Dating your therapist relationship

This could include online networks, as well. You provide therapy to a child. Ten, fifteen, or more years later, that patient becomes a prominent, top in their field, attorney, surgeon, or other highly specialized professional.

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  • Why Your Therapist Can’t Be Your Friend.

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? 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? Would it be more accurate to call it a sequential or serial relationship?

Can My Therapist Also Be My Friend?

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. However, over time as in years , can 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? In most all states, laws prohibiting sex with clients are limited to current or recent clients. Washington State is one exception. However, assuming the former client does not file any complaint, how enforceable would such laws be?

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? 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.

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.

And if you know the rules about dating patients, why all the rationalization about why they don't apply to you? The theoretical relationship would always be affected by the power differential. Find a new therapist, and find other men to date. Or if you aren't comfortable with that, discuss your feelings towards him. Didn't they address how to handle things like this ie what to do if a patient is attracted to you in your training? Likewise, I'm sure he is trained to handle that conversation coming from you.

Can Psychologists Date Patients or Former Patients?

Its wonderful that he can get to know you like this. If you stopped seeing him and saw someone else in an attempt to date him, do you think you would still feel attracted to him without the circumstance you're in now? There's something appealing about this "taboo" and also its great that you're not dating, trying to impress on another, or doing some mating dance. I'd just keep seeing him. When things become more heated I'd ask him if he'd like to get together outside of therapy sometime. Or maybe ask him about himself? I don't know but it really sounds like he's attracted to you.

You should always follow your intuition about sex because its usually dead on.

Especially those comments he's made. You should just wait and see if things progress and if they start to feel like something REAL then you should find a new therapist and tell him its because you want to see him. You should definitely end the therapy sessions with this man as soon as you possibly can, and if he asks why, tell him it's because you're attracted to him. Then see what happens But don't try to rationalize continuing to see him; going down that road will only lead to unnecessary complication. That's why they have "supposed rules" about therapist-patient dating. Then I think once you've had a good amount of time away from him, you can re-address your possible feelings for him.

But don't forget - even if YOU decide you're okay with dating your former therapist doesn't mean that HE will be. I understand why the rules are there. I've been involved on both sides of the equation I'm not a schooled anything-having-to-do-with-that-stuff, but have worked in a counselor capacity.

IMO, as long as you're both cautious, aware of the boundaries and restrictions involved, it's all consensual, I don't see the big deal.

You are here

You being a therapist yourself, I would imagine you understand a little better than most how easy it would be to manipulate patients, but I don't think that's the "issue" in your case. Although I could be wrong, I suppose. Some people are really good at denial. It's a professional relationship but the dilemma ingrained is one of a romantic nature. Right, so, sarcastic responses aside which I'll dutifully ignore forgive me if no one has been sarcastic, it doesn't come across well in typed forums , I know this seems like a silly question coming from someone who should "know better", trust me, but I suppose all those rules you follow on a general basis when it's to do with other people suddenly become questionable when you are trying to apply them to yourself in this situation, does that make sense?

That isn't the case with me, as the "patient". If me and him were to not be patient-therapist anymore, I don't feel there is some imbalance or vulnerability on my end at all. As I said, I don't go there out of helplessness or depression, it's more venting on daily life in a way. And again, he doesn't know anything that the majority of my close friends don't know. There are no deep dark secrets of abused childhoods, past intense traumas, illegal activities, etc. When I talk about past dating relationships to him, I don't say anything I wouldn't say to anyone I'm close with to a reasonable degree.

Granted, I wouldn't say all of that to someone on a first date or something, but I've dated guys that I was friends with first in the past, and those guys knew as much about me as this therapist does for the most part. I know to some it sounds like Im trying to find a loophole or rationalize, but believe me when I say this is sort of how I approach everything-- by discussing it from all angles. It's my pseudo-scientific approach to life ;- I like to analyze everything.

Or just habit, I suppose. Anyway, it's somewhat odd, as this is not behavior I myself would engage in on my own professional platform. I have had attractive patients before and never been tempted in any way, shape or form.

DATING MY THERAPIST?! (Can I Date My Therapist?) Secrets of the Chair -- Can We Talk? #33

Somehow my mind automatically shuts them off, as you would with a brother or something. No sexual attraction whatsoever no matter who they are. I can't really recall every instance or verbatim word that he's said to me, but suffice to say it's been more than I would ever say to a patient of my own.

Dating Your Therapist- hmmm - Community Forums

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. Additionally, in some jurisdictions, such activity may constitute a criminal offense.

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