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Page Contents: The mistake of sexual contact in psychotherapy.                    


I’ve been in therapy for about two years now. My therapist is a man. He is well in his 50’s. I am 26, however and have been sexually and emotionally attracted to him and think about him alot as well as fantise about him alot. I have brought it up a few sessions ago. He always hugs me at the end of our sessions and has done this since I have been seeing him. Now, it has gone further. . . . He kissed me, touched me all over and made me want him, but he said he couldn’t because he loves me and cares about me and doesn’t want me to hate him and that if we were to end up having sex that I couldn’t ever be his patient again and never see him again for one year he said. I told him fine, I will go and kissed him and cried and said goodbye to him and vice versa. We were on the verge on having sex in his office that day. I wanted too, but then there was a part of me that just wanted to be touched and held. As a child I was abused by my father who is no longer alive. I am 26 now. My father died when I was 15. He never showed me any attention before he died and back then I could never understand why, but now my therapist has made it clear why. My father felt guilty for abusing me, so that is why he didn’t pay me any attention as a child. I was also raped and abused by other people. I am always bouncing from one relationship to the next. . . . I’m just confused on why this whole therapist thing has gone this far. . . . I have noticed the last few sessions he didn’t charge me. . . . I just can’t break away from seeing him and wanting him. . . . . What do you suggest? Why am I feeling this way towards a man who is in his 50’s?

Right now, it doesn’t matter why you’re feeling this way. “Why?” is a question for psychotherapy, and right now this “therapist” is not conducting psychotherapy. He’s essentially engaged in prostitution, even if he has temporarily waived his fee.

You don’t say where this is all happening, but in California any kind of sexual contact, asking for sexual contact, or sexual misconduct is not just an ethical violation, it’s a crime. “Sexual contact” means the touching of an intimate part (sexual organ, anus, buttocks, groin, or breast) of another person. Sexual contact, therefore, is not limited to just intercourse, sodomy, or oral copulation. “Sexual misconduct” includes such things as verbal suggestions, innuendoes, advances, kissing, spanking, and nudity. Because of the ethical violation here, this so-called “therapist” could lose his license. Because of the crime he could be arrested, fined, and sent to prison.

Moreover, in regard to sexual misconduct in psychotherapy, it doesn’t even matter if a client “starts” it. A competent psychotherapist must not be personally influenced by a client’s sexual desires and must work always to understand and resolve such desires clinically.

In your case, your attraction to this man, as well as your problems with relationships in general, most likely derive from your unresolved issues about the abuse by your father. Not only do you feel tremendous unconscious anger toward your father, but you also desire, like a heroine in a melodrama, to be rescued from your emotional pain by a “good father.” By “fanning the flames” of your desires for affection, your so-called therapist is not helping you at all; he’s only continuing the abuse.

I advise you, then, to contact his licensing board. Let someone there advise you about getting away from him and filing a complaint against him. After all, this is what you couldn’t do with your father, right? Then set about finding a competent psychotherapist who can actually help you resolve your unconscious need to be rescued.


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