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Old 02-14-2019, 09:20 PM #1
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Default Therapist/client exploitation- the early days

Iím putting this in the Ďromanticí folder, but none of my posts about this are about Ďromance.í

When you first suspected you might have been exploited by a doctor or mental health professional, was it hard for you to decide who you would ask about it? Was it hard to trust and ask the other doctors or mental health professionals around you?
Or, maybe this was just my issue?

Pdoc told me what we were doing (sexual intimacies) was therapeutic for me. (For reals, thatís what he said.) He also told me not to talk to others about it because it might be Ďfrowned upon.í

When I first started having questions about whether what Pdoc was doing was ethical or accepted, Pdoc and I were still in that relationship...and I didnít know who to ask. I didnít want to ask my family, I doubted they would know any more than I did. I didnít want to ask my family doctor or one of Pdocís colleagues because I didnít know if they would back each other up, whether they could be objective or whether the entire situation would be taken out of my hands in case it was Ďbad.í

It didnít occur to me that it was a felony in that state...
(and *not* against the law in some other states).


I wanted to ask someone out of Pdocís sphere of influence.

First, I researched what I could in our library (this was before we all had computers) and I found the phone number of a PHD who had written about this subject. He practiced two thousand miles away. I thought that might be far enough away so, I called him. We talked a bit about therapist exploitation without me admitting that it might be happening to me. I wouldnít even give him my name. Itís surprising he took my phone call.

He was helpful and gave me some names of therapists who knew about the subject in my state and in an almost neighboring city. They were far away enough for me.

Can anyone else relate to this? Did you have as much worry or concerns deciding who you would tell what was going on? I mean, when you feel a therapist may not be acting correctly with you....who do you trust to ask...another therapist?

I guess Iím looking for some validation that this isnít an easy situation to be in.
Or, if it was easy for you, I would be interested in hearing about that.

Itís not like you can easily find a support group or even a crisis line with people who might understand your issues. Or is it?

Nowadays we have computers and message boards- all with their own sets of privacy issues but probably easier than my experiences.

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Old 02-15-2019, 04:49 AM #2
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Default Re: Therapist/client exploitation- the early days

I contacted TELL..(therapist exploitation link line)..they were/are amazing....I have also spoken with therapists....pm me if you like.
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Old 02-15-2019, 05:44 AM #3
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Default Re: Therapist/client exploitation- the early days

Possible trigger:

I was so devastated. Its terrible when no one believes you. I didnt tell my husband or even my mother! I have a history of abuse and I felt like a child all over again. Here's the thing: I have never told a single person about it. THIS is the very first time I have spoken of it. Thank you for this topic I hope I have the strength to let it go.....

Quote:
Originally Posted by precaryous View Post
Iím putting this in the Ďromanticí folder, but none of my posts about this are about Ďromance.í

When you first suspected you might have been exploited by a doctor or mental health professional, was it hard for you to decide who you would ask about it? Was it hard to trust and ask the other doctors or mental health professionals around you?
Or, maybe this was just my issue?

Pdoc told me what we were doing (sexual intimacies) was therapeutic for me. (For reals, thatís what he said.) He also told me not to talk to others about it because it might be Ďfrowned upon.í

When I first started having questions about whether what Pdoc was doing was ethical or accepted, Pdoc and I were still in that relationship...and I didnít know who to ask. I didnít want to ask my family, I doubted they would know any more than I did. I didnít want to ask my family doctor or one of Pdocís colleagues because I didnít know if they would back each other up, whether they could be objective or whether the entire situation would be taken out of my hands in case it was Ďbad.í

It didnít occur to me that it was a felony in that state...
(and *not* against the law in some other states).


I wanted to ask someone out of Pdocís sphere of influence.

First, I researched what I could in our library (this was before we all had computers) and I found the phone number of a PHD who had written about this subject. He practiced two thousand miles away. I thought that might be far enough away so, I called him. We talked a bit about therapist exploitation without me admitting that it might be happening to me. I wouldnít even give him my name. Itís surprising he took my phone call.

He was helpful and gave me some names of therapists who knew about the subject in my state and in an almost neighboring city. They were far away enough for me.

Can anyone else relate to this? Did you have as much worry or concerns deciding who you would tell what was going on? I mean, when you feel a therapist may not be acting correctly with you....who do you trust to ask...another therapist?

I guess Iím looking for some validation that this isnít an easy situation to be in.
Or, if it was easy for you, I would be interested in hearing about that.

Itís not like you can easily find a support group or even a crisis line with people who might understand your issues. Or is it?

Nowadays we have computers and message boards- all with their own sets of privacy issues but probably easier than my experiences.
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Old 02-15-2019, 09:43 AM #4
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Default Re: Therapist/client exploitation- the early days

Quote:
Originally Posted by nicoleflynn View Post
I contacted TELL..(therapist exploitation link line)..they were/are amazing....I have also spoken with therapists....pm me if you like.
Thanks for this. Iím so sorry you were hurt and exploited.

But how did you find T.E.L.L. at first? Did you look the topic up online?

You also spoke to therapists- did you have a difficult time deciding who to trust? Were you afraid to give the abusers name? Were you afraid the matter would be taken out of your hands?

We donít need to pm, the abuse in my instance happened years ago. T.E.L.L didnít exist way back then and people werenít readily online at that time.
Iíve already reported it and went through criminal, civil and licensing board cases about it. Iím mostly wanting to process (for me) how difficult it was to know who to trust and know who to tell. I wondered if anyone else had similar difficulties or not.

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Old 02-15-2019, 10:20 AM #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sarahsweets View Post
Possible trigger:

I was so devastated. Its terrible when no one believes you. I didnt tell my husband or even my mother! I have a history of abuse and I felt like a child all over again. Here's the thing: I have never told a single person about it. THIS is the very first time I have spoken of it. Thank you for this topic I hope I have the strength to let it go.....

Thank you so much for sharing you experiences here. Iím sorry that doctor acted unprofessionally.

I donít have a lot of experience with lawyers but your meeting with the lawyer sounds like it might have been almost as traumatic as the initial abuse. My complaints went through civil and medical board cases. It was also reported to the police and the Deputy Attorney General considered filing criminal charges since three of us victims came forward- but he decided not to prosecute.

I went through all that and, yes, some authorities did read about what happened to me and knew my name, medical and mental health history but I donít recall my name ever being published. I read the medical licensing board accusation, findings and decision and they only used my intitials. Maybe the laws are different where you live. Maybe it would be different if it went to trial but I was told most cases like this are settled long before they go to trial.

What I want you to know if your lawyer didnít mention it is I learned that cases are won more by what you can prove vs. the truth of what happened.

It is terrible when no one believes you. Lawyers can be jerks, too. I had a male lawyer tell me in my own case, ďWell, I hope at least you had good sex.Ē He was a freakiní lawyer on *my* team and he had the nerve to say that to me! My lead lawyer was a woman and she was livid when I told her about it. She got off the phone right away and I assume she chewed him out.

Iím sorry you were treated that way and I Ďgetí that itís difficult to tell people about it. First, it can be extremely embarrassing to talk about - to anyone- especially family. People may judge or try to shame you. People might even defend the doctor or therapist. We just canít depend on how people will react to information like that. But we need and deserve to be believed. We deserve to be heard. Thank you for sharing your story.
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Old 02-15-2019, 10:32 AM #6
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Default Re: Therapist/client exploitation- the early days

Oh gosh, yes, absolutely. It was so hard to decide who to talk to.

Mostly, it was because I knew what someone would say. In the first case when the abuse was "only" emotional, no formal lines were crossed, I knew that anyone I would talk to would just tell me to get the heck out of there and to find a new therapist. As many therapy clients know, this is easier said than done. When I was finally "terminated" I contacted APA of which my T was a member and they just told me to file a compliant with the board if I felt his behavior was improper. I didn't do it because I didn't have any evidence of what went on, and, even at that time, with all my ignorance, I knew that even if I had evidence, most likely no one would find him guilty of anything. That was back in 2003. I don't know if TELL existed at that time and it didn't occur to me back then to do an online search. I wouldn't even know which search words to use because the terms like "therapy abuse", "unethical therapist" weren't even on my mind at that time.

The second time when the formal ethics were breached it was even more difficult to decide who to talk to. I tried to see several therapists about this. I could see clearly that they were all uncomfortable with my situation and, specifically, with the fact that I was seeing my T outside of the office and that they had no interest in helping me work through it.

At some point, my ex-T and I went to a "couple's counseling" with one guy from the psychoanlytic center I got my training from. I wish I'd never gone to that meeting. The guy interpreted the situation by giving an analogy of a brother and a sister (me being a "sister" and my ex-T a "brother") where the "sister" loves the "brother" so much that it's almost incestuous. Then the "brother" gets engaged and later married and the "sister" is left to accept the reality. I could not believe what I was hearing. I could only stare at that psycho thinking WTF??!!! WTF WAS THAT ABOUT?! This was so crazy that I didn't even want to analyze what he was trying to convey.

Then there was another "couple's counselor" who immediately made me a focus of "investigation". He was not interested in understanding why my T did what he did, let alone condemning his actions. What he wanted to get to was the "source" of my anger towards my T. My T's behavior apparently was not a problem, but my anger about it was!

But I had a couple of good experiences, very brief though.

The last "couple's counselor" was a woman, who, at some point, worked with me and my husband in couples therapy. She put the blame right where it belonged immediately. My T sat their embarrassed, with the red face, which, I admit, I enjoyed watching.

Then there was a very old guy, a psychoanalyst from the same center, whom I saw individually. That meeting was very empowering for me. He didn't, actually, put much emphasis on my T's behavior though he clearly acknowledged that the T's behavior was unethical. But, instead of spending much time validating my anger, he simply said that I could decide if I want to keep the relationship with him going or not. Such simple observation opened my eyes to the reality that I do have the power to make a choice here, that that power is in my hands and I could use it if I want to. That snapped me out of the victim mentality in an instant and it felt very liberating.
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Old 02-15-2019, 11:38 AM #7
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Default Re: Therapist/client exploitation- the early days

Quote:
Originally Posted by precaryous View Post
Thank you so much for sharing you experiences here. Iím sorry that doctor acted unprofessionally.

I donít have a lot of experience with lawyers but your meeting with the lawyer sounds like it might have been almost as traumatic as the initial abuse. My complaints went through civil and medical board cases. It was also reported to the police and the Deputy Attorney General considered filing criminal charges since three of us victims came forward- but he decided not to prosecute.
Yes, it was a slap in the face, like throwing cold water on me. I cant believe I shared it here- my husband doesnt even know!
Quote:
I went through all that and, yes, some authorities did read about what happened to me and knew my name, medical and mental health history but I donít recall my name ever being published. I read the medical licensing board accusation, findings and decision and they only used my intitials. Maybe the laws are different where you live. Maybe it would be different if it went to trial but I was told most cases like this are settled long before they go to trial.
This happened in the late 90's before they had the law that protects victims and when the doctors/lawyers/investors were all in the same good ole' boys club. I imagine it would be different now.


Quote:
What I want you to know if your lawyer didnít mention it is I learned that cases are won more by what you can prove vs. the truth of what happened.
Yes this is true. Many times even a district attorney for the state wont prosecute if they do not think they will win a conviction. Attorneys like to win.

Quote:
Iím sorry you were treated that way and I Ďgetí that itís difficult to tell people about it. First, it can be extremely embarrassing to talk about - to anyone- especially family. People may judge or try to shame you. People might even defend the doctor or therapist. We just canít depend on how people will react to information like that. But we need and deserve to be believed. We deserve to be heard. Thank you for sharing your story.
Thanks.
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Old 02-15-2019, 02:17 PM #8
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Hugs to all of you who have endured harm from a doctor. I too was molested by a hand surgeon when i was 4 years old. I remember what happened to me very clear after all these years he is still practising in another province. No one believed me not even my parents. Today i get horrible panic attacks if i have to go to my gp or any doctor. Going to the dentist is horrible still.
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Old 02-17-2019, 04:21 AM #9
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I knew its against ethics. I could say he crossed the line when I was inpatient and after few months we became lovers. Fact that it was against ethics didn't bother me though he was little bit paranoid. Thing that hurt me was that he was married and I was only a lover.
His wife found out he cheats on her and he decided to save his marriage and left me. But he still was my doc but we didn't have sessions, he simply continued prescribe medication for me and listened to me when I was so broken because he left me and then tried to stop me from killing myself.

I think I could never go inpatient again because it will remind me of us and make everything worse.
But I have very nice T now and I told her about it, its one of most discussed topics with her.
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Old 02-17-2019, 10:35 AM #10
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Default Re: Therapist/client exploitation- the early days

Lunatic soul:
Was it difficult for you to find a new therapist? Was it difficult to trust her and tell her about what happened with the male psychiatrist?

I had trouble finding and trusting a new therapist. I still have trouble trusting her.

My experiences were similar to what you describe here:

The psychiatrist tried to continue Ďtherapyí after he stopped the intimacies, too. But we could never return to the topics that brought me to therapy again. Therapy became about (mostly me) talking about the Ďrelationship.í

It kills me he was paid by me and my insurances for all of these visits.
It kills me that he could have done *nothing* therapy-wise and that would have been tons better than what he elected to do.

He didnít have to cure me. He could have done nothing. He could have just not HURT me.
Now I still have the issues that brought me to therapy plus the new traumas he gave me.
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