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The field of psychotherapy does not have a universal licensing body or board. There is no specific set of standards to which all psychotherapists are accountable. Some therapists are psychiatrists who hold and M.D. In the U.S., these therapists are responsible to national and regional boards that govern the professional behavior of medical doctors. Other therapists may hold a psychologist’s license or counselor’s license. These professionals are subject to the ethical codes of conduct established by their professional boards. Most psychotherapists develop an ethical code of conduct that emphasizes keeping an appropriate distance from their patient or client. Generally speaking, therapists do not engage in romantic liaisons with clients. They do not make decisions for their clients. They do not affiliate socially with clients. However, not all therapists abide by these common rules. Therapists who practice sexual surrogacy, for example, have been criticized for the intimate relationships they develop with clients in the context of sex therapy.
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