Sexual Attraction Toward Clients, Use of Supervision, and Prior Training: A Qualitative Study of Predoctoral Psychology Interns
American Psychological Association
Journal of Counseling Psychology
Interviews were conducted with 13 predoctoral psychology interns about an experience of sexual attraction toward a client, use of supervision to address the sexual attraction, and prior training regarding sexual attraction. Results indicated that sexual attraction to clients consisted of physical and interpersonal aspects. Therapists believed they were more invested and attentive than usual to clients to whom they were sexually attracted, and they indicated that sexual attraction created distance, distraction, and loss of objectivity. In terms of supervision, only half of the participants disclosed their sexual attraction to supervisors, and supervisors seldom initiated the discussion. Furthermore, trainees found it helpful when supervisors normalized the sexual attraction and provided the opportunity to explore feelings in supervision. Finally, trainees believed their training programs did not adequately address therapist sexual attraction.