compensation method for those whose cultural backgrounds emphasize the practice of bartering.


This is the author’s version of a work that was accepted for publication in Michigan Journal of Counseling: Research, Theory & Practice. Changes resulting from the publishing process, such as peer review, editing, corrections, structural formatting, and other quality control mechanisms may not be reflected in this document. Changes may have been made to this work since it was submitted for publication.


A definitive version was subsequently published in Michigan Journal of Counseling: Research, Theory & Practice, 39(2), 4-12.

*At the time of publication Joel A. Lane was affiliated with Oakland University.

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