Freud, a pioneer of the "talking cure," emphasized the prohibition in his writings.
The historical consensus among health care professionals that sex with patients is prohibited as destructive continued into the modern age.
They may be suffering trauma from rape, incest, or domestic violence.
She reported consequences among the sample of women whom she studied including severe depression and suicide.
Pope and Vetter published a national study of 958 patients who had been sexually involved with a therapist.
The Hippocratic Oath, named after the physician who practiced around the fifth century B.
C., prohibits sex with patients as does the code of the Nigerian Healing Arts, which was created prior to the life of Hippocrates.
Diverse studies have gathered samples of patients who never again sought mental health services as well as those who later entered into therapy again with a new therapist.
Patients who have experienced therapist-patient sex have been compared to carefully matched control groups of patients who have experienced sex with their treating physicians who were not therapists and of patients who have been in psychotherapy but not experienced therapist-patient sex.
The findings suggest that about 90% of patients are harmed by sex with a therapist; 80% are harmed when the sexual involvement begins only after termination of therapy.
About 11% required hospitalization; 14% attempted suicide; and 1% committed suicide.
This chapter looks at the history of this problem, the harm it can cause, gender patterns, the possibility that the rate of therapists sexually abusing their clients is declining, and the mental health professions' urgent, unfinished business in this area.