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travistee August 8th, 2004 05:57 PM

Abuse of counseling by sherrif
A girl I know has a non criminal problem with the sherriff's department where she lives. Its a family court matter.

She didn't have to plead guilty to anything. The charges are all false and never happened.

She consented to a case plan that includes counseling. The sheriffs dept psychologist says she has to be in counseling until she admits that she is in denial and admits to everything that the accusing investigator charged her with.

Is that something that any professional review board would approve of?

Could it be an abuse of the professional authority given to the psychologist?


Da Friendly Puter Tech August 9th, 2004 11:56 PM

Re: Abuse of counseling by sherrif
Denial can be such a convenient concept cant it? If the person "pleads guilty" then there are consequences. If the person does not plead guilty there there are even more consequences. If the person really didnt do it - then its a terrible catch 22. If the person really is in denial - then the concept is true from the beginning..

Of course there is no way we can see through what is really going on with this situation on a message board like this.

Da Friendly Puter Tech

travistee August 10th, 2004 04:59 PM

Re: Abuse of counseling by sherrif
Well actually its not that hard to see through it. Not being lawyers here we may take for granted the concept that one is innocent until proven guilty. The circumstances of the family court is such that the judge agrees that no one has a reason to believe the charges.
So how is it that a sheriffs dept psychologist can decide what to believe and then say the "patient" has to agree with him.
Isn't the bigger question, and the reason I am writing here instead of a legal forum relates to the concept of patient and therapist. Is there any form of accepted therapy where the therapist decides what goals the patient should have without consulting the patient?

Da Friendly Puter Tech August 12th, 2004 07:59 PM

Re: Abuse of counseling by sherrif
Actually, yes there are quite a few treatment situations where an authority sets the goal - and the person receiving the "help" has little input in the matter.

12 step groups make use of the "denial" concept to an almost extreme degree, and a person can be court ordered to participate in the treatment.

Certain anger management classes - especially the court ordered ones - make use of the denial concept.

Counseling for sexual criminals certainly sets up goals for the criminals that they might not agree with.

People who are mentally delayed are often given plans on what they will be working on together with their helpers without the person having much input in the matter.

Minors are also of course sometimes subject to counseling where they do not have any input as to the goal of the counseling. Especially violent minors, minors who engage in criminal behavior - or minors who are at risk of becoming criminal.

I can mention other instances - but this should give a good idea.

Again - whether or not the specific situation you talk about is ethical or not I would have no way of knowing. As my first response showed I find the whole denial concept a troublesome one. Not because there isnt good reasons for it. There are people with terrible problems who are in denial, and need help as fast as possible. But its such a catch 22, interestingly I happen to know of several very destructive cults that make use of the same concept to coerce members towards a goal they desire.

Da Friendly Puter Tech

travistee August 23rd, 2004 12:41 PM

Re: Abuse of counseling by sherrif
You did bring up some helpful ideas.

The heart of the matter is having to admit you are in denial about something that has not become a legal fact.

If you get a dui, beat up your wife and get convicted of it then it is a legal fact, and it makes sense that you would have to admit you are in denial.

My question is about a case where there is no legal finding by the court that has to be admitted to. Only the "medical?" finding by a sheriffs dept phychologist.

So why should she have to agree with the psychologist when the judge has agreed that the court does not have to believe the allegations.

Da Friendly Puter Tech August 23rd, 2004 08:15 PM

Re: Abuse of counseling by sherrif
Well.... it depends on what is actually going for this person.

For instance there are many alcoholics who are in denial of being alcoholics, and who has not been brought before a court of law, or who has not been found guilty by a court of law of being alcoholics. That does not make them any less alcoholized, or their denial any less real.

It really comes down to the question - which is the truth? Does this youth have some problems and are in denial of what they are or them even being there? Or is the psychologist completely off base.........

Legally, I have no idea what the sherif's department can get away with, maybe you should ask a private lawyer.

It might also be interesting to get a second opinion by a psychologist that you hire. Such a person is most interested in their own clients best interest.

Denial can be a catch 22 when used inappropriately. It can also be a very helpful concept when used appropriately.

Da Friendly Puter Tech

Don H. Morris August 24th, 2004 12:55 AM

Re: Abuse of counseling by sherrif

On the face of it, it seems like mere sophistry to say that something is not true because a judge has not ruled on it, one way or the other. A medical finding from a pathologist is a piece of evidence, one that judges and juries often rely on.

In my view, the bigger question here appears to be whether a court-order client can be compelled to incriminate him/herself in a psychological interview (and whether admitting to an act consitutes self-incrimination). What are the limits of confidentiality that hold in a case like this? Is the psychologist likely to reveal the statement of the client to the judge (or be ordered to testify about such statements in court proceedings)? I am no expert in this area, but I would fear that this would be quite likely.

So this becomes a thorny issue indeed. What makes sense therapeutically (that is, in this case, to insist that a client deal with denial) may not make ANY sense at all legally (that is, insist that a client reveal information that may not be available to the prosecutor from any other source). Is this psychologist a forensic examiner or the client's personal therapist, with feduciary obligations to the client? It makes a difference.

This seems to be a "Catch 22" case for the client. He/she is made wrong, no matter what choice he/she makes about admitting to the abuse or alcoholism (or whatever other issue one could be in denial about).

I might say that a person who has committed a crime should confess and accept responsibility for those actions, no matter what the consequences. Yet compelling a person to do so is a violation of one of our most treasured constititutional rights, found in the 5th Amednment. I want to strenuoulsy uphold a citizen's right not to incriminate him/herself.

Dr. Reid, can you address the fornsic aspect of this thread? It seems dangeroulsy close to violating the primary rule of this forum (that is not to do or say anything that would interferee with the way a particular therapist deals with a client).

Just wondering.

Don :)

travistee August 24th, 2004 05:54 PM

Re: Abuse of counseling by sherrif
To add some clarification;

The psychologist is not her therapist, he works for the sheriffs dept.

It's a family court. They have her kids, no evidence for their allegations, and are telling her she can't get the kids back until she gets better ( admits she is in denial and admits to all of the allegations).

The truth is that the allegations are false.

I think its a form of torture to take a women's children as a way to force a confession. They didn't say anything about not using it against her.

travistee August 27th, 2004 08:39 AM

another clarification
More clarification.

The psychologist who recommended counseling works for the sheriff. The therapist that she would have for the actual counseling would be her therapist, but would be expected to give reports to the sheriffs dept.

William Reid September 7th, 2004 01:05 PM

Re: Abuse of counseling by sherrif
Thanks for the heads-up, Don. I am on vacation and have not been following closely.

Would posters please be very cautious about commenting on specifics of this thread, especially as they might possibly interfere with treatment? I'll try to catch up later.


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