CD primarily deals with balancing power concerning the violation of the personal
contact boundary by therapists regarding their clients. The Institute selected
this topic as a result of a survey conducted of Professional Licensure Boards
in several states. The Boards were asked what ethical area they would select as
having the greatest priority.
We, as therapists, would like to think that mental
health professionals taking sexual advantage of their clients is a problem that
was left far behind in the free love era of the 70's and 80's and in the AIDS
awareness of the 90's. One would certainly feel this is not something to be concerned
with, especially in this lawsuit prone new millennium. Don't you hear at least
one advertisement per night on television from a lawyer pleading you to sue someone
3 Rationalizations for Sexual Violation
the truth is many mental health professions rely on a number of rationalizations
and assumptions that allow us to maintain certain beliefs about balancing the power in the therapeutic relationship regarding sexual contact boundary. Here
are three I've found. See where you fit.
1. Are you thinking, right now,
balancing therapeutic power regarding the sexual contact with clients no longer
2. Do you think that the occurrence of this contact is currently
3. Do you think that we are able to, "so
to speak," police ourselves; and that clients who complain are treated with
dignity and respect?
I feel beliefs that maintain the silence about abuse of patients,
clients, residents, etc. perpetuate these rationalizations.
belief is that understanding is the first step to learning. My hope is that you
feel you have a real interest in learning more about this complex and emotionally
laden topic. And perhaps the gem, as mentioned earlier, that you might gain from
this CD set is a better understanding of the dynamic of the abuse of power by
those in therapeutic roles.
the content of this CD set will be divided into two parts. The first part deals
with warning signs, risk factors, and stages of recovery. The final part deals
with treatment interventions.
- Stone, M. PhD. Boundary Violations between Therapist and Patient. Psychiatric Annals, 1999, 670-7.
What is one rationalization some professionals use regarding abuse of
the personal contact boundary with clients? To select and enter your answer, go