Womens Support Project

Abuse in therapy/relationships of professional trust

This section offers a selection of helpful resources on abuse in therapy/relationships of professional trust. 

Download this resource list in PDF format.  [49kb]

At Personal Risk
Boundary violations in professional-client relationships
By Marilyn R. Peterson
Pub. W.W. Norton, U.S.A., 1992
Marilyn R. Peterson, a lecturer in the School of Social Work, University of Minnesota sensitively addresses boundary violations in the professional-client relationship, drawing examples of misconduct from law, medicine, religion, education and psychotherapy. Throughout the book, clients share their stories of violations, making the book extremely interesting and readable for both professionals and clients alike.

Breach of Trust. Sexual Exploitation by Health Care Professionals and Clergy
John C. Gonsiorek (editor).
Sage 1995
A broad range of articles, divided into three general sections: victims; perpetrators; and responses. Contributions include: prevalence of physician-patient sexual contact; when sex invades the pastoral relationship; victims’ experiences; responding to sexual abuse by professionals; clergy sexual abuse and male survivors; psychotherapists who transgress sexual boundaries; lesbian, gay and bisexual therapists’ social and sexual contact with clients; legal perspectives; employer responsibility; the effects of criminalisation of sexual misconduct by therapists; how churches respond to the victims and offenders; training; the art of advocacy. An interesting and helpful book. Please note the information refers to American experiences and legislation.

Complementary medicine and the law
By Julie Stone & Joan Mathews
Pub. Oxford University Press, Oxford, 1996
The authors examine the ways in which existing mechanisms for the regulation of orthodox medical practice are inappropriate for complementary therapies. An alternative system of ethics-led regulation is suggested, to take into account the uniquely holistic and patient-led approach of complementary medicine.

Folie a Deux: an Experience of One to One Therapy
Rosie Alexander
Free Association Books 1995
A painful but enlightening personal account of what can happen when “things go wrong” in therapy. Vividly describes the experience from the point of view of the ‘patient’ or ‘client’.

Out of Bounds: Sexual Exploitation in Counselling and Therapy.
Janice Russell
Sage 1993
An overview of the issue of sexual exploitation in counselling and therapy, including results of a research study carried out involving around forty people who felt that they had been exploited. Chapters include effects on clients; client’s accounts; the therapists; sexuality - an elusive trilogy; power; ethical dimensions; implications in practice.

Patients as Victims: sexual Abuse in Psychotherapy and Counselling.
Derek Jehu (ed)
Wiley 1994
A collection of writings and reports on research, includes information on ethics; prevalence in the USA and the UK; risk characteristics; management of abusive behaviour; psychological vulnerability to abuse; psychological intervention with victims; regulation; prevention. This book contains a lot of information but the language is fairly academic and is aimed at professionals rather than survivors.

Professional Sexual Abuse
Dulwich Centre Newsletter 1993
A collection of writings from various countries, including: working to empower clients who have been abused by their therapist; a survivor’s long struggle for justice; when intimacy goes awry; cries and whispers: a case of therapist abuse of a patient; ethics of dual relationships; clergy sexual abuse and male survivors; common errors in treatment of survivors.

Sex in the Forbidden Zone.

When men in power abuse women’s trust. By Peter Rutter
Pub. Aquarian 1990
Provides information on what is meant by the “forbidden zone”; extent of the problem; why men abuse their power; why sexual contact with clients or patients is damaging; effects ; advice for women in recognising and avoiding abusive situations; advice for therapists who have acted abusively.

Sex in the therapy hour a case of professional incest
By Carolyn Bates & Annette M. Brodsky
Pub. Guilford Press, New York, 1989
This book is an examination of one womens sexual abuse by her therapist. The book contains analysis from her expert
witness. Also looks at the court process (USA). Concludes with a chapter on training for health professionals.

When ministers sin : sexual abuses in the churches sexual abuse in the churches
By Neil & Thea Ormerod
Pub. Millennium Books, Australia, 1997
Includes personal accounts of sexual abuse by ministers or religion. Also looks at the response of churches to allegations of sexual abuse.

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