If Hollywood is an indicator of our most common fantasies, modern Americans want to sleep with their therapists. I am horrified that so many television shows and movies depict romantic relationships between therapists and clients as though they were perfectly normal! The truth is, romance within a therapeutic relationship is as far from normal, acceptable, healthy, and sane as you can possibly get. In no way, shape, or form is dating a current or previous therapist healthy, ethical, or socially acceptable. In California, there is a legal clause that states that a personal relationship between a previous therapist and client may be pursued two years after the termination of services. However, research tells us that the power imbalance remains strong, even after time has passed, and that romance in this situation is usually still emotionally damaging to the one who was the client.
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Abstract : Sex between therapists and clients has emerged as a significant phenomenon, one that the profession has not adequately acknowledged or addressed. Extensive research has led to recognition of the extensive harm that therapist-client sex can produce. Nevertheless, research suggests that perpetrators account for about 4. This chapter looks at the history of this problem, the harm it can cause, gender patterns, the possibility that the rate of therapists sexually abusing their clients is declining, and the mental health professions' urgent, unfinished business in this area. When people are hurting, unhappy, frightened, or confused, they may seek help from a therapist. They may be depressed, perhaps thinking of killing themselves. They may be unhappy in their work or relationships, and not know how to bring about change.
After all, during therapy sessions they sit in a room discussing very personal subjects, but does this make patients and therapists friends? Some people certainly think that it does, but therapists are trained not to view their relationships with clients in such a way. Psychotherapy is by necessity an imbalanced relationship.
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