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J R Soc Med. 1990 November; 83(11): 715–719.
PMCID: PMC1292921

On psychotherapist-patient sex: discussion paper.


The transference phenomenon as central to the problem of sex between psychotherapist and patient is discussed. Socio-semantic factors related to the evolution of psychotherapy from Freud to the present are presented. Contemporary pertinent studies are reported. Societal and legal attitudes towards offending therapists are briefly touched upon. Reflections are made and suggestions are offered for dealing with this serious issue.

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Selected References

These references are in PubMed. This may not be the complete list of references from this article.
  • Bachrach LL. Community mental health centers and other semantic concerns. Hosp Community Psychiatry. 1988 Jun;39(6):605–606. [PubMed]
  • Barnhouse RT. Sex between patient and therapist. J Am Acad Psychoanal. 1978 Oct;6(4):533–546. [PubMed]
  • Kardener SH, Fuller M, Mensh IN. A survey of physicians' attitudes and practices regarding erotic and nonerotic contact with patients. Am J Psychiatry. 1973 Oct;130(10):1077–1081. [PubMed]
  • Marmor J. Some psychodynamic aspects of the seduction of patients in psychotherapy. Am J Psychoanal. 1976 Winter;36(4):319–323. [PubMed]
  • Gartrell N, Herman J, Olarte S, Feldstein M, Localio R. Psychiatrist-patient sexual contact: results of a national survey. I: Prevalence. Am J Psychiatry. 1986 Sep;143(9):1126–1131. [PubMed]
  • Siassi I, Thomas M. Physicians and the new sexual freedom. Am J Psychiatry. 1973 Nov;130(11):1256–1257. [PubMed]

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