The American Psychological Association (APA), however, has an interesting take on this.It views this relationship as a “guilty until proven innocent” one.In other words, if the APA were to discover Sara’s innocent tryst they would assume that she is being exploited in some way unless the therapist could essentially prove that she was not.

To paraphrase: “If Sara’s therapist is a smart one, she knows that one phone call from Sara to the licensing board leads to trouble.

One missed lunch, an unreturned text message or a stolen husband by Sara’s therapist gives that chick the ammunition to turn her over to the Shrink Feds.

You couldn’t pay me enough to put myself in that spot with former clients, especially if she could become a scorned woman.” Most mental health professionals would argue that there are exceptions to the rule about post-professional relationships. For example, during my graduate training one of the students was rumored to be dating a guy who was part of a psychological experiment she was conducting.

Rob, I know you said that dual relationships with your shrink are inappropriate, but what about after therapy is over? John says I’m a “curmudgeonly, asocial tool who no one likes,” so I have to wonder if anyone would want to have any sort of post-professional relationship with me. Allison went poorly and he’s taking it out on me, which is really not cool, but that’s beyond the scope of this post.

I email and sometimes have lunch with my former therapist and we consider ourselves good friends at this point. Let’s look at the rule as it relates to this question.

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.

There is an inherent power differential between therapist and client.

You, as the client, are revealing so much about yourself yet often learn very little about the person you’re talking to. The thinking is that no matter how much your erstwhile therapist discloses to you as friends, he or she will always have that knowledge, that information that you might not have shared had you two not had a therapeutic relationship.

Technically, personal relationships can develop two years following the termination of the professional work together.

Where the two-year rule came from I have no idea but you can start having lunch with your former shrink in September, 2010 if you stop working with her tomorrow.