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Aust N Z J Psychiatry. 1998 Jun;32(3):387-91.

Sex, lies and training programs: the ethics of consensual sexual relationships between psychiatrists and trainee psychiatrists.

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  • 1University of Sydney, Westmead Hospital, New South Wales, Australia.



The aim of this paper is to chart the ethical territory surrounding the issue of consensual sexual relationships between psychiatrists and doctors training in psychiatry.


The arguments for and against the prohibition of such relationships are critically examined both in general and in a number of specific circumstances.


There should not be a general prohibition against such relationships, but a prohibition should apply in certain special circumstances. Such circumstances include occasions when the psychiatrist is currently supervising the trainee, when a particular psychiatrist has repeated sexual relationships with trainees and when a group of psychiatrists voluntarily pledge to abstain from such relationships.


Institutions involved in psychiatric training should develop guidelines for dealing with such relationships, adopting a generally permissive attitude toward them with clear exceptions in special cases.

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