What to do if you think your Psychiatrist is Guilty of Malpractice

Psychiatrist Guilty of Malpractice: What do you need to do?

Therapeutic relationships have a possibility of turning into situations which may place a psychiatrist in a situation of malpractice. Clients at times may ask: What are the harmful effects of malpractice? What are some legal sanctions against violators? What are some of the ethical sanctions?

One such example that may arise and used as an illustration for the purpose of this paper is sexual intimacy situations because of the close bonding which occurs between client and psychiatrist because harmful effects of sexual intimacy affect clients. And there are legal sanctions against sexual violators.


The harmful effect of sexual intimacy which a client may experience range from: mistrust of the opposite sex, needing hospitalization, and in extreme cases committing suicide.

~Corey, Corey, and Callanan (2003) reveal that some clients describe having negative effects such as depression, impaired social adjustment, and may even divert to substance abuse if sexual intimacy has occurred between client and patient.

~Some other aspects of sexual intimacy include, rage, ambivalence, guilt, emptiness, sexual confusion, impaired ability to trust, and isolation (Corey, et al, 2003). Thus, clients may experience numerous negative effects of sexual intimacy with psychiatric specialist.


Legal sanctions against sexual violators vary, and are usually damaging to the psychiatrist.

1. If necessary clients are able to sue the doctor and file legal sanctions on numerous occasions.

Psychiatric specialists who are found guilty of sexual violations can have their license revoked; doctors can also be expelled from their profession and their professional organizations; and may be ordered to undergo therapy.

The legal sanctions are harsh and can seriously ruin the doctor’s professional career.

2. Ethical sanctions for psychiatrists depend on whether the professional was found guilty of sexual violations, has had previous filings against him/her, and depends on the state laws in which the crime took place.

However, the committees from the psychiatric associations consider numerous questions before considering the ethical sanctions that should be handed down.

Corey, Corey, and Callanan (2003) highlight within “Issues and Ethics in the Helping Profession,” the following questions are considered: Should the psychiatrist be allowed to continue her/his professional practice? And what actions should be recommended?

These questions are considered in conjunction with all of facts and with careful scrutiny to each case. Therefore, ethical sanctions are harmful and at all times each psychiatrist needs to consider her/his actions.


Curative relationships, thus, have a probability of evolving into sexual intimacy circumstances because of the relationship which formulates between patient and doctor.
Conversely, harmful effects of sexual intimacy affect clients, which lead to legal sanctions against doctors.

If a patient believes the psychiatrist is guilty of malpractice, seeking legal advice and consulting the American Psychiatric Association is recommended.


Corey, G., Corey, M.S., & Callanan, P. (2003). Issues & Ethics in the Helping
Profession. Pacific Grove, CA: Brooks/Cole.