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When people are hurting, confused, frightened or even unhappy they may often seek help from a therapist. There are times that a person might be depressed and they might even think of killing themselves. They might be unhappy when it came to their relationships and they might not exactly known how to bring about change. There are times that they might be suffering from trauma that comes from domestic violence, incest or even rape. The therapeutic relationship that exists between psychologists and their patients is a special one.
It is a relationship that is often characterized by both trust and vulnerability. The people that have come to consult the psychologist might talk to the therapists regarding their events, thoughts, feelings as well as behaviors. These are things that they might never disclose to any other person. Almost every country in the World has come to realize the special nature of this therapeutic relationship and the different special responsibilities that exists between therapists especially in relation to their clients which requires them to go for special training in order to get licensure for the therapists and by recognizing a therapist-patient privilege that enables safeguards the sanctity and privacy of what the patients can be able to their therapist.
There are however some psychologists that take advantage of the client’s trust and vulnerability and they go ahead and sexually exploit the client (Sell, 1985). The psychologist-patient sex has been introduced and has been made a civil law and therefore, offenders might be sued for malpractice, there are some areas that have criminalized the offense. The ethics codes of psychologists prohibits this offense and states that psychologists should be able to understand that sexual exploitation of their patients is a malpractice.
Extreme ambivalence can be described as one of the consequences that comes with debilitating consequences of involvement with therapist. It is caught between two sets of several conflicting impulses and the suffering of this consequence might find themselves as being psychologically paralyzed and unable to make them much progress in either direction. Another consequence that comes is cognitive dysfunction as many people that have been sexually involved with a psychologist experience intense cognitive dysfunction. This often interferes with their attention, concentration and memory. The flow of experience in many cases is often interrupted by the unbidden thoughts, the flashbacks, memory fragments and nightmares. Emotional liability often reflects disruption of the person’s characteristic way of thinking and feeling. Intense emotions might at times erupt suddenly and without case and they might lead to a completely unrelated complex situation. This emotional disconnect can often be profound and might lead to sobbing. Lastly, the people that come sexually involved with a therapist might become flooded with persistent and irrational guilt. This guilt is often irrational because it is in all instances the therapist’s responsibility in order to avoid sexually abusing a patient.
There are ethical considerations that must be examined when sexual relationships are established between the psychologist and the patient. One the relationship has been established, the question regarding the effect to the therapeutic relationship that exists between the two can be examined. The major image of psychologists is that of people that deal with mental problems and they help in solving behavior orders. It is therefore, very important and critical to ensure that the different services are rendered to clients, students and patients that are ethically responsible and are capably performed. Sexual intimacy in therapy can be described as any fondling, erotic acts such as intercourse, touching and kissing that occur between a therapist and a patient.
Basically, the relationship has to be sexualized in order for it to be described as sexual intimacies. However, non-erotic supportive or friendly hugging, kissing and greeting are often not seen as sexual intimacies In fact, intentionality as well as awareness of the consequences and the setting of limits for the different non-sexual relations must always be a part of the picture. Therefore, a friendly pat on the shoulder cannot be described as sexual intimacy. The critical factor that comes in the discerning whether the patient-therapist relationship is of a sexual nature is often determined by the context in which they occur. Any contacts that do not have any sexualizing context between the psychologist and the patient cannot be deemed as being of a sexual intimate nature in therapy.
Ethically, there is a need to create professional boundaries between the psychologist and the patient. The boundaries can be described as the framework within which the therapist and the client relationship occurs. In fact, boundaries make the relationship professional as well as safe for the client. The boundaries are important as they set the parameters by which the psychological services can be delivered. Professional boundaries often include fee setting, the time of session, personal disclosure and limits regarding the use of touch and the general tone of professional relationship. In fact, the boundary can refer to the line that exists between the self of the client as well as the self of the therapist (Kluft, 1989). The primary concern in ethical concerns of the establishment and management of boundaries in each individual can be described as being in the best interests of the client. The boundary matters are often not clear cut out and instead they are dependent upon different factors that require critical analysis and always keeping in mind the interests of the client. It is of the essence to note that there often exists an inherent power imbalance, the therapist’s power often arises from the client’s trust and the therapist is known to have the expertise to help with his or her problems.
Further, the fact that the client’s disclosure of personal information that would otherwise not be revealed also gives the psychologists more power. The fact that the therapy services cannot be provided until the clients are willing to co-operate does not in any way change the fundamental power imbalance. Therefore, it can be argued that the therapist has fiduciary duty in order to act in the best interests of the client and it is ultimately responsible when it comes to the management of boundary issues and therefore, accountable should enable violations to occur. Given the power imbalance that exists in the professional/client relationship, clients often find it difficult to negotiate several boundaries in order to recognize and defend themselves against several boundary violations. The clients may at times be unaware of the need for several professional boundaries and therefore, it might at times initiate behavior and make requests in order to constitute boundary violations.
There are often a number of areas where it might be difficult to draw a line and the boundaries might become blurred. The first is disclosure, although there are cases when self- disclosure might be appropriate and the members often need to be careful that the purpose of the self-disclosure for the client’s benefits. In this case a number of dangers might exist in self-disclosure at includes shifting of the focus from the needs of the clients to the different needs of the therapist and they move the professional relationship towards one of the friendship. The different blurring of boundaries at time might confuse the clients with respect to expectations and roles, and the primary question that is asked does the self-disclosure in order to serve the client’s therapeutic goal (Layman, & McNamara, 1997).
Ethically it is wrong to give and receive significant gifts from the patients. The giving or receiving of more than token value where is contrary to professional standards because of the different risks of changing the therapeutic relationship. In fact, a client that receives gift from the member can feel the pressure to reciprocate in order to avoid receiving inferior care. Therefore, a member often accepts a significant risk from a client risks that alters the therapeutic relationship and one can feel pressure to reciprocate by offering some special care.
Further, dual relationships should be avoided (Layman, & McNamara, 1997). This often occurs in situations where the member of a clinician can be able to handle different significant authority and emotionally relationship with the same person. There are examples such as work place supervisor, family member and course instructor. The members needs to remain cognizant with the purpose of avoiding dual relationships in order to avoid exploit the inherent power imbalance that exists between the psychologist and the patient. Overlapping relationships can be described as problematic because at many cases they might not be avoided (Pope, 2008). These factors should be avoided in order to try and maintain an ethical relationship between the psychologists and the patient.
Whether because of the recognition of the different ways in which sex with a psychologist can harm the client, or even the legal penalties studies are now suggesting that there are fewer psychologists that are sexually abusing their patients. The research that suggests that the rate of therapists sexually abusing their clients may be declining can be described as encouraging, however, this is far from enough. The time is overdue of the mental health professions to put quintessence of sex based practice. Female clients are at far greater than the male clients for the damaging for sexual exploitation by a therapist. There are ethical considerations that should always be taken into consideration when it comes to sexual exploitation by the mental health professionals (Layman, & McNamara, 1997).
In conclusion, it is difficult for a client or patient to given consent to sexual contact or boundary violations because the helping professionals often hold a great deal of power of the client and the patient. In fact 90% of sexual boundary violations often occur between the male provider with the female client and patient (Gartrell, 1986). The behavior is often regarded to as unethical and in almost every licensed profession it can be described as grounds for malpractice as well as possible loss of silence. Psychologists need to understand harms that often occur when they have sexual intimacy with their patients and therefore, they should completely avoid it.
Gartrell, N., Herman, J., Olarte, S., Feldstein, M., & Localio, R. (1986). Psychiatrist-patient sexual contact: results of a national survey, 1: Prevalence.American Journal of Psychiatry, 143, 1126-1131.
Layman, M. J., & McNamara, J. R. (1997). Remediation for ethics violations: Focus on psychotherapists' sexual contact with clients. Professional Psychology: Research and Practice, 28, 281-292.
Pope, K. S., & Bouhoutsos, J. C. (2008). Sexual intimacy between therapists and patients. New York: Praeger.
Kluft, R. P. (1989). Treating the patient who has been sexually exploited by a previous therapist. Psychiatric Clinics of North America,12, 483-500.
Sell, J. M., Gottlieb, M. C., & Schoenfeld, L. (1986). Ethical considerations of social/romantic relationships with present and former clients. Professional Psychology: Research and Practice, 17, 504-508.
Pornography is the display or portrayal of sexual content with the main aim being the arousal of the viewer or any other recipient. The display of porn differs according to the target media and the age in which it was produced. Common media used to display the content broadly entails print media, graphic media, and digital media. From the definition, porn is the display of the act and not eh actual conduction of the act (Watson, 2010). This definition does not include the actual shows such as live sex and stripping. Subjects of the depictions are models if they pose for an image that is later depicted in the print media or digitized photos. Performers in the act are known as pornstars. However, if the performers do not engage in any special skills, they are no longer referred to as pornstars. On the contrary, they are referred to as models.
In most cases, various groups in the society believe that the depiction of the sexual content is immoral and noxious. The groups have proceeded to seek the classification of the content as indecent with varying degrees of success. Works involving the pornographic depictions have been censored under the applicable obscenity laws. From the depictions, it is evident that the society does not uphold the beliefs (Smith, 1993). Some of the arguments brought up against the depiction have moral and psychological bases.
This paper will evaluate the various arguments culminating in the portrayal of adverse and negative effects of consuming pornographic content. The discussion is relevant in the recent years after the development of the new means of depicting the content that were absent in the previous centuries. The issue is an also requires urgent attention given the rise of the internet porn and the difficulties in regulating the content that children view. The argument on the dangers of the vice will be based on the social ramifications, psychological effects, and moral arguments. Legal aspects of the precursor activities to the development of the content will also be reviewed to create more understanding of the ramifications of the vice.
Morality is the belief in what is right and what is wrong. The society’s take on porn is different with the majority of the members against the depiction of any indecent behavior in the public context. Most of the societies are built on the religious foundations that uphold all sexual matters are a reserve of the family. These issues have to be handled in the privacy of the home. The display of the content in such a society is seen as a contradiction to the rules of the society. It is also viewed as a movement against the actual development of the viewer’s according to the tenets of the society (Chung, 2011).
Since the society has a belief in the development of any sexually indecent behaviors, the advances of pornography in the traditional media and the online platform is a huge contradiction of the rules that the society has developed over the time. To generalize the society’s perception of pornography, it is important to look at the predominant religions and their take on the issue. Christianity and Islam, the main religions, do not support the depiction of indecency. Therefore, the global society is against the depictions of nudity and any content of a sexual nature.
Pornography is a means of propagating the demeaning of women. Additionally, it increases the acts of violence towards women in either/both production and consumption stage. The production process entails the coercion of the women physically, psychologically and economically. In the consumption stages, the viewers of the content often eroticize the domination and degradation of the women.
It is also a reinforcement of the cultural rhetoric’s that accommodate rape and other forms of sexual harassment targeting the women. As a result, there is a massive distortion of the sexual relations (Laws, 2013). Depictions of the content in the light of violence and domination increases the acceptance and propagation of the myth that the women are always readily available always ready to engage in sexual contact at the command of the men. It creates the misguided notions that the women ought to be willing to accept the advances from the men once they are made. They associate the misinformation about the sexual relations with the fact that the industry is owned and run by men for the male markets.
In some countries, the industry is actively regulated and accommodated. There are no barring regulations seeking to reduce the production of the content. In these countries, the models and porn stars are accommodated, and they are well protected. For instance, there are set rules on the issue of age and the consent to the acts (Burns, 2008). These rules protect all players in the industry against any coercion.
However, with the rise of the internet porn and the increasing affordability of the recording and hosting technology, anyone can make sexual videos and upload them anonymously. In this case, the protection of the players is uncertain. In some cases, the participants are forced in underground sexual crime rings. Since the market for the content is certain, the crime rings are assured of sales. The assurance creates a rampant increase in the underground activities all designed to meet the demand for the new and more violent content.
In most recent days, there were issues of the vice stemming up in Eastern Europe. In these countries and other parts of the developing world, the rule of law does not or rarely prevails. The protection of the women against any form of manipulation is unfounded and shaky. The trafficking rings often kidnaps underage girls with the main aim being selling them to other countries.
One of the tactics used by the smuggling rings to break the girls is subjecting them to gang rapes. The rapes are seen as ways of inculcating the profession in them. Some of the crime rings the drug the girls such that they associate the temporary high with sex. In most of the “breaking” functions, the owners of the rings record the videos and invite some guests to view the private shows. The demand for new girls ends up fueling the underground activities of human trafficking
In the porn market, the younger the performers, the better the arousal that the patrons get. This means that the industry leaders are always on the lookout for new and younger women to entrap in the industry with the main lure being the money and the promise of glamour.
In some cases, the industry leaders have to enlist the assistance of the guardians in order to get the young girls. Any person that is below the majority age is deemed a child. The hunger for younger women increases the instances of child abuse. Any time a minor performs in the porn videos; there is the commitment of a child abuse crime. In the event that the industry did not uphold the desire for the younger performers, the instance of child abuse will not be witnessed.
Child abuse also takes place during the consumption stage. The consumers believe in what they see. They are tempted to work according to the insinuations of increased pleasure when one has sex with a minor. The experimental viewers often find themselves developing tendencies of child abuse. In some cases, what started out as a hobby develops into psychological issues that may escalate to the commitment of the crime.
In the married life, the constant viewing of the content may lead to the addiction such that the men (or women) prefer getting the sexual satisfaction from watching the videos and reading the content as opposed to the actual sexual contact. This means that the conjugal rights of either of the partners in the marriage will not be attended to at all. In advanced cases, the addict in the relationship could find himself/herself developing surreal expectations from the partner to the extent of affecting their performance. Protracted issues affecting the access to the conjugal rights affect the eventual future of the market to the extent of breaking it (Muller, 2011).
Finally, the access to and viewing of the content increases the incidences of sexual violence towards women. In the online and other digital media, the content display sexual domination scenes that entail the falsified notion of women enjoying some pain during the sexual scenes. In this case, the women are subjected to pain in the name of giving them sexual pleasure. The fanatics of the scenes like this eventually develop the tendency of being violent to women. The violence is a bid to reenact the scenes of sexual pleasure that entail the subjection of the women to sexual pain.
In conclusion, pornography is a danger to the society, and its prevalence ought to be countered. It increases the incidences of sexual violence in a bid to act out what is depicted. It also increases the degradation of women through the portrayal of women enjoying domination. It increases the development of the other underground activities that support the industry. It increases child abuse during production and consumption stages. It may affect the conjugal relationships between partners since the addicted partners often opt for porn to the real sexual contact.
Burns, J. (2008). The Purity Code. Minneapolis, Minn.: Bethany House.
Chung, R. (2011). The dangers of viewing pornography.
Laws, I. (2013). Better sex education for children is needed to combat dangers of pornography. BMJ, 347(sep23 1), f5764-f5764. doi:10.1136/bmj.f5764
Muller, M. (2011). The guardians of innocence. Springville, Utah: Horizon Publishers.
Smith, A. (1993). 'What Is Pornography?': An Analysis of the Policy Statement of the Campaign against Pornography and Censorship. Feminist Review, (43), 71. Doi: 10.2307/1395070
Watson, L. (2010). Pornography. Philosophy Compass, 5(7), 535-550. doi:10.1111/j.1747-9991.2010.00292.x
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