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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 97812 Find in a Library
Title: Sexual Misconduct of Therapists - A Cause for Civil and Criminal Action
Journal: Trial  Volume:21  Issue:5  Dated:(May 1985)  Pages:46-51
Author(s): R I Simon
Date Published: 1985
Page Count: 6
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This article explores civil and criminal actions available to patients sexually exploited by their psychotherapists, reviews malpractice cases, and explains transference and countertransference.
Abstract: Transference refers to unconscious feelings transferred from the past to persons in the present. Countertransference occurs when a therapist experiences unconscious conflicts and feelings toward a patient. Some sexual relationships between patients and therapists are attributed to transference and countertransference gone awry; others, to emotionally disturbed therapists. Civil law has not always found transference and countertransference a mitigating factor for either patient or therapist, as illustrated by two cases. Damages resulting from a therapist's sexual relationship with a patient are reviewed, and six-figure judgments are shown to be common following Roy v. Hartogs in 1976. The awards are large because patients are often devastated by such experiences and may suffer a severe regression requiring hospitalization. Also discussed are possible defenses that could have been raised in Roy v. Hartogs, and the possibility of a therapist becoming involved in licensure and criminal proceedings as well as in civil litigation. Included are 29 notes.
Index Term(s): Civil liability; Criminal law; Psychiatric services; Psychotherapy; Sex offenses
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