To clarify the position Canadian therapists must adopt regarding their obligation to protect others against patients' potentially violent actions. This obligation is based on jurisprudence which has been well established in the United States since the Tarasoff case, but which does not apply in Canada.
A review of jurisprudence in Canada and recent clinical recommendations. The latter are then discussed in the Canadian context and followed by a range of suggested avenues to explore.
Professional standards could be established but they should be reviewed on a regular basis and allow flexibility for clinicians.
The incidence of therapist-patient sex is disturbingly high, and the obstacles to seeking legal redress against a sexually abusive therapist are numerous. The defence of consent is one of the most serious obstacles. Generally no physical coercion is involved; and the patient often believes she is consenting at the time in which sexual relations occur. The author explores how the defence of consent has been construed to bar women from succeeding in malpractice and sexual assault suits against sexually abusive therapists. Her thesis is that an understanding of the nature and dynamics of the therapeutic relationship leads to the conclusion that free and informed consent is not possible in this context. The author concludes with a discussion of whether a mandatory reporting law, requiring therapists to file a report with the relevant licencing authorities when they become aware that a current patient has engaged in sexual relations with a former therapist, would be desirable.