Those psys who sleep with their patients

Sleep with his or her psychiatrist is a recurring fantasy in therapy. Some therapists take advantage of their position to take action and abuse their patients ... What do those who have experienced such a relationship with their therapist live? Why do patients and therapists strictly forbid sexual intercourse? Investigation and testimonials.

Isabelle Taubes

"After a meeting where I told him about my fear of men, he took my hand, stroked my hair and asked me to undress," recalls Sylvie "In the face of my misgivings, he assured me that this was part of the therapy, I was unable to resist him, not knowing how to say no was one of my main symptoms and, of course, my shrink did. After a few months, I was so depressed that it was he who kicked me out. "

From the beginning of psychoanalysis, Freud established the prohibition of sexual relations between psychiatrist and patient as a basic rule. Not for the sake of moralism or for the sensitivity of the spouses of the therapist and the patient. But for having noticed that the psychiatrist must fade away, forget himself as an individual, in order to allow the patient to explore his unconscious and his fantasies.

Today, intimate and sexual relationships are clearly prohibited by the codes of ethics of psys professional organizations.

Unfortunately, this does not prevent some therapists from confusing their practice with their bedroom.

Susan Bauer, American psychiatrist and psychotherapist, investigated this sensitive topic and published her observations in Intimate Relations (Payot). If she studies mainly the Anglo-Saxon situation, her findings also apply to France, where abuse exists. What do people who have experienced too much intimacy with their therapist live? Why does the latter absolutely have to abstain from "enjoying" his patients? Survey of patients and psychologists whose practices differ. And curiously, whether they use pure psychoanalysis or therapies that include body work, all agree to denounce sexual intercourse.

Sex and therapy: incompatible

For three years, Anna's psychiatrist has been receiving her once a week in her office and lying down with her on the couch. She had gone to consult him because at 28, his emotional life was a desert. "Always the same scenario: I arrive, I undress, I lie down ... The affair is over, he kisses me on the cheek. I pay him, I leave, he is my only emotional relationship. " Anna does not complain about being abused. Yet ...

"There is always abuse in such a case, explains Bernard Auriol, psychiatrist and psychotherapist, who uses psycho-corporal techniques.Because, even if many patients seek to seduce their shrink, their real request is not of a sexual nature: they aspire to change, to get rid of the conflicts and dependencies that imprison them. But this type of relationship has the opposite effect: it encloses the patient in a universe whose therapist is the master. Of course, there are exceptions, but ... "

Moreover, insists Bernard Duperier, psychoanalyst and psychiatrist," impossible to continue being a therapist in such a situation! If the patient is too in love, the work does not move forward: obsessed by his shrink, he thinks only of himself and stops wondering about his own problems. And if, in addition, there is passage to the sexual act, the patient will be permanently encysted in his passion. In fact, I do not see how one can fall in love with a patient. The raw truths that are revealed on the couch seem to me to be incompatible with the mystery necessary for the blossoming of love. "

Who goes to the act?

Susan Bauer distinguishes three cases of psys who pass to the act the naïve therapist and sincere, persuaded to help his patient: most often, it is a female psychologist, such as this 57-year-old psychologist, who, in all good faith, "wanted to give a second chance to a schizophrenic patient." Then comes the incompetent therapist . "There is as in any profession, says Bernard Duperier. Poorly trained, they do not know where to stop. "Finally, minority, the" predatory "psychiatrist :" He takes advantage of his position, says Christophe André, psychiatrist and psychotherapist. Feeling his patients ready to be seduced, he proposes, under the pretext of therapy, sexual games. In order not to be worried by justice or professional organizations, he interrupts therapy most often by telling his prey that he no longer needs it. And when he's finished having fun, he abandons her. Generally, it is a recidivist. "

According to him, the psys who act out are recruited mainly from doctors, sexologists and practitioners of body-mediated therapies.The pretext to look for a supposed hormonal disorder, It is easy for them to ask the patient to undress or caress her breasts to believe that it is a relaxation exercise, but in fact all therapists, all schools, can

However, in the vast majority of couch idylls, the psychiatrist feels real love feelings, Susan Bauer insists, but this love does not stop the damage. "The therapeutic community knows some people who have even plated woman and children to marry a patient, adds Christophe André. And things rarely go well. Almost always, these therapists are going through a difficult time in their lives. Almost always, the patient is much younger than them and idealizes them, which is not conducive to the development of the couple."

Raymonde Hazan, now a therapist, creator of intensive analysis, has experienced the transgression with her first analyst, and if she testifies, it is because in her eyes she is now part of her professional experience ":" Thanks to that, I know the limit, I know what a shrink can or not allow himself. " For example, she has developed a flexible therapeutic framework that includes sessions outside the office-in a café, etc. - and allows the patient to call when he feels the need. Moreover, more and more psys no longer hesitate to work in a more flexible than the classic couch / chair.

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