Psychologists dating patients
His Honour said that “modern concepts of egalitarianism militate against assessing impropriety upon the assumption that the medical practitioner is automatically in a superior social or economic position”, and that “it is inappropriate to assess impropriety upon the assumption that a woman is socially, morally or intellectually less well-equipped to deal with the emotional aspects of life than is a man.” At 163 – 164, his Honour listed “a number of themes running through the traditional approach to misconduct of this kind by medical practitioners”, including the following: “1 The practice of medicine involves intimate access to the body and psyche of the patient. 3 A medical practitioner is therefore in a position of special trust toward and power over a patient.
11 It is professional misconduct to engage in acts of intimacy with a patient whilst the doctor and patient relationship continues.
A psychologist who enters into a sexual relationship with a client or former client at that person’s request, and who does so when he knows or ought to know that he is thereby putting the other’s health (mental or otherwise) at risk, acts unprofessionally.
This is particularly so where transference may still operate so as to induce the client to seek the intimacy.
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