Get Alert
Please Wait... Processing your request... Please Wait.
You must sign in to sign-up for alerts.

Please confirm that your email address is correct, so you can successfully receive this alert.

Special Articles   |    
Psychotherapist-patient sexual contact after termination of treatment: an analysis and a proposal
Am J Psychiatry 1991;148:1466-1473.
text A A A
PDF of the full text article.

Controversy over the legitimate extent, if any, of sexual contact between psychotherapists and former patients remains intense. In this paper the authors review current approaches to controlling posttermination sexual contact, offer a conceptual framework within which the problematic aspects of therapist-patient sex both during and after treatment can be understood, and develop a set of recommendations for policies that balance the goals of protecting former patients and avoiding unnecessary interventions into consensual relationships. Review of ethical, legal, and administrative controls on posttermination sex revealed considerable heterogeneity of approaches, which appeared to be based on confusion concerning the rationale for restriction. An analysis of the problems with therapist-patient sexual contact suggests four areas of concern: impaired decision making, coercion, fraud, and exploitation of a fiduciary relationship. The nature and magnitude of these problems differ in pre- and posttermination sexual relationships. The authors conclude that clarity of restrictions on posttreatment sex is important, but an absolute ban is not essential to protecting former patients. Rather, a 1-year waiting period after termination, during which even social contact would be precluded, should minimize problems and allow former patients and therapists to enter into intimate relationships. The authors discuss the advantages and disadvantages of this approach over other approaches.

Abstract Teaser
Figures in this Article

Your Session has timed out. Please sign back in to continue.
Sign In Your Session has timed out. Please sign back in to continue.
Sign In to Access Full Content
Sign in via Athens (What is this?)
Athens is a service for single sign-on which enables access to all of an institution's subscriptions on- or off-site.
Not a subscriber?

Subscribe Now/Learn More

PsychiatryOnline subscription options offer access to the DSM-5 library, books, journals, CME, and patient resources. This all-in-one virtual library provides psychiatrists and mental health professionals with key resources for diagnosis, treatment, research, and professional development.

Need more help? PsychiatryOnline Customer Service may be reached by emailing PsychiatryOnline@psych.org or by calling 800-368-5777 (in the U.S.) or 703-907-7322 (outside the U.S.).




CME Activity

There is currently no quiz available for this resource. Please click here to go to the CME page to find another.
Submit a Comments
Please read the other comments before you post yours. Contributors must reveal any conflict of interest.
Comments are moderated and will appear on the site at the discertion of APA editorial staff.

* = Required Field
(if multiple authors, separate names by comma)
Example: John Doe

Web of Science® Times Cited: 36

Related Content
Gabbard's Treatments of Psychiatric Disorders, 4th Edition > Chapter 7.  >
Gabbard's Treatments of Psychiatric Disorders, 4th Edition > Chapter 7.  >
Gabbard's Treatments of Psychiatric Disorders, 4th Edition > Chapter 52.  >
Textbook of Psychotherapeutic Treatments > Chapter 30.  >
Textbook of Psychotherapeutic Treatments > Chapter 30.  >
Topic Collections
Psychiatric News
PubMed Articles