Lesbian feminist community therapist
escaped official disbarment
for unethical sex

By Astraea Notwithstanding

The following account of lesbian sexual liaison during formal therapy is one of those stories that every journalist hears, which they can not or should not publish in full detail. The law will not allow us to publish or pass on any identification of the uncensured doctor. Because Dr. X's lesbian and/or feminist therapist peers protected her from formal-legal punishment, they now officially share some of her guilt, and are thus silenced lest they be formally-legally punished in her place. Thus we have reason to believe that Dr. X will not be publicly identified by anything written here.

Furthermore, we were not there, and we have only this one account, although it spans three decades. We have promised anonymity to the corresponding author, whom we graciously thank, but whom we do not personally know. Caveat, that even the most compelling anonymous stories should be read with care for agendas hidden from us, the reporter. In such a microcosm of therapy, gender preference, art, and ultimately social power, some agendas might be hidden from the corresponding author as well.

In all fairness there seems to be more than one legitimate headline spin to this story:

  • Lesbian community therapists courageously administer peer justice during discriminatory era
  • Lesbian and/or feminist therapists violated psychological, professional and legal standards to avoid public scandal during time of social-political gains
  • Lesbian community therapists refused to turn in unethical peer (to male-dominated LA licensing board?), leaving suffering lesbian/feminist art community without recourse to this day
  • Lesbian community therapists quietly cleaned house when an intimate colleague went too far with a controversial idea
  • Dr. X is reported to have been an out lesbian in times when that was very risky for a professional therapist with a doctoral degree. It should not surprise us that someone so daring should be driven by excess hormones.

    Please don't assume that you know Dr. X, even if your therapist had sex with you. The reason that you probably *don't* know Dr. X, is that sex with therapists during formal therapy became very common during the last half century. California especially had such a reputation, and LA had both a large client population as well as an overwhelming popularity for many psychological therapies.

    This epidemic downside of the sexual revolution could be compared to the suspected epidemic of female sexual child abuse during Freud's time. Some historians now believe that Freud felt compelled to withdraw his Seduction Theory, because *most* of his professional doctor colleagues either had actively engaged in incest or introspectively flirted with the idea to the point that they did not wish to discuss it. And logically, there would have been a lot of female client seduction after the daughters grew up and left.

    Finally, there was a notion that 60's-70's clients could be released from their hangups through sex with the therapist. This was once a popular idea with a significantly large number of therapists. Maybe it worked for at least a few clients, if we can believe what we read from those free-love days. Maybe most of us would feel better about ourselves if we could have sex with someone honest, skillful, and good-looking, but how many therapists can fit that description all the time with every client?

    Before judging Dr. X too harshly, consider that many of the lesbian community therapists may have been doing approximately the same thing as Dr. X, but possibly with more of the professional discipline we expect from a trained sex surrogate today. Considering that Dr. X might have had pillow talk with some, many, or even most of her therapist peers, imagine what Dr. X might have had to say to the licensing board about the peers' sexual activities, on and off the office couch. If the male-dominated medical-psychological establishment was what the lesbians and feminists say it was, the whole Southern California regional therapeutic generation could have been disbarred... -- (Backgrounder by Astraea Notwithstanding)

    anonymous statement

    "In 1973, I became a client of Dr. X's. After some period of therapy - during many of which sessions Dr. X did all of the talking - she came onto me. She started by pretending to do Reichian bodywork with me, which she had never received herself and in which she had had exactly one hour of training, by her own account. She attempted to get me to undress for this. Later, I encountered her at a restaurant and she propositioned me. We had a brief liaison during which she told me that she had also had sex with her very first client in LA, during the first session. She violated the confidentiality of many of her clients to me, and I observed her flirting and dancing provocatively at community dances with women she told me were her clients. I was devastated when she ended our relationship. I moved out of the area.

    "In around 1986 an announcement appeared in a California newsletter. It was about a meeting of LA lesbian community therapists to discuss "confronting boundary violations within the LA lesbian therapy community". Then, in the early 90s, I became lovers with a woman who had formerly been a member of the LA lesbian/feminist art community. Of five lovers she'd had during her years in LA, two had been clients of Dr. X's who had had sexual relations with Dr. X during therapy. One, an artist who subsequently moved to NYC, had consulted Dr. X about wondering if she (the artist) might be a lesbian. Dr. X suggested during their first session that there was "one way to find out". They spent the night together, and the artist decided she was a lesbian. Three years later, she decided she had been mistaken. The other former client my lover had dated was one of a group connected with the feminist art school/LA women's building.

    "My lover had told me that it was well known in LA that Dr X had continued her seduction of clients at a regular pace, and that the meeting I'd seen announced in the therapist newsletter had indeed been about Dr X, and that the upshot had been a confrontation with Dr X, in which she had been warned that if she did not give up her practice she would be handed over to the licensing board. She did quit her practice, and a couple of years later left the area.

    "The therapists involved in giving Dr X the boot might well be reluctant to talk, as technically they could be subject to action by their licensing board for failing to report Dr X to the board.

    "My major concern is that I believe, from having known Dr X and from learning that she continued her behavior on such a grand scale for so many years, that she and must be stopped if she ever attempts to practice again. If someone found evidence that she was practicing again, I could give several additional names of women from that community who would have information. Otherwise, I'd just as soon stay out of it.

    "I was long done with the whole thing - just another small disaster of my youth - and had assumed that Dr X would have wisened up. It was when I got the above information that I developed a personal interest in checking on Dr X to make sure she didn't go back to her old routine once she thought no one was looking. I knew that she had grown up in either ___ or ___ and heard she'd headed back that way. I could not find any listing that indicated she was still practicing."

    Astraea Notwithstanding
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