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Sexual Exploitation in Professional Relationships

NCJ Number
G O Gabbard
Date Published
257 pages
This anthology of papers by psychiatrists, social workers, clergy, and attorneys discusses prevalence data and clinical, ethical, and medicolegal issues associated with sexual intimacy in a patient-therapist relationship.
The first three chapters consider the prevalence of therapist-patient sexual exploitation in each of the major professions that practice psychotherapy: psychotherapists, psychologists, and social workers. A chapter documents the debilitating consequences of therapist-patient sex, drawing similarities to the consequences of incest. Two chapters explore psychoanalytic perspectives on the dynamics of therapist-patient sex, analyzing both the victim's and the therapist's behavior. A discussion of victim treatment outlines principles of individual psychotherapy to help subsequent therapists work with patients who have been betrayed once and find it difficult to trust again. Another chapter considers the controversial issue of whether sex between a therapist and a former patient is ever professionally permissible after the termination of treatment. In another major section of the book, chapters consider sexual exploitation in other helping professions, namely, sex therapists, psychiatric hospital staff, teachers, clergy, and fiduciary parties. The concluding chapter discusses medicolegal aspects of professional sexual exploitation. 240 references, subject index.


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