Therapist-patient sexual relations: Results of a national survey in Israel

Alex Aviv*, Joseph Levine, Assaf Shelef, Nili Speiser, Avner Elizur

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Studies focusing on Patient-Therapist sexual relations have been carried out mainly in the U.S. This study comes to broadly explore this phenomenon in Israel. Method: An indirect questionnaire was sent to all 1,817 psychiatrists, psychologists and social workers who are members of the Israeli Psychiatric Association, Psychologists Association and Psychotherapy Association, respectively. Results: 29% of the responding therapists reported that at least one of their patients had experienced sexual relations with the most recent, former therapist. Limitation: The design of our survey made it impossible for us to conduct a follow-up after termination of therapy and to differentiate intercourse from nonintercourse sexual exploitation. Conclusions: Similar numbers of the gender of the exploiting therapist and exploited patients were obtained for both the indirect current Israeli study and previous U.S. studies. This may suggest that such parameters are influenced by common norms regarding the relationships between men and women of both societies, and from the psychotherapeutic dyadic situation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)119-125
Number of pages7
JournalIsrael Journal of Psychiatry and Related Sciences
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2006


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