In case I don’t pretentiously mention it enough, I am currently working towards my Doctor of Psychology degree in Marriage and Family Therapy. Over the last academic year, there’s been a strong effort made by multiple professors to instill in us, as future licensed practitioners, the ethical dangers of our profession; namely, the temptation to have sex with patients (which is apparently bad). We discussed it again last week, which reminded me of a story I’d recently heard about a licensed practitioner, named Pete.

Pete had been going through a period of depression, anxiety, and guilt. You see, Pete had sex with five of his patients. His guilt over the unprofessionalism and his fear of being discovered drove him deeper and deeper into a continual pit of depression from which he saw no escape. At his lowest points, though, a voice would come to him and say, “Hey, Pete, buddy, don’t be so hard on yourself! You’re not the first licensed practitioner to have sex with a patient, and you’re damn sure not going to be the last, so just enjoy yourself! You haven’t been caught yet, and trust me, your patients aren’t going to say a word about it.”

It helped, for a while. The encouraging voice would assuage his guilt and anxiety, which would in turn lift his depression.

Just before he could fully recover, though, a second voice would come to him and say, “Oh, but Pete, dude…you’re a veterinarian.”