Ethical issues in therapy: Therapist self-disclosure of sexual feelings

Ethics and Behavior 14 (2):105 – 121 (2004)
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Abstract

Although therapist sexual attraction to clients is common, and therapist self-disclosure is an often-used intervention, therapist self-disclosure of sexual feelings to clients is an understudied phenomenon. In this article, I critically review the small base of literature on therapist self-disclosure of sexual feelings, including information on prevalence rates, empirical research, and case studies. By incorporating these findings with information from relevant sections of the American Psychological Association (2002) Ethics Code, my intent is to evaluate different aspects of therapist self-disclosure of sexual feelings and arrive at conclusions regarding therapists' use of these disclosures. It appears that direct, explicit disclosures of sexual feelings can run the risk of harming clients and may therefore be unethical. Therefore, the use of this technique is discouraged. I discuss the issue of using less explicit interventions.

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