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Wallwork, E. (2009). Sexual Boundary Violations: Therapeutic, Supervisory, and Academic Contexts. By Andrea Celenza. Lanham, MD: Jason Aronson, 2007, xxi + 267 pp., $29.95.. J. Amer. Psychoanal. Assn., 57(6):1508-1514.

(2009). Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, 57(6):1508-1514

Sexual Boundary Violations: Therapeutic, Supervisory, and Academic Contexts. By Andrea Celenza. Lanham, MD: Jason Aronson, 2007, xxi + 267 pp., $29.95.

Review by:
Ernest Wallwork

Andrea Celenza has written an informative and thoughtful overview and assessment of the literature and recent research, some of it her own, on transgressors and victims of sexual boundary violations and how to treat this vexing problem in our institutes. Building on the growing conviction, due largely to Gabbard and Lester's trailblazing work (1995), that we are all subject to the temptations to which some therapists succumb, Celenza, an assistant clinical professor at Harvard Medical School, both broadens and advances our understanding of the problems surroundings erotic encounters and their aftermath. She broadens her scope beyond most previous studies by including the erotic misconduct of other trusted authorities in helping professions characterized by affectively intense asymmetrical dyads—for example, supervisor/supervisee, teacher/student, clergy/parishioner. Sexual Boundary Violations helpfully advances work on this troublesome moral issue by moving beyond the causes of therapist sexual misconduct and the consequences for victims to a concern with preventive, teaching, reporting, and rehabilitation programs. Her own work with sexual transgressors provides insightful clinical illustrations of her main points, notably in chapters 3 and 11, which sketch a composite psychological portrait of a transgressing therapist and his treatment, drawn from her work with over seventy transgressors.

Clearly, the proportion of transgressing therapists and clergy is way too high.

[This is a summary excerpt from the full text of the journal article. The full text of the document is available to journal subscribers on the publisher's website here.]

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