Sexual misconduct by psychiatrists: the ethical and clinical dilemma of confidentiality

Am J Psychiatry. 1983 Feb;140(2):195-7. doi: 10.1176/ajp.140.2.195.


Psychiatrists have an ethical obligation to expose colleagues who sexually abuse their patients. However, this obligation often conflicts with the ethical obligation of confidentiality. The principled ethical dilemma is grounded in practical clinical considerations. The author suggests systematic use of consultation as a potential method to address both ethical and clinical responsibilities.

MeSH terms

  • Codes of Ethics
  • Confidentiality*
  • Ethics, Medical*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mentally Ill Persons*
  • Physician-Patient Relations
  • Professional Misconduct*
  • Psychiatry / standards*
  • Psychoanalysis / standards
  • Psychoanalytic Therapy
  • Sex Offenses*