Famous Psychologist's New Book Tells Seven Reasons Why Some Psychotherapists Sexually Abuse Their Patients

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The motives for the sexual abuse by psychotherapists of their patients are as complex as is the task of choosing an effective psychotherapist, which is explored in this new book.

Dr. Stanley Goldstein

Patient sexual abuse, like many puzzling behaviors, though appearing simple at first glance is amazingly complex. As is the task of choosing an effective psychotherapist.

“Physical attraction is not the major reason why psychotherapists sexually abuse their patients,” psychologist Dr. Stanley Goldstein explains in his new book, Shopping For A Shrink: Finding The Right Psychotherapist For You Or Your Child. In fact, the seven motives for this unethical and, in many states, illegal behavior have little to do with sex.

Goldstein describes these motives in his book as follows:

        1. A psychotherapist may seek, in the isolated, emotionally charged consulting room, the feeling of importance which they never gained from their parents. This occurs through counter-transference, the unconscious psychological mechanism which causes a psychotherapist to project their feelings onto their patient.

        2. The psychotherapist may be lonely and convince themselves that they and their patient are “star-crossed” and meant for each other. Thus their relationship is different and unconstrained by law or ethics.

        3. The psychotherapist may be angry at their employer—a hospital, clinic, church, or training setting—and be acting out their feeling in this forbidden way.

        4. Because every psychotherapy treatment involves termination, the psychotherapist may be trying to avoid the natural grief they would experience through a continuing affair.

        5. The psychotherapist may believe in the curative power of love and that their own life would have been better had they been more greatly loved by their parents. This is strengthened by the popular, movie supported fantasy that “a good man” or “a good woman” is all that many people really need.

        6. The psychotherapist may be frustrated and angry at the lack of progress their patient makes and so behave toward them in a destructive, sexual manner.

        7. The psychotherapist may misinterpret their patient's unconscious need for warmth and love which is acted out in a sexually provocative manner.

Thus Goldstein advises, “patient sexual abuse, like many puzzling behaviors, though appearing simple at first glance is amazingly complex, as is the task of choosing the most effective psychotherapist." Through moving anecdotes, Shopping For A Shrink provides important guidelines to follow and explains complex mental health conditions in easily understandable language, information which is essential when psychotherapy is sought.

Dr. Stanley Goldstein is a clinical psychologist in Middletown, NY. He is the author of Shopping For A Shrink: Finding The Right Psychotherapist For You Or Your Child, and Troubled Children/Troubled Parents: The Way Out, 2nd Edition. Both books were published in 2011 by Wyston Books, Inc.

Dr. Goldstein has appeared on national broadcasts including The Larry King Show and CourtTV.

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