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Unread September 28th, 2007, 03:44 PM
Da Friendly Puter Tech Da Friendly Puter Tech is offline
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 60
Default Re: Not sure if I should file a formal complaint about my therapist

Hello Littlethree,

First of all let me say I am really sorry that you had to live through this situation. I can only imagine how traumatizing it must have been. I wish you didnt have to live through something like that. I am also sorry that no-one had the kindness / compassion to give you a better answer.

Of course I cannot comment specifically on your situation as I dont know you or the therapist in question.

Generally speaking therapists are ethically obligated as caretakers to not leave a client without access to care, and to terminate a therapeutic relationship responsibly. This means that when a therapist terminates it is expected that there are a few sessions to finish up the relationship. It also means that the therapist is obligated to help the client find a different therapist if the client want or need it. There are however exceptions to this rule.

To the best of my knowledge (and I am neither a therapist or a lawyer), breaking those guidelines or rules above are not criminal acts - they certainly are ethically questionable though.

Each state has a board that oversees therapists in that state - they also write up the ethical rules, and disciplines those who break them. You should be able to find the board for your state online. They can assist you in getting access to the specific rules your therapist might or might not have broken. If you were to file a complaint against your therapist it would have to go through this board. From what i know about our local board though they are rarely very helpful. They are overburdened by cases, inhumanly focused on laws and rules and not very compassionate. But who knows - maybe the board in your state is better than what we have here.

There are exceptions to these rules. Those exceptions cover situations where a therapist feels threatened by a client, or fears that the relationship has become detrimental to the client. In the later case the therapist is still ethically responsible to try and get the client a different kind of help.

The ethical rules or guidelines usually also prohibit a therapist from touching a client, or enforce a "very little touch" rule / attitude. So from the start your therapist could be in hot water with all the touching that was included in the therapy. Please note I said "could be", because there is still to much I dont know about what happened.

I will try to keep my final answers general as well...

Generally speaking therapists sometimes experience that some of their own unresolved emotional bagage gets activated and they do things that are unethical and damaging to their clients. They are supposed to be trained in how to handle situations like that - but so often it doesnt go according to training.

Generally speaking it is also my experience that like with police officers or firemen therapists occassionally treat their own with kid gloves and dont want to speak ill of each other, or see their own disciplined for wrong doing. This is *ss backwards of course. They should be glad to get unethical professionals off the market - but unfortunately it is often not so.

I really hope that you have found some responsible help in the aftermath of all this, and that you are starting to feel a bit better.

Warm regards,
Da Friendly Puter Tech
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