Ethical Considerations of Social/Romantic Relationships With Present and Former Clients

John M. Sell, Michael C. Gottlieb, Lawrence Schoenfeld

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Scopus citations


The chairpersons of the state and provincial ethics committees and the executive directors of licensing boards were surveyed in regard to the frequency of complaints of sexual impropriety filed against psychologists during 1982 and 1983. The survey also concerned the disposition of the complaints and whether the psychologist alleged that the therapeutic relationship had terminated before the initiation of the sexual relationship. The findings indicated that a considerable number of complaints had been filed, that close to half had led to findings of violations by the psychologists, and that psychologists asserting that a sexual relationship had occurred only after the termination of the therapeutic relationship were more likely to be found in violation than those not making that claim. Implications of these findings are discussed, and we recommend that the American Psychological Association's Code of Ethics be modified to include a statement regarding sexual relationships with former clients.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)504-508
Number of pages5
JournalProfessional Psychology: Research and Practice
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 1986

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)


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