Dr. Jones, a clinical psychologist, has been seeing Lisa L. in therapy for one month. Dr. Jones considers Lisa to be a very attractive woman and finds himself having sexual fantasies about her. As an ethical psychologist, Dr. Jones should ______.
- recognize that such attraction is normal but proceed with caution.
- confess his attraction to Lisa and make it a topic for mutual examination in therapy.
- recognize that such attraction is inappropriate and refer Lisa to another therapist without explaining the reason to her.
- continue working with Lisa but consult with a colleague if he believes his attraction might be interfering with his objectivity.
The Correct Answer is D.
The most professional and ethical behavior in this situation is for Dr. Jones to recognize his feelings while realizing that, as a professional, he cannot act on those feelings. It would be acceptable, under these conditions, for Dr. Jones to continue working with Lisa unless his feelings begin to interfere with his ability to provide treatment to her. If this occurs, Dr. Jones should seek professional consultation to determine the best course of action, and doing so would be consistent with the provisions of Standard 2.06 of the APA's Ethics Code.
Answer A: This answer is incorrect as attraction to a client is not necessarily "normal" and "proceeding with caution" may not be adequate.
Answer B: This answer is incorrect. Whether therapists should discuss attraction with their clients is a controversial issue, and in most cases, is not advisable.
Answer C: This answer is incorrect. Referring Lisa to another therapist might be the appropriate action if Dr. Jones feels that his attraction to Lisa is interfering with his ability to treat her. The information given in the question, however, does not suggest that this is the case, and response D is a better answer.