Sexual intimacy in psychology training: Results and implications of a national survey

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Abstract

In a nationwide survey of members of American Psychological Association Division 29 (Psychotherapy), which had a 48% return rate (N=481), 10% of the respondents reported sexual contact as students with their educators; 13% reported entering sexual relationships as educators with their students. However, only 2% believed that such relationships could be beneficial to trainees and educators. Gender differences were significant: 16.5% of the women, compared with 3% of the men, reported sexual contact as students; however, 19% of the men, compared with 8% of the women, reported such contact as psychology educators; and 12% of the males, compared with 3% of the females, reported sexual contact as psychotherapists with their clients. Sexual contact in psychology training programs seems to be increasing: 25% of the recent female graduates had had sexual contact, compared with only 5% of those with degrees for more than 21 yrs. The literature on ethics, standards, research, theory, and practice leaves both psychology graduate students and those psychologists responsible for their education without clear expectations, information, or guidelines concerning sexual intimacy in psychology training. This article represents an attempt to raise the issue and to present some initial information. (29 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved)

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