If you are a therapist reading this, please don’t be sexual with your client. It doesn’t matter what the situation is, being sexual with a client is harmful to that client. It’s not good for you either. You’re going to lose your job and your license. You’re also going to lose your self identity as a person who helps others. There are programs that are specifically tailored to helping professionals who are struggling with acting on sexual feelings.
If you are a patient, please tell someone that you are being sexual with your therapist. I was in treatment with someone who was sexual with clients, and he was not a bad person. He was grateful when he finally got caught because that was what forced him to seek treatment.
editJust to be clear, sex includes sexual touching or fondling, sharing of the therapist’s sexual fantasies or fetishes, and mutual masturbation (this list is not exhaustive – humans have LOTS of ways to be sexual with each other). It doesn’t matter if the sexual connection is skin to skin, over the phone, email, chat, on in sessions. It doesn’t matter if there is no orgasm. If you are telling yourself, “yeah, but we didn’t _________; then you’re probably rationalizing.
I had sex with my therapist (phone sex) and it was one of the worst things that has ever happened to me. Being molested by my grandfather did not do as much damage as being “molested” by my therapist did.
Blogging here on wordpress, I get to see the search terms people use to find my blog. I don’t often look at the stats, but sometimes I do. It makes me feel good to know that I might be helping someone who is in pain.
Yesterday it happened again that someone found me by googling “slept with my therapist.”
When I was in the midst of losing my mind in therapy, I’d come home from those long, eroticized sessions and hit the Internet. Google has always been my friend, but despite spending literally hours in front of the computer I couldn’t find the site that told me it was going to be a good thing to be sexual with my therapist.
I found a bunch of stuff about transference. I learned about boundary violations. And I found a lot of women who’d been abused by their therapists. Of course, I didn’t think any of that applied to me. Well, the transference did, but that was all.
What I was looking for was permission to have sex with my therapist. I was looking for someone to tell me that this was the right thing to do, that it could be therapeutic. I hope that the people googling about sex and therapists are in therapy with good therapists and they’re just freaking out about sexual feelings they’re having for their therapist (indicating transference).
But just in case anyone is looking for assurance that it’s okay to flirt, fantasize, pet, or have any kind of sexual contact let me assure you that it will be a disaster. If you’re the patient, you will end up getting hurt. If you are the therapist you are harming your client.
It’s not as obvious as going to a doctor and being given poison instead of medicine but in the end it’s the same thing. You’ll get a lot sicker [than you already are] and you might die [from suicide].
http://therapyabuse.org/papersColumbiaJan.htm “Sexual exploitation by a trusted therapist is a life-changing experience. Like rape and incest, it does not go away. It forms who we are.”
And that’s true. It doesn’t go away. It hasn’t gone away for me. But like incest, it didn’t kill me. I’m stronger and wiser today than I was before. But there are many, many paths to strength and wisdom and if I had it to do over again, I’d have avoided this therapist like the plague.
There are good therapists out there. One of them helped me put my life back together after I got out of treatment. Another seems to be Willard Gaylin, who wrote What Psychotherapy is Really About. [Yet another is helping me in 2013].
And of all the good therapists out there, very few of them are members of the clergy.