Pope Abstract: Sex between therapists and clients has emerged as a significant phenomenon, one that the profession has not adequately acknowledged or addressed.
The health care professions at their earliest beginnings recognized the harm that could result from sexual involvement with patients.
The Hippocratic Oath, named after the physician who practiced around the fifth century B.
Patients who have experienced therapist-patient sex have been compared to carefully matched control groups of patients who have experienced sex with their treating physicians who were not therapists and of patients who have been in psychotherapy but not experienced therapist-patient sex.
The effects of therapist-patient sex have been assessed by independent clinicians, by subsequent therapists of the patients, and by the patients themselves.
So striking were the harmful consequences associated with therapist-patient sex that Masters and Johnson wrote: "We feel that when sexual seduction of patients can be firmly established by due legal process, regardless of whether the seduction was initiated by the patient or the therapist, the therapist should be sued for rape rather than malpractice, i.e., the legal process should be criminal rather than civil." Psychologist Phyllis Chesler, in her landmark 1972 study , included a section on therapist-patient sex.