Warning – contains spoilers for Season One of In Treatment.
I have just finished watching Season One of In Treatment, and I have some very mixed feelings about some of the so-called therapy that Paul dishes out to Laura. Therapy sex is an absolute no-no, and the fact that Paul can’t get it up and has an anxiety attack trying to do so doesn’t make it any less unethical, immoral and completely illegal. The therapist who sexualizes his clients, no matter what the provocation (and Laura is a very seductive erotically-transferred client) is committing a crime.
M. Scott Peck, author of The Road Less Traveled, said that if he thought it would benefit his clients, he would sleep with them. But the cure is not through sex, it’s through relationship. The power differential between therapist and client is always there — even after therapy has essentially finished; and no amount of time will ever resolve the fact that one person has major power over the other.
I know sexual feelings, on the part of the client, is not unusual. I am a female heterosexual, who has never had a lesbian affair, having therapy with a female heterosexual therapist, yet sexual feelings (only on my part) arose in my therapy about six years ago. It freaked me out considerably. I was able, after a few years, to raise the subject in the context of “fluid sexuality” that most human beings — even my therapist — experience on a continuum, with heterosexuality on one pole and homosexuality at the opposite end. It is normal for most people to have feelings for the same sex on a sliding scale.