A Guide to Psychology and its Practice -- welcome to 
                     the «Questions and Answers» page. Click on the image to go to a general Introduction 
                     with a complete Subject Index to this entire website.

and Answers
About Psychotherapy


Website Menus

Page Contents: Can your professor be your psychotherapist?                    


I’m looking for a psychotherapist. There are only a few who do psychodynamic therapy here, just about four or five of them. Two of them are out of town so I don’t really have a choice. I already know the person who is supposed to be the best. The problem is that I already have a sort of a relationship with him. I have been contacting him to help me out in my academics because he is also a professor of psychology at the university. He couldn’t do much to help me though. But every time I would call him I felt my low self esteem and I felt like he doesn’t like me and I’m bothering him. Since I don’t have much of a choice of psychotherapists, I was wondering if I should get into therapy with him. But with such a relationship, don’t you think the psychotherapeutic process will be affected?

Your dilemma raises the issue of dual relationships in psychotherapy.

Actually, it’s the psychotherapist’s responsibility—not the client’s responsibility—to avoid any dual relationship such as teacher-psychotherapist, business partner-psychotherapist, friend-psychotherapist, and so on. For example, if you were to have a psychotherapist who is also your professor, his knowledge of your personal issues could unconsciously influence the grades he gives you.

In your case, the professor of whom you speak could ethically function as your psychotherapist as long as you are not taking any classes from him for a grade. And, if he does become your psychotherapist, you should never take any classes (for a grade) from him in the future. If you can accept these terms, then choose him; if you cannot accept these terms, choose someone else.

As for your personal feelings about this man, the whole issue of your low self-esteem is a good reason to be in psychotherapy in the first place—and what a good way to encounter it than with this professor. In other words, we should be using psychotherapy to face up to and overcome the ugly aspects of our lives; if, in the psychotherapy you hide or avoid these aspects of yourself, then you really are not doing psychotherapy in the first place.


 Back to the list of questions


No advertising—no sponsor—just the simple truth . . .

If this website has helped you, then
please help support this website

FOR THE SAKE OF TRUTH this website about the practice of Clinical Psychology does not accept any advertising.

Therefore, if my work has been informative and helpful to you, please send a donation in appreciation, even if it’s only a few dollars, to help offset my costs in making this website available to everyone without advertising.

Gratitude is joy to the heart!


Raymond Lloyd Richmond, Ph.D.
San Francisco
Contact Me




A Guide to Psychology and its Practice



Copyright © 1997-2017 Raymond Lloyd Richmond, Ph.D. All rights reserved.
San Francisco


All material on this website is copyrighted. You may copy or print selections for your private, personal use only.
Any other reproduction or distribution without my permission is prohibited.



No advertising and no sponsor—just the simple truth.