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"Patient" refers to anyone receiving therapy or counseling.Sexual exploitation can include sexual intercourse, sodomy, oral copulation, or any other sexual contact between a therapist and a patient or a former patient under certain circumstances.The California Department of Consumer Affairs is dedicated to working with its professional licensing board partners to protect and educate consumers.If you are a victim of sexual abuse by a therapist, it's important for you to report your experience to the board that licenses your therapist.The Department of Consumer Affairs, the Board of Psychology and the Board of Behavioral Sciences wish to thank former Senator Diane Watson, whose Senate Task Force on Psychotherapist and Patient Sexual Relations prompted the development of "Professional Therapy Never Includes Sex" in 1990. It also never includes verbal sexual advances or any other kind of sexual contact or behavior.Sexual contact of any kind between a therapist and a patient is unethical and illegal in the state of California.This booklet offers guidance and resources for consumers.For more consumer guidelines and information, you may contact the appropriate licensing board or professional association, or contact the Department of Consumer Affairs at 1-800-952-5210 or

However, a therapist who accepts or encourages these normal feelings in a sexual way - or tells a patient that sexual involvement is part of therapy - is using the trusting therapy relationship to take advantage of the patient.This booklet is available in the "Publications" section of the Department of Consumer Affairs' Web site at Single copies of the publication are available at no charge from the boards listed above and from This booklet may be copied, if (1) the meaning of copied text is not changed or misrepresented, (2) credit is given to the California Department of Consumer Affairs, and (3) all copies are distributed free of charge.California's lawmakers, licensing boards, professional associations and ethical therapists want such inappropriate sexual behavior stopped.This booklet was developed to help patients who have been sexually exploited by their therapists.

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