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Clinician Code of Conduct

As a professional organization we recognize the need for, and benefits of, setting and continually improving standards for Surrogate Partner Therapy.


In our collective experience serving surrogate partner clients, we have noticed that adhering to certain best practices provides the best outcomes. We want our professional colleagues, as well as the general public, to be confident in our certified members' commitment to adhere to these best practices in the context of Surrogate Partner Therapy. Thus, we have decided to adopt these as our Code.


This code of conduct is written with the understanding that collaborating clinicians already adhere to relevant professional best practices and legal standards for their respective professions. It is the responsibility of each of our clinician members to adhere to this code and review any updates before renewing membership.


Each clinician member of the SPC, when acting as collaborating clinician in a Surrogate Partner Therapy triad, agrees to the following:


1.   I will focus not only on the client's welfare, but also on facilitating the client's growth and healing.


2.   I will use the triadic model, a therapeutic model consisting of client, surrogate partner, and collaborating clinician.


3.   I will educate myself about the roles and responsibilities involved in Surrogate Partner Therapy.


4.   I will remain engaged in the process as long as it continues, including:

  • assessing whether the client is an appropriate candidate for Surrogate Partner Therapy, and establishing a foundational therapeutic relationship with the client before work with the surrogate partner commences;

  • ensuring that the client has been educated about the objectives and boundaries of the therapy and that the client has expectations consistent with the practice;

  • monitoring the developing relationship between the client and the surrogate partner, and supporting the client with any emotional or cognitive concerns;

  • continuing therapeutic support after work with the surrogate partner ceases;

  • referring the client to another qualified collaborating clinician in the event that I cannot continue my engagement in the therapeutic triad, so that the client has the benefit of the triadic model from beginning to end.


5.   I will use the terms "surrogate partner" and "Surrogate Partner Therapy." I will not use, or knowingly allow to be used, the terms "sex surrogate" or "sex surrogacy" and, when appropriate, will educate others about why they are misleading and therefore harmful.


6.   I acknowledge that open communication between the two collaborating professionals is essential for the client’s success and will not knowingly restrict this open flow of information. This includes a commitment to communicate with the surrogate partner on a regularly scheduled basis, and as needed to fully support the client.


7.   I understand there are inherent risks in using the Surrogate Partner Therapy modality with legally married couples and abstain from doing so. I will not directly employ the surrogate partner, or allow the surrogate partner to treat the client in my offices.


8.   I will take all reasonable steps to protect the confidentiality and privacy of the client. Whether or not my license or professional code requires it, I will obtain the appropriate releases from the client to share information as dictated by the triadic model.


I sincerely devote myself to practicing in accord with this code in letter and in spirit.

Authored by Nicole Ananda, River Roaring, Brian Gibney, and Andrew Heartman

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