Behind Closed Doors: Gender, Sexuality, and Touch in the Doctor/Patient Relationship

By Angelica Redleaf; Susan A. Baird | Go to book overview

Preface

What goes on behind closed doors in a doctor's office? All sorts of things--and most of them, certainly, occur for the good of the patient. But some of the things that go on in a doctor's office do the patient no good at all.

If we were not sexual beings, this book would not be necessary. But we are. Moreover, we live in a society that is obsessed with sex and sexuality, yet has very little understanding of how they affect men and women, doctors and patients. Clearly, there are doctors who knowingly hurt their patients, and we'll take a look at why they do so. It is my belief, however, that the vast majority of the harm done to patients is not intended.

Most doctors--indeed, most health-care professionals--have only good intentions. But good intentions are not enough. We must ask ourselves, do we know what effects our attitudes and our behaviors have on our patients? Most of us don't--and we need to find out. Understanding how our patients perceive us and how they experience our actions is the first step in a process that can enable us to go beyond good intentions, to good results.

This book's purpose is two-fold: to alert doctors to their own behaviors and attitudes, and to the ways in which they may inadvertently cause harm to their patients; and to provide doctors with new skills that will allow them to care for their patients more safely, with less risk to both doctor and patient.

In the pages ahead, we'll examine the power dynamics between doctor and patient; the elusive issue of patient consent; and the effect of gender, sexuality and touch on the doctor/patient relationship. We'll offer several exercises to help doctors explore their own attitudes toward these seldom-discussed topics.

We'll discuss the special concerns of caring for patients who have previously been abused, and for all patients, so that everyone will feel safe and properly cared for.

Finally, we'll present a blueprint for a multi-stage program of personal and

-ix-

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Behind Closed Doors: Gender, Sexuality, and Touch in the Doctor/Patient Relationship
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Preface ix
  • PART I Gender, Sexuality, and Touch 1
  • 1: Gender 3
  • Notes 29
  • 2: Sexuality 33
  • 3: Touch 43
  • 4: Explorations and Applications 53
  • PART II Sexual Misconduct 61
  • 5: What Is Misconduct? 63
  • 6: HOW Misconduct Occurs 71
  • 7: Caring for the Abused Patient 87
  • 8: Boundaries and Consent 91
  • 9: The Doctor Role 97
  • 10: What Is the Solution? 105
  • PART III Patient Protection Protocol 109
  • 12: Safe Practice Strategies 115
  • 13: Safe Practice Analysis 127
  • 14: Making Changes 161
  • 15: Defusing Sexual Attractions 169
  • PART IV Review 175
  • --16-- Six Factors for Safe Practice 177
  • 17: The New Patnership 183
  • Bibliography 185
  • Recommended Reading 191
  • Recommended Viewing 195
  • Index 199
  • About the Authors 213
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