Therapist and client romantic relationship

therapist and client romantic relationship

Is it any mystery why someone might appreciate this relationship and even want to take it home with them?” “For some clients who fall in love with their therapist. In real life, however, therapists don't act on romantic love with their patients. A youth who feels rejected by his family may also find romantic relationships. It can be tempting to engage in a relationship with a former patient or client. Any therapist who denies having ever been tempted is either lying or is simply.

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 are closely related and often expressed in the same manner.

therapist and client romantic relationship

But how ethical, 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 current patient.

The American Association of Psychology is unequivocal about the issue and rule 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 sexual 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 of 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 order 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.

Can Psychologists Date Patients or Former Patients?

Additionally, in some jurisdictions, such activity may constitute a criminal offense. You discover that you need someone with those highly specialized qualifications.

If the client is still a client even after all those years of no contact, is that a conflict of interest and a prohibited dual relationship? If it is an issue of power, who is in the position of power? Is power in any relationship always static, or is it variable and subject to change based on the circumstances? Dual or Sequential Relationship When a therapist and client enter into a relationship that is outside of or in addition to the therapeutic relationship, it is generally referred to as a dual relationship.

Dual relationships are discouraged by most professional organizations. However, not all experts in the field believe that all dual relationships are necessarily harmful. It would depend on the context. However, when a therapist and long past patient enter into a relationship separate from the therapeutic one, is that actually a dual relationship?

therapist and client romantic relationship

Would it be more accurate to call it a sequential or serial relationship? Is there a difference? If one believes that our patients grow mature and sometimes surpass us in knowledge, wisdom, and power, then it is a significant difference. Of course, of all the dual or sequential relationships that are potentially possible with patients and former patients, when the issue of sex comes up, most all therapists of all disciplines react forcefully.

Having sex with a current patient or even a recently discharged patient is not only unethical—it is illegal. It is truly a betrayal of the trust the patient places in us.

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However, over time as in yearscan that change in some very special circumstances to allow exceptions to the rule? If a therapist and former patient meet some 10 or 15 years after the last therapeutic session and develop a personal relationship, get married, and have children, can we say that an ethical violation or a crime has been committed?

Washington State is one exception. However, assuming the former client does not file any complaint, how enforceable would such laws be?

'Til Death Do Us Part: Does a Client Ever Stop Being a Client? - 572233.info

For example, what if the former therapist and patient got married, were in a committed relationship, and had children? Would or should an ethics committee have the authority to interfere with a marriage or union among consenting adults?

therapist and client romantic relationship

What about our belief in the right to free association? What is the rationale for the prohibition against sex with patients? Many believe it is the power differential. Behnke points out that many relationships have significant power differentials, including partnerships and marriages, and that we often do in fact put our own interests above those of clients when we charge fees, for example.

So, neither a power differential nor putting our own needs first is in and of itself unethical.

therapist and client romantic relationship

Rather, Behnke says, it is because we have a fiduciary relationship that is compromised and creates additional risks that are not a necessary part of the therapeutic relationship, making psychotherapy impossible. But fiduciary relationships are not static and change with time and circumstances.

Some would argue it is based on psychodynamic theory, and perhaps those who practice psychoanalytically have a higher standard.

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But interestingly, there is nothing in psychodynamic theory or psychoanalysis that would state such. This would include taking patients on vacation and conducting analysis in hotel room beds. We tend to forget that that was a different time with different standards. Therefore, perhaps, our reactions could possibly be a way of denying and reacting against the behaviors of a previous era we find frankly embarrassing and indefensible.

Another possibility is that, whereas all of us require structure of some kind, some of us need more structure and clear inflexible rules more than others. Some fear that if they bend the rules just a little, they may go down a slippery slope and cross all reasonable bounds. To therapists who believe they are just one rigid rule away from harming their patients, I say maintain all the rules you need.