You might be wondering if your former therapist would even be allowed to be your friend, given how ethically rigorous the mental health field is. The answer is technically yes, but its generally inadvisable.
Has anyone become friends with their therapist?
Client-therapist friendships can be unethical, according to codes of ethics from many bodies that govern therapists, including the American Psychological Association [APA]. By becoming friends with a client, a therapist can risk disciplinary action from governing bodies or losing licensure.
Sexual contact of any kind between a therapist and a client is unethical and illegal in the State of California. Additionally, with regard to former clients, sexual contact within two years after termination of therapy is also illegal and unethical.
Can therapists touch you?
Touch in therapy is not inherently unethical. None of the professional organizations code of ethics (i.e., APA, ApA, ACA, NASW, CAMFT) view touch as unethical. Touch should be employed in therapy when it is likely to have positive therapeutic effect. Practicing risk management by rigidly avoiding touch is unethical.
Is it okay to hug your therapist?
If a therapist were to hug the patient on such an occasion, the risk is certainly less than it would be during a regular hugging “regimen.” Likewise, adverse inferences that others may draw should certainly be minimal. Touching in and of itself is not illegal.
Can counselors hug?
Most therapists will ask clients if hugs or other touch, even something as small as a pat on the shoulder, would help or upset them.