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#72049 - 11/08/03 03:12 AM I need your advice
Ron_dup1 Offline

Registered: 05/13/02
Posts: 87
Loc: Arkansas
I have been seeing a therapist for about 2 years now and I just got some troubling news about him. It seems he had an affair with one of his female clients and she is now going after his license. I heard about it and asked him about it and he admitted it. So here is my question(s):
1. He had helped me a great deal over the past two years. Now I am not sure I can trust him. His actions bring up so many issues for me. I wonder if I should continue to see him or not? I wonder if talking with him NOW will help me deal with the issues this situation brings up or if it'll make it worse?
2. I don't know what it will mean if he looses his license... will I (and his other clients) be out in the cold looking for a new T anyway?
3. Is it unethical for me to continue seeing him when I know that he abused his power in this relationship with one of his other clients?
I am so confused and hurt by all of this I am not even sure I am making any sense at all in this post.
Thanks for listening and I would appreciate any comments you all have on the topic.

#72050 - 11/08/03 12:37 PM Re: I need your advice
dwf Offline
Moderator/BoD Emeritus

Registered: 05/24/03
Posts: 1223
Loc: Austin, Texas USA

I'm so sorry that your therapist betrayed his professional trust. It's so hard to begin to learn to trust again due to the effects of the sexual abuse, then something like this comes along.

You're doing the right thing by coming here and talking openly about it. The main thing to remember is that it is his problem and not yours.

You didn't cause, you can't control it and you certainly can't cure other peoples moral derelictions. But you do get to contribute to the situation by taking care of yourself first.

My first therapist didn't show up one day for a group meeting. Turns out he had a "nervous breakdown" while on vacation in Costa Rica. Actually they called it a "manic episode". Point is that he was in a hospital down there for over a month. And he never came back to his practice.

In the group we noticed that many of us felt guilt, shame and confusion over what had happened. Some of us were angry. Most were sad.

My conclusion was that his unfortunate illness did nothing to take away from the excellent progress I had made during the several years we worked together.

Your therapist has some serious problems: no need for them to become yours. If you cannot detach from his stuff, my advice would be to get a new therapist.

In my case, it sort of happened that someone took over his cases and he has turned out to be the best yet.

Take care, buddy.

Sorry for the bad news, but good to hear from you.


"Poke salad Annie, 'gators got you granny
Everybody said it was a shame
'Cause her mama was aworkin' on the chain-gang"

-Tony Joe White

#72051 - 11/08/03 01:18 PM Re: I need your advice
The Dean Offline
Moderator Emeritus
Registered: 07/15/02
Posts: 2080
Loc: Milwaukee, WI
Ron, I too am sorry to hear of this betrayal. I am sure that some of our therapists will give you some advice. I really would not have any idea of what to do. I suspect, I would look for another T, but if he had helped me a lot, I would be loath to lose him.

Wait for some more advice Ron. My thoughts are surely with you.


If we do not live what we believe, then we will begin to believe what we live.

#72052 - 11/08/03 03:38 PM Re: I need your advice
Ron_dup1 Offline

Registered: 05/13/02
Posts: 87
Loc: Arkansas
Hi Danny and Bob
How amazing is this place!!! I have been gone for months not posting or visiting this site and then when I need some advice this is my first choice. And then the first two replies are from two guys I have chatted with on and off for a long time. You guys are wonderful. I just went and joined and made a donation to help keep this place going!
I would love to hear from any therapists on the site in regaurds to my question.
Talk to you soon,

#72053 - 11/08/03 05:10 PM Re: I need your advice
Ivanhoe Offline

Registered: 03/19/03
Posts: 1907

I'm not a therapist, but I wanted to offer you a hand in friendship, too.

Ya, trust is a big issue here. My therapist says that his goal is not to get me to trust him, but to trust the process.

Well, since the abuse perpetrating on me came from an authority figure, my 8th grade teacher, you better believe that my antenna are out 49 feet on each side, no matter where I am. And, being in therapy, I'm watching the therapist's every move, even where his eyes may roam.
So, follow your gut. Wait for a real therapist's opinion, here, but it really boils down for how this guy is with you.
Maybe if you stay, you may want to have some kind of covenant with him....but he did have one with his licensing authority before, and he broke that promise, so it really is a caveat emptor, buyer beware situation.

Good luck to you in your healing,


"No soul is desolate as long as there is a human being for whom it can feel trust and reverence."
George Eliot

#72054 - 11/08/03 09:36 PM Re: I need your advice
Ken Singer, LCSW Offline

Registered: 08/24/00
Posts: 5781
Loc: Lyons, CO USA
As a therapist, it pains me to hear that someone has betrayed the trust put in him. His betrayal can be looked at as one primarily at the person he abused in a therapeutic relationship. Does that mean that he has also betrayed the trust of others whom he has not abused?

Quite possibly. This is a matter for each of his clients/patients to determine. His behavior, assuming he has done it and will be admitting that he did, will result in the loss (temporarily or permanently) of his license and possible incarceration and/or a civil lawsuit.

Does any of this affect you or his other clients/patients? Depends on you. He might be very good/effective with you. You may wish to continue to see him as his behaviors with this one client were not put upon you. He may be suspended or sanctioned in some way that even if you choose to continue with him, he might not be able to practice.

This is very sad and unfortunate. Recognizing that we are all human, but have a major responsibility to help others and not abuse that position of trust, makes it difficult to suggest anything to you as far as what you SHOULD do.

You need to follow your feelings on this, asking him to let you know whether you can continue with him (if you choose to), trust him, and ask him to respond to questions you may have about this mess, as best as he can respond. He may be under legal advice to say little or nothing to anyone and there is nothing you can do about that. On the other hand, he may be able to let you know that you are safe from his sexual behaviors and can continue with him until the case is resolved.

Unfortunately, sexual involvement with clients/patients is the major issue in malpractice cases among therapists. I make it very clear to all my clients, from the first time I see them, that I will respect their boundaries and if they perceive any intrusion in terms of verbal, physical or visual boundaries, they should let me know. And obviously, sexual contact, from my perspective, is totally unacceptable.

I also recognize that we all have feelings about clients (like/dislike, find attractive/unattractive, etc) that need to be addressed. That is why all therapists need "supervision" (in the clinical sense) to talk about how the work and clients impact us.

Unfortunately, your therapist did not take the right action he should have when he first noticed attraction to a particular client and got himself into a real bad jam.

Just my perspective.


Blissfully retired after 35 years treating sexual abuse


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