ERIC Number: ED201915
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1980-Sep
Gender Differences in Therapist Responses to Client Sexual Material.
Schover, Leslie R.
Sexual feelings between therapist and client have been a source of theoretical controversy since the beginnings of modern psychotherapy. Psychotherapists' (N=72) verbal behavior, affective reactions, and clinical judgments in response to audiotapes of client sexual material were investigated. Therapist gender, client gender, and type of sexual content were systematically varied. After hearing and responding to a client tape, therapists rated their own anxiety and sexual arousal, the client's attractiveness and pyschopathology, and the ease of establishing a therapy relationship with the client, and completed several demographic and attitude scales. Female therapists were more comfortable than males with client sexual material. Male therapists with liberal sexual attitudes were sexually aroused by a seductive female client and encouraged such interactions. Conservative men were aroused by a woman describing her sexual problem, but reacted with anxiety and verbal avoidance. These results illustrate that a well-trained and experienced group of professionals is not entirely comfortable in dealing with client sexuality. More direct and extensive education is needed to increase therapists' knowledge about sexuality, and to help them cope with their sexual attraction to clients. (Author/NRB)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Convention of the American Psychological Association (88th, Montreal, Quebec, Canada, September 1-5, 1980).