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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.
[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.
The questionnaire did not enumerate the various possible forms of sexual intimacy and harm; whether either had occurred was to be based solely upon each respondent's professional assessment and opinion.
Data were collected in comparable categories for male patients who had engaged in sexual intimacies that were initiated before or after termination.
Pope, 1990c, Pope, 1994, Pope, 2000; Pope & Bouhoutsos, 1986; Pope, Sonne, & Holroyd, 1993; Pope & Vasquez, 1998; Shopland & Vande Creek, 1991; Sonne, 1989; Sonne & Pope, 1991; Vasquez, 1991), it is important to know the extent to which psychologists are likely to encounter such patients in their practice.
The two earliest national prevalence studies based on anonymous surveys of psychologists (Holroyd & Brodsky, 1977; Pope, Levenson & Schover, 1979) suggest that perhaps as many as 12% of male therapists and 3% of female therapists engaged in sexual intimacies with at least one patient (for a review of research in the area of patient-therapist sex, see Pope, 1990c, 1994, 2000).
Thus the final data base was provided by 647 respondents.
About half (n = 323) of the 647 respondents who had provided clinical or counseling services reported seeing professionally at least one patient who had been sexually intimate with a therapist.
Survey forms were returned by 654 of the 1,320 potential respondents, yielding a response rate of 50%.