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The three criteria were that the member: (1) had earned a doctoral degree in the clinical or counseling area, (2) was currently licensed, and (3) appeared, according to the listing, to be currently providing clinical or counseling services to patients (e.g., was not retired).

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[Because participants were asked how many of the sexually involved patients fell into each of these ten categories, no statistical analysis was possible relating these categories to such factors as whether the patients were male or female, or whether the intimacies were initiated before or after termination.] The form asked how many patients participants had seen, over the course of their career, who made what was, in the participant's opinion, a false allegation about having engaged in sex with a prior therapist.

Finally, participants were asked to indicate whether their graduate school, internship, or continuing education programs provided adequate training regarding understanding, assessing, and treating patients who have been sexually intimate with a therapist.

Respondents reported a total of 958 patients who had engaged in such intimacies.

A 2 X 2 X 2 frequency table was formed among patient gender, whether or not the patient was harmed, and whether sexual intimacies were initiated before or after termination.

The pioneering study in this area was conducted by Bouhoutsos and her colleagues (1983).

This creative, landmark research found that about 45% of the psychologists surveyed reported treating such patients.Respondents reported that in about 4% of the 1,000 cases in which the issue of sexual intimacies arose, the allegations were false.As the phenomenon of therapist-patient sexual involvement receives increasing acknowledgement as a problem for the mental health professions and the harm that may occur for patients becomes a focus of clinical inquiry (see, e.g., Bates & Brodsky, 1989; Brodsky, 1989; Brown, 1988; Feldman-Summers, 1989; Gabbard, 1989; Gilbert & Scher, 1989; Kluft, 1989; Lapierre & Valiquette, 1989; Pope, 1990a, Pope 1990b.The findings, however, must be viewed cautiously because of at least three major factors: (1) the survey was limited to psychologists in only one state (California), (2) the return rate was exceptionally small (16%), and (3) there were no published attempts at replication.In addition, data on patients who became intimate with a therapist more than three months after termination and on patients who made false allegations were not collected.There is no meaningful way to infer from such studies, however, how many patients who have been sexually intimate with a therapist subsequently seek professional services from other therapists.

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