Journal of Contemporary Psychotherapy

, Volume 27, Issue 3, pp 215–223

Treatment with Unethical Practitioners; Caveat Emptors

  • Robert S. Pepper


Therapists who are trained at psychoanalytic institutes often foster unethical relationships between trainees and senior therapists. This practice may pass on the damage to the unsuspecting population of patients at large. One way in which trainees are harmed, at these institutes, is in their failure to develop a clear sense of the importance of boundaries in treatment. In not learning how to develop a secure frame from their own treatment, neophyte therapists are often unable to recognize the need for appropriate boundaries in their treatment of others. As a result, their patients may be in danger. The therapist who does not value the struggle to maintain a healthy balance between independence and dependence in their own treatment will probably not be able to help their patients find the proper balance either. One can only wonder how such a therapist could help their own patients know when the time to end treatment is at hand. My own research seems to indicate that unethical treatment practices at these institutes cut across ideological and theoretical differences within the analytic community. Consequently, the problem is not one of individuals who are poorly analyzed and poorly trained. Rather, the focus is a wider one, in which a serious blindspot seems to be endemic to a system that fosters a lack of regard for appropriate boundaries in treatment.


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Copyright information

© Human Sciences Press, Inc. 1997

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  • Robert S. Pepper

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