home | faq | registered students log-in | join our mailing list | e-mail us | to order

Sexual Boundary Violations:

Therapeutic, Supervisory, and Academic Contexts

by Andrea Celenza, PhD

This course meets the qualifications for 7 hours of continuing education


This course is an overview of the issues associated with sexual boundary violations in therapeutic, supervisory and academic contexts. Sexual boundary violations are considered the most serious ethical infraction in the mental health profession, as well as in higher education and pastoral counseling. Recognized as unethical due to the power imbalance inherent in the structure of the therapist-patient and teacher-student dyads, erotic contact between therapists and patients has been revealed in prevalence studies to occur at an unacceptably high incidence rate (9 to 12 per cent). There exist few programs, teaching methods, and preventative measures that adequately address the problem of sexual boundary violations, despite the fact that discussing this problem openly is no longer taboo. This course addresses this gap, providing educators, trainers, and clinicians with a resource to aid in developing programs, ethics workshops, seminars, and other educative or clinical teaching projects.

This course incorporates the latest findings in the area of sexual boundary violations.This course also includes the introduction of a preventative measure and assessment tool that caregivers may use to identify levels of risk or vulnerability at different points in their career. This measure derives from a research project that employed eleven reliable and validated psychological measures. This is an empirically controlled, double-blind study not previously published. Several of the measures are combined to develop a 'Boundary Violation Vulnerability Index' based on this research. This measure represents a preventative tool to aid therapists in training as well as those at different points in their careers in order to monitor levels of risk in an ongoing way.

Please join us in this 7 unit course.

Learning Objectives

In this 7 unit course, clinicians will be able to:

  1. Identify misunderstandings about the problem of sexual boundary violations.
  2. Describe the eight risk factors associated with sexual boundary violations.
  3. Discuss the most typical transference/countertransference scenario where sexual boundary violations occur.
  4. Clarify the nature of the power imbalance in therapeutic, academic and supervisory contexts.
  5. Describe how the therapy relationship replicates early childhood contexts.
  6. Demonstrate the capacity to self-assess levels of risk of boundary transgressions.
  7. Demonstrate how they can continually monitor their level of risk in an ongoing way.


This course consists of a post-test based upon reading the text. There is no online material to read. After you pass the post-test, you may print out your own certificate.

is approved by the:

American Psychological Association to sponsor continuing education for psychologists - www.psychceu.com maintains responsibility for this program and its content.
Board of Registered Nursing (#13620)
California Board of Behavioral Science accepts our CE Provider Approvals through APA, NASW, and NBCC. Course meets the qualifications for hours of continuing education credit for LMFTs, LCSWs, LPCCs, and/or LEPs as required by the California Board of Behavioral Science
Florida Board of Clinical Social Work, Marriage and Family Therapy, Mental Health Counseling (BAP 753 )
NAADAC - The Association for Addiction Professionals (#575)
National Board for Certified Counselors - www.psychceu.com has been approved by NBCC as an Approved Continuing Education Provider, ACEP No. 6055. Programs that do not qualify for NBCC credit are clearly identified. www.psychceu.com is solely responsible for all aspects of the programs. (ACEP #6055)
Texas State Board of Examiners of Professional Counselors (#1761)
The Texas Board of Social Work Examiners (#6246)

maintains responsibility for the program.



how it works

Due to the wonders of technology, the minute you submit your order over our secure line, it is encrypted, and processed safely and securely by Authorize.net, a secure web processor. Or, if you prefer, call us toll-free 888-777-3773.

You will immediately receive confirmation of your order, your password and how to access the course material. (Please do not block e-mails from classes@psychceu.com, orders@psychceu.com and info@psychceu.com)

If you ordered an online course, you can begin to take the course immediately.

You will receive instructions, via e-mail, on how to take your test online.

Contact us or call if you need technical support.

Your test will be graded online, so the moment you have passed, you may print out your certificate of completion.

That's it! You are done!

To receive credit students must
  • register for the course (order on-line or call toll-free 888-777-3773), after which you will receive the Post-Test. 
  • the cost of the course is $99, the book is an additional $49.95 +shipping and handling
  • read Sexual Boundary Violations: Therapeutic, Supervisory, and Academic Contexts

# Hardcover: 270 pages
# Publisher: Jason Aronson; 1 edition (June 28, 2007)
# ISBN-10: 0765704714

  • Pass the post-test
  • Upon passing the test, you print your own certificate of completion
Table of contents

Pt. I Nature and scope of the problem

1 How do they happen? 3
2 This couldn't happen to me 15
3 Precursors to therapist sexual misconduct 27
4 When is a couch just a couch? 43
5 The therapeutic context 55
6 Academic and supervisory contexts 65
7 Sexual misconduct in the clergy 77

Pt. II Reporting, fallout, and recovery

8 Reporting and other ethical responsibilities 95
9 Collateral damage and recovery 111
10 Helping the victims 129

Pt. III Rehabilitation

11 Therapy of the transgressor 145
12 Helping the helpers : supervision of the transgressor 159

Pt. IV Prevention

13 Responsible responsivity
14 Love and hate in the countertransference : preventing violations through supervision 191
15 Boundary violations vulnerability index (BVVI) 201

App. A Personal and interpersonal characteristics of transgressors 213
App. B A Rorschach investigation 231



Reviews for Sexual Boundary Violations: Therapeutic, Supervisory, and Academic Contexts

"Andrea Celenza eloquently captures the damage--to themselves, their victims, their professions, and the wider social fabric--inflicted by professionals and clergy who transgress sexual boundaries. Her incisiveness about the non-negotiable need for sexual integrity is achieved, however, without unnecessarily demonizing those who cross lines that never should be crossed. Rather, she combines clarity tempered with compassion in addressing the characteristics of perpetrators. Most importantly, Celenza insists upon differentiating among transgressors. She challenges us to appreciate the unique humanity and circumstances of people many of us wish to lump together and dissociate from consciousness. She challenges us instead to hold in mind paradox and contradiction. This book is a vital component of continuing education and consciousness-raising for all of us who vow first to "do no harm.""—Mary Gail Frawley-O'Dea, Ph.D., author, Perversion of Power: Sexual Abuse in the Catholic Church; co-author, The Supervisory Relationship: A Psychodynamic Perspective; co-editor, Perpetrating Priests and Silent Victims: Sexual Abuse and the Catholic Church

"Sexual Boundary Violations is an essential text for the mental health field and should become required reading for therapists, analysts, teachers, and clergy. I am sure that we will use it in our training program as part of the required course on professional ethics. Comprehensive, well organized, clearly written, with numerous and often gripping clinical illustrations, the book not only reviews the literature but provides practical and helpful guidance for clinicians and clergy as well as for those who teach and supervise them."—Lewis Aron, Ph.D., New York University Postdoctoral Program in Psychotherapy and Psychoanalysis

"Dr. Celenza holds the various phenomena involved in sexual boundary violations by therapists and clergy to a multi-faceted lens of clinical psychoanalysis, supervisory consultation, psychological testing, empirical research, ethics, law--and that metapsychologically elusive human attribute called decency. She extends and deepens the existing knowledge in this realm while introducing many intriguing and useful novel concepts of her own. Avoiding the pitfalls of sentimentality and moralizing, Celenza unmasks the ubiquitous vulnerability to such transgressions and the profound damage caused by them. She delineates ameliorative and preventive strategies aimed at minimizing such betrayals. Unerringly compassionate in its approach, Celenza's work is a shining tribute to the essential humanity at the heart of the psychotherapeutic enterprise."—Salman Akhtar, M.D., professor of psychiatry, Jefferson Medical College; training and supervising analyst, Psychoanalytic Center of Philadelphia

"Andrea Celenza is one of a handful of mental health professionals who has studied the problem of sexual boundary violations in the helping professions. Where others speculate, she brings years of clinical experience to bear on the subject. The result is a highly informative and comprehensive overview of the causes, consequences and casualties of sexual boundary violations. She maintains a humane perspective and offers valuable strategies for rehabilitation and treatment. All mental health professionals would be wise to spend some time with this superb new book."—Glen O. Gabbard, M.D., chair of psychoanalysis, The Brown Foundation; professor of psychiatry, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, Texas

Andrea Celenza, Ph.D., is an Assistant Clinical Professor at Harvard Medical School. Dr. Celenza has consulted with, evaluated, supervised or treated over 70 cases of therapist-patient sexual misconduct. She has authored and presented numerous papers on therapists who have engaged in sexual misconduct with a focus on training, supervisory and rehabilitation issues. She is consultant to professional licensing boards, professional organizations and institutes as well as the Episcopal Diocese and other clerical organizations. Dr. Celenza is a member of the Committee on Psychoanalytic Education (COPE) of the American Psychoanalytic Association, a study group focusing on boundaries. She is on the faculty at the Boston Psychoanalytic Society and Institute and Massachusetts Institute of Psychoanalysis. In 2006, Dr. Celenza was the recipient of the Karl A. Menninger Memorial Award and the Felix and Helena Deutsch Prize for her paper, "The Threat of Male to Female Erotic Transference." She is in private practice in Lexington, Massachusetts


Take the test online!
Print out your own certificate!
This course counts as a 'regular' (not self-study) course by the CA BBS!


To order


e-mail us!

Frequently Asked Questions



APA Ethics

We do adhere to the American Psychological Association's Ethical Principles of Psychologists. Our courses are carefully screened by the Planning Committee to adhere to APA standards. We also require authors who compose Internet courses specifically for us follow APA ethical standards.

Many of our courses contain case material, and may use the methods of qualitative research and analysis, in-depth interviews and ethnographic studies. The psychotherapeutic techniques depicted may include play therapy, sandplay therapy, dream analysis, drawing analysis, client and therapist self-report, etc. The materials presented may be considered non-traditional and may be controversial, and may not have widespread endorsement within the profession. www.psychceu.com maintains responsibility for the program and its content.

© 2018. www.psychceu.com. all rights reserved