Psychoanalysis or therapy sessions by a qualified psychotherapist can help people overcome deep-seated emotional problems, many of which plagued them since childhood. Therapy patients assume that they are in an environment of trust and respect when they share these personal feelings with their psychotherapist.
For the most part, psychotherapists and psychiatrists are worthy of that trust. But sometimes, they violate that trust and take sexual advantage of their patient. Perhaps these sexual feelings begin innocently but then progress into sexual relations, resulting in a breech of fiduciary duty. Taking sexual advantage of a patient is especially inappropriate because the patient is not in a position to truly consent.
Violating the code of conduct
Professional societies of psychiatrists, psychologists, and counselors have strict ethical guidelines that prohibit sexual contact with patients. Besides being unethical, therapist-patient sexual relations open the door to a possible sexual malpractice lawsuit by the patient. While patients have different levels of vulnerability, some may be able to successfully sue their psychotherapists for damages.
Violations of ethical and fiduciary duty are not limited to psychotherapists. Lawyers, tax attorneys, and medical doctors are among other professions where the licensed professional can violate the trust of their clients and cross the line of propriety.
If you believe that a psychotherapist or other licensed professional took sexual advantage of you, you may have grounds for a sexual malpractice lawsuit. A medical malpractice lawyer can evaluate the circumstances of your case to determine if you may be entitled to personal damages.
Dr. Michael M. Wilson is an attorney and a physician who earned his undergraduate degree from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and his legal and medical degrees from Georgetown University. He has focused in the area of medical malpractice for more than three decades and secured more than $100 million in settlements and verdicts on behalf of clients throughout the country. He is admitted to practice in the District of Columbia and New York as well as the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia and the U.S. Supreme Court. He is listed in America’s Top 100 High Stakes Litigators.