This is true even if it is the client who provokes or initiates the sexual contact, as sometimes happens. Thus, a therapist is well-advised to avoid the complication of being more than a therapist to his patient.Meaning he shouldn’t be a therapist/lover or therapist/friend.
Expectations of friends, therapists, and lovers depend on which role you believe that person occupies in your life.
Even the anticipation of a possible future friendship or sexual relationship after therapy ends can change the therapeutic relationship for the worst if the client or counselor harbors such hopes.
Imagine a therapist who desires a patient who is considering a possible divorce; if he anticipates the possibility of “dating” the newly divorced woman once treatment is over, might he be more likely to encourage her to end her marriage?
There are problems here and I hope most of them are obvious. Patients assume a therapist has only the patient’s best interests at heart.
The patient might never previously have had someone in his or her life who seemed so interested, who listened so patiently, who seemed so caring.
Under these circumstances, the patient is vulnerable if the therapist should pursue his own sexual agenda.
For a time, it might feel good to both parties, but it is a fundamental corruption of the therapist-patient relationship and, in the long run, can do extraordinary damage to the patient and add one more life-injury to the long list of hurts the patient has already suffered.
I’ve known therapists who slept with their patients.
I’ve known therapists who took “down on their luck” patients into their homes.
I’ve known therapists who made friendships with their patients and socialized with them outside of the office.
And, I’ve known therapists whose sense of their own value depended on their patients’ approval and improvement. Authority figures, be they bosses, teachers, parents, clergymen, or therapists, usually have a power advantage.