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Mann, D. (1995). Patients as Victims: Sexual Abuse in Psychotherapy and Counselling edited by Derek Jehu. Published by John Wiley and Sons, 1994; 214 pages; £17.95 (paperback).. Brit. J. Psychother., 12(1):127-128.

(1995). British Journal of Psychotherapy, 12(1):127-128

Patients as Victims: Sexual Abuse in Psychotherapy and Counselling edited by Derek Jehu. Published by John Wiley and Sons, 1994; 214 pages; £17.95 (paperback).

Review by:
David Mann

This book represents one of the growing attempts to deal with the problem of sexual relationships developing between therapists and their clients. It takes the view, rightly in my opinion, that this amounts to sexual abuse even if the client consents or initiates. Ultimate responsibility always rests with the therapist.

The book is an easy read, quite accessible, and attempts to produce some solid data about the nature and extent of sexual abuse in the therapy business. For example, some statistics reveal that something under 10% of therapists have sexual contact with their clients and that this is right across the board, since the kind of training the therapist has received does not affect this figure. Another figure that makes an impact is that 80% of clients who had sexual contact with their therapists report they were psychologically harmed by the experience. The book also attempts to disentangle the issues around sexual relationships that develop during the therapy and those that start after the therapy has finished. Again, the view is taken that it remains abuse even after the therapy has been terminated. Many readers will probably agree with this.

The book attempts, to explore systematically various aspects of the problem with sections on ethics, epidemiology, characteristics of abusive therapists and their victims. It finishes with ideas on regulation and prevention. Though there were items of interest in each section the shortcomings were also apparent.

The book is written by, and may well appeal most to, cognitive-behavioural psychologists.

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