The information we present is drawn from our own experience and training as well as from discussions with several experts who have examined this issue in massage therapy and psychotherapy contexts.
When a therapist dates a former client, the client is the person most obviously at risk as a result of issues relating to power and transference.
ACA Chief Professional Officer David Kaplan conducted the following interview with ACA Ethical Code Revision Task Force Chair Michael Kocet. Sexual or romantic interactions with clients continue to be prohibited? The 2005 ACA Code of Ethics continues to recognize the harm that can be impacted upon clients when they are sexually intimate with their counselor.
When La Rue Lundeen and Kirk Fjellman began dating, neither had a clue that Lundeen would be accused of breaking the law because of their relationship.
But up until four months before the relationship began, Fjellman had been Lundeen's massage-therapy client—and in Minnesota, where both live and where Lundeen practices, a therapist must wait two years before engaging in an intimate relationship with a former client.
Just Wait a Little While Lawyers who want to date former clients should thus wait until the entire action is over before starting the relationship.
Just because representation ceases doesn't mean the ongoing duties cease.
For Psychologists in the United States, personal relationships (whether they be sexual or platonic) after professional ones are frowned upon.
The reason for this and all ethical codes is client protection.
The American Psychological Association (APA), however, has an interesting take on this.
It views this relationship as a “guilty until proven innocent” one.
There is an inherent power differential between therapist and client.