Constructions of therapist-client sex: A comparative analysis of retrospective victim reports

Eli Somer, Irit Nachmani

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Former patients' (n = 24) accounts of their experience during a sexual liaison with their psychotherapist (Therapist-Client Sex, TCS) could be classified as either romantic (TCS-Romance) or as an abusive encounter (TCS-Abuse). During TCS, individuals in the TCS-Romance group reported having experienced overall better emotional states and more favorable perceptions of both the perpetrating therapists and the treatments they provided. Pre-TCS assessments showed that initially TCS-Romance subjects may have had a relatively higher regard for their perpetrators and the quality of their treatments than TCS-Abuse subjects, but these between-group differences disappeared when the same variables were assessed for two post-TCS periods. These periods were marked in both groups by deteriorated indices of psychological well-being. These findings suggest that a romantic narrative of TCS could have a shielding, albeit temporary, impact on the subjective experience of what is otherwise considered an abusive relationship.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)47-62
Number of pages16
JournalSexual Abuse
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2005


  • Sexual exploitation
  • Therapist abuse
  • Therapist-patient relationship

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Psychology


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