Love and relationships often form the main issues patienf patients take to their psychologists. Often in helping their patients, psychologists stand in danger of a developing a personal bond too since in human relationships, the impulses of love and support therapist dating former patient closely related and often in the same manner.
But how patienf, legal or even practical it is for psychologists to date patients or even former patients for that matter? Psychologists and current clients Almost all developed societies prohibit any romantic or sexual relationship between a psychologist and a vating patient. The American Association of Psychology is unequivocal about the issue and capital speed dating All these possibilities are strongly present in case of a dating relationship between the psychologist and a patient.
However the Ethics Code also mentions that multiple relationships that would not reasonably be expected to cause impairment or risk exploitation or harm are not unethical. Psychologists and former patients Apart from prohibiting romantic and patien relations between psychologists and a current patient, the Ethics Code of American Psychologists Association also has strict rules on psychologists dating former patients.
Apart from all these factors, if a psychologist of therapist makes any statements or actions during the course therapist dating former patient therapy suggesting or inviting the possibility of a post-termination sexual or romantic relationship with the patient, that is also deemed unethical according to the Ethics Code of the APA. Psychologists are not only prohibited from engaging in romantic or sexual relationship with a current patient and in most cases former patient but it is also unethical for a psychologist to terminate the therapeutic relationship established with a patient in tnerapist to pursue a social or sexual relationship with the patient.
Possible Consequences The Consumer information page of Association of State and Provincial Psychology Boards ASPPB — an alliance of state, provincial, and territorial agencies responsible for the licensure and certification of psychologists throughout the United States and Canada — states that sexual contact of any kind between a psychologist and a patient, and in most cases even a former patient, is unethical and grounds for disciplinary sanctions3. Additionally, in some jurisdictions, such activity may constitute a criminal offense.
All psychologists are trained and educated to know that this kind of behavior therapist dating former patient inappropriate and can result in license revocation. Why are such relationships considered unethical? To begin with a sexual involvement makes the work of psychotherapy or analysis impossible. For this reason, A sexual involvement is unethical because the psychologist can no therapist dating former patient exercise beneficence in the professional relationship.
Then again, the psychologist is in a position of power over the patient. In therapist dating former patient context, the relationship between a psychologist and a patient falls in the ambit of a fiduciary relationship. In a fiduciary relationship, there is an overarching ethical obligation not to derive illegitimate forms of satisfaction that place the patient at risk therapist dating former patient harm.
A sexual involvement violates the fiduciary nature of the relationship and is therefore unethical. Foemer the end, there is no doubt that a dating relationship between a psychologist and patient is fraught with complications that can prove to be damaging to both parties if boundaries are crossed. However once the professional relationships has ceased completely and a considerable time period has elapsed, it may be possible for a doctor and a former patient to date each other provided the new relationship is equal and emotionally healthy.
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Sexual involvements with former clients: A delicate balance of core values
The possibility of post-termination sexual involvements raises a number of empirical questions directly relevant to our ethical analysis, as the following six examples show:. We are not friends. When deconstructed, the therapeutic hour shows itself to be a very bizarre social construct that is quite challenging to enact in a productive and healthy way. Psychologist Phyllis Chesler, in her landmark study Women and Madness , included a section on therapist-patient sex. They were surprised at the number of participants in their samples who had engaged in sex with therapists.