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"Stop to Border Violations"


The Ethics Board of the Center for Psychosocial Medicine (ZPM) sees itself as an instrument for independent consultation and clarification of complaints about abusive and assaultive behavior within the ZPM or in its professional environment.

It can be approached by patients and employees of the ZPM who have themselves experienced or been told about improper, assaultive, invasive of privacy, exploitative, sexual and or violent boundary violations.

The Ethics Council seeks to clarify and evaluate such incidents and, if necessary, make suggestions for addressing them. The Ethics Board also advises on how further action can be taken.

  • to obtain advice if the impression of assaultive behavior has arisen in therapy discussions or in everyday clinical practice,
  • to clarify whether and, if so, which professional duties have been violated,
  • to obtain an independent assessment of the facts and, if necessary, advice on consequences,
  • to feel understood in the event of violations.

If you have the impression of unprofessional behavior in therapy discussions or in everyday clinical practice (e.g. blurring of boundaries between professional and private levels, abuse of power, sexual or emotional transgression of boundaries, etc.), you can seek confidential advice.

You can reach the ZPM Ethics Board:

  • Within the hospital via  or via telephone 06221 56-4701. You will first be advised confidentially by Prof. Svenja Taubner before your concern is brought to the council in consultation with you.
  • Outside the hospital, Dr. med. Ana Engellandt-Schnell also offers her advice as ombudswoman of the ZPM - and external member of the ZPM Ethics Council. You can reach Dr. Engellandt-Schnell via  before your concern is brought to the council in consultation with you.
  • On site at the clinic/institute, there is of course always the possibility to contact the contact person of your confidence, the clinic and institute management and also the representative for equal opportunities at the clinic.

Last but not least, outside the ZPM, the Ethikverein e.V. is a very experienced institution that offers independent and professionally confidential advice (

Our Ethics Council has ten members. We are a circle of one ethics officer from each of the five clinics/institutes, the health care and nursing staff and the office of the ZPM, the clinical ethics counsel of the hospital and an external trusted therapist.

Members of the Ethics Board
Dr. Ana Engellandt-Schnell | Jaqueline Fröhlich | Dr. Beate Herrmann | Astrid Laurich | Prof. (apl.) Dr. Christoph Nikendei ,MME | Dr. Anne Mondry | Claudia Paul | Dr. Regina Schmitt | Dr. Corina Aguilar-Raab | Prof. Dr. Svenja Taubner


Every psychotherapeutic relationship lives from the basic prerequisite that patients can rely on a clearly defined external framework. The therapist's task is to protect this framework. The therapist bears the main responsibility for a successful therapeutic process with regard to the preservation of boundaries.

This means:

  •  Psychotherapy touches intimate and highly personal concerns of the patient. Therefore, the therapeutic situation must be strictly respected in its conditions and boundaries.
  • Boundary violating behavior is not acceptable and represents a serious breach of professional ethics.

The ZPM offers an independent advisory service in the form of an ethics council, which is easily accessible to patients and ZPM employees while maintaining confidentiality. The Ethics Council attempts to clarify and evaluate incidents that violate boundaries and, if necessary, to make suggestions for dealing with them. It also advises on how further action can be taken.

  • inappropriate gifts to patients
  • Display of therapeutic infallibility
  • repeated expressions of disinterest or anger
  • personal disclosures of intimate information
  • mixing roles between treatment and private life
  • repeatedly expressed fantasies of savior or greatness
  • inappropriate compliments
  • Engaging in/offering personal, private, and sexual contacts and relationships
  • financial/business connections
  • unannounced hugs/touching
  • verbal erotic statements
  • aggression, devaluations and humiliations
  • unauthorized contact with friends/acquaintances
  • violations of confidentiality
  • using the patient for advertising and public relations purposes
  • taking close relatives into psychotherapeutic treatment in parallel without consultation

Modified after Schleu, A. (2015, March 16), On dealing with boundaries in psychotherapy,