How To Deal With Emotional Abuse By A Psychotherapist

By Ines Flores


It is disappointing when you trust a psychotherapist who then betrays you by emotional or physical violation. Emotional abuse by a psychotherapist is regarded as a professional crime. It happens when the therapist takes advantage of your vulnerability in the course of treatment. It takes the form of control, manipulation and exploitation. At this point, your interests are not being served and professional boundaries have been crossed.

The first signs of violation include the development of a dual relationship in the process of therapy. This means that you begin to relate beyond professional ethics and limits. Such a relationship takes the form of conversations, meetings and contact. The risk is as high in men as it is in women and affects adults as much as it affects children. It is difficult to detect because of the trust that exists between most therapists and patients.

Male therapists violate male clients in the same way they do to female clients. Female clients dealing with female therapists should also be careful because they are vulnerable as well. When the violation is not checked, it escalates into physical exploitation. The most common form of physical exploitation is engaging in sexual acts with your therapist.

To guarantee safety during therapy it is advisable to research on the procedure. You will be in a position to question when the procedure deviates from the conventional path. Do not ignore your gut feelings at all. They give you a signal when the procedure takes a different turn. In case of discomfort, change the therapist at the earliest opportunity. It also is advisable to seek a second opinion if you doubt the approach by your current therapist.

Some of the behaviors that indicate that things are not right include discussions about the conditions of other clients, personal life and intrusive or uncomfortable topics. Therapy should not make you to feel hurt in whichever way. Any hurt should cause you to quit at the earliest opportunity.

Violation also comes in the form of intimidation, shame, degrading and humiliation. Therapy is a process that should heal psychological wounds. You must feel better with every session and not be attached to the therapist. You should smell trouble when the comments begin to get suggestive. Behaviors like kissing, hugging, winking and sexual acts are unprofessional and abusive.

It is violating to be pressurized into making a decision or being rushed into one. Observe the language that is used during meetings, emails, calls and text message. It should remain official alongside meeting hours and venues. A therapist who compliments you as being sexy or beautiful is being unethical and therefore abusive.

To keep off violation, maintain professional distance. Patients seeking therapy are already vulnerable and easily blinded by their benefactors. Do not be lured into thinking that he is the source of your help and not his services. It is his professional services that you require. Missing a session should come with natural anxiety but not personal guilt.

In case of abuse, talk to your spouse, family, parent or close friend. There are organizations offering help to victims of therapy abuse. The internet has a number of websites with incredible resources. Beyond seeking legal redress, contact the professional body that licenses therapists to ensure that others are not violated as well.




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