brand logo

Fam Pract Manag. 2003;10(2):14-17

To the Editor:

Thank you for the very interesting article “How to Cope if You Feel Attracted to a Patient” [November/December 2002, page 92]. I am not an expert on the issue, but I disagree that feeling attracted to a patient is necessarily a sign of burnout. One may argue that after returning from a restful, stress-free vacation, a physician could indeed be attracted to the first patient he sees. Attraction between the sexes is very normal and not part of a syndrome. It becomes a problem if the physician makes the patient aware of this attraction either verbally or nonverbally. I do agree that in some instances a physician’s involvement with a patient could lead to crossing the boundary.

Author’s response:

I completely agree with you. I have written elsewhere that attraction to a patient can represent either an intra-psychic surplus or an intrapsychic deficit; that is, a physician’s attraction to a patient is not necessarily pathological. Since the Balancing Act department deals with professional burnout, the article represents that angle.


Send your comments to Submission of a letter will be construed as granting AAFP permission to publish the letter in any of its publications in any form. We cannot respond to all letters we receive. Those chosen for publication will be edited for length and style.

Continue Reading

More in FPM

Copyright © 2003 by the American Academy of Family Physicians.

This content is owned by the AAFP. A person viewing it online may make one printout of the material and may use that printout only for his or her personal, non-commercial reference. This material may not otherwise be downloaded, copied, printed, stored, transmitted or reproduced in any medium, whether now known or later invented, except as authorized in writing by the AAFP.  See permissions for copyright questions and/or permission requests.