By David Joel Miller.
Sex is not the cure – Morning Question #19.
Ethically this is never considered acceptable. If the client was a child we would report this as child sexual abuse. If they were adults they need to report this to the licensing board. In California, we have a nifty little book called “Professional Therapy Never Includes Sex.” We are supposed to keep this book handy and give it to anyone who tells us they had sex with a previous therapist. What they do about the situation is up to them.
One reason sex with patients is not considered acceptable is the trust clients put in their therapist to help them sort out emotions. Getting into a relationship other than the therapeutic one is likely to result in the therapist taking advantage of the client.
What to do about this situation generally is up to the client, not the new therapist. Laws could, of course, be different where you live but second relationships with clients are considered unethical most everywhere.
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For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse and Co-occurring disorders see the about the author page. For information about my other writing work beyond this blog check out my Google+ page or the Facebook author’s page, up under David Joel Miller. Posts to the “books, trainings and classes” category will tell you about those activities. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at counselorfresno.com. A list of books I have read and can recommend is over at Recommended Books