Are you a victim of abuse by a counsellor and psychotherapist?

Abused by a Therapist? is intended to be a network of people who have been abused by their counsellor or psychotherapist who want to make contact with others for mutual benefit and to share resources.

Counselling and psychotherapy can be immensely beneficial, but due to the lack of regulation and accountability in the profession, victims of therapist abuse often do not have adequate recourse. By offering a place to share experiences we can offer each other support.

April 2018: This site is no longer curated but will stay online for the time being


7 comments:

  1. I have also been abused by therapists but I dont think government regulation is the way forward. The government is too corrupt right now to look after the best interest of the patients/clients. I have complained against one of the therapists who has abused me to their governing body and they were great, I got my justice. I understand not all governing bodies are as thorough but having therapy regulated by the state will be terrible. Maybe it would be worth thinking about what else we can do to make this profession safer for clients?

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  2. Hi
    Not sure where my last comment went but I had replied to this post above. Also, I have written my story on my blog and would like to share it with others here if possible. How would I go about this? Thanks for the help.
    my address is http://psychotherapyabuse.wordpress.com/

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  3. I started seeing a psychologist at the Flexman Clinic at the age of seven to be tested for Autism Spectrum Disorder, which I was soon diagnosed with, in addition to OCD and ADHD. I started seeing either a therapist or another psychologist (I don't remember which) soon after and at the same location. I don't remember her name, but I remember her face and her bushy, dry hair almost as clearly as I remember her hands: wrinkled and tipped with red acrylic nails. Those images are burned into my mind now. On my second visit with her, the first without my parents, we started playing a board game. After we rolled the dice and our little marker travelled up spaces, the color of the space would tell us what color card to pick. After she pulled the card, she woukd ask me a question, which I suppose was written on the card. The first few questions were normal enough, asking about friends, family, and school. After a few cards however, she asked me a strange question. "What would you do if you knew that a friend of yours liked to touch themselves?" I sat and thought about it for a moment, the introspective child I was, and replied with, "Well, I hope I wouldn't have had to see what I'd have to see to know that." She then proceeded to explain that a friend might have told me in confidence, because they might feel guilty. I responded with ambivolence, not really understanding why we were talking about something so trivial. She told me that we should NEVER feel guilty about touching ourselves, and that it could even relieve stressed. She said that I was a very stressed child, and that my parents hired her to fix that. She then proceeded to try and touch me, to show the 'healthy and safe way' to do it. I resisted a bit, crossing my legs and saying that my parents wouldn't like it if someone touched me there. She tricked me in one of the most violating ways I've ever experienced when she replied with, "I'm a doctor. Your parents said it was safe for a doctor to touch you, didn't they?" They had, so I sat quietly and uncomfortably pliant as she abused me for the duration of the visit. I didn't tell my parents when I left. Honestly, I thought I'd dreamed it until the next time I saw her. The rest of my visits with her, about once a week for three or four years, are a blur of flashcards and unwanted touching that I blocked out for many years. It's been ten years since the first time now, and I still haven't told anyone in power about what happened. I was strong enough to come out about the verbal and physical abuse I endured at the hands of my stepmother, but this is still too hard, too private for me to share. Recently, I haven't been able to think about much else. She's still practicing psychiatry, probably at the same place. It makes me sick to think about, but I haven't done anything to stop it, either. As for effects on me, sex repulses me. Any woman that is taller than me or older than me puts me on edge, and the feeling of long nails on my skin makes me want to vomit. I can't handle being physically handled or leaned over by a woman in authority, which causes problems, considering that I'm a high school student with mostly female teachers. My self esteem is very low, but I try to keep my head up and deal with life as best I can. I have a bit of a 'berserk button,' if you will, when the safety of children is threatened or even joked about. The most notable of the effects, however, is my absolute obsession with fictional male victims of abuse and assault. I've watched episodes of Nip/Tuck, Outlander, and Law and Order dozens of times over to see a man be hurt, be distraught, be comforted, and slowly heal from their experience. I relish in it. Unfortunately, I've never really been able to replicate it, probably because I'm so terrified that if I don't keep my mouth shut people will cast me out as an attention-seeking fraud. Anyway, I guess that's my story. Just wanted to share.

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  4. Thank you for providing this blog space. It is literally a life-saver for many people.

    Like most people on here i have an experience of receiving "help" from a therapist who was/is practicing therapy in a malicious and callous manner. I won't go into the details as most of you already know on here boundaries were crossed and i was caused devastating harm by the very women who was meant to help me. I went from being a normal person, outgoing, playful, intelligent, motivated to being a shell of a person, crippled with fear, anxiety, and anger. As a result of her 'therapy' I was at the end of my tether and thought my beautiful life was over. I originally went to this 'specialist' who previously worked at a well regarded clinic as a senior therapist (i am unaware of why she left that post, but it is clear that she was grossly unethical and dangerous). I saw her for 6 months and thought the abuse she was doing to me was normal and part of therapy. It is never okay for someone to treat you without respect, kindness and compassion in any relationship let alone a counsellor/client relationship.

    What i have learnt from my many years as a medical professional myself, my horrid experience with the counsellor, and as someone who is working with adults and children with social-emotional disorders is this.

    It is not your fault you were treated in an awful manner. It has nothing to do with you and everything to do with the person. Your involvement was that you were a non-consenting participant. Until you realised the situation and left. That makes what you are going through right now normal and you will get through it. The brain and body are designed to heal, and you will heal. You deserved better. You will always now and going forward deserve respect, care, and support. And there are equipped professionals out there who can help you improve your life significantly.

    What i have learnt, which i am happy to share with the view of helping others, is that some people may have a average to above average IQ (intelligence quotient), yet have a low or severely low EQ (emotional quotient). These people appear to function very well (and they do mostly) in everyday life, hold a job, go to parties, etc... yet when it comes to friendships, caring about others on a deeper level, and most importantly putting themselves in another person's perspective in order to help them heal, they have a deficit. They are emotionally disabled/retarded.

    And it took me a while to realise i was being "helped" and "guided" by someone who was otherwise smart, and yet emotionally disabled. In other words she 'didn't get it' when i expressed myself emotionally and when i reached out for support. I couldn't understand how and why she could be so cruel, so mean, and so awful when i was in such a place of vulnerability. Many years later, much research, and much observation and experience, i am aware that some people do not develop certain parts of the paralymbic system in the brain. It is either not present since birth, severely atrophied, or less dense (weaker than say a person who can understand when someone is hurting and at the very least try and comfort them and not hurt them in any way).


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  5. The thing with these psychologist/psychotherapists/counsellors etc... who treat people inhumanely is that they lack empathy to a large degree. They do not think like you do. I will repeat that again; they do not think like you do. So there is not use trying to understand why they thought about what they did or how they reasoned their behaviour. Their thought processes in relation to emotions are not rational and their therapy plans are not evidence-based because they are not providing evidence-based therapy. They are doing something hurtful and damaging because they are emotionally disabled. And as yourself, someone with empathy, you may find it difficult to understand how some people could be so cruel. And hence why it is not relevant or even helpful or even important to focus on the emotionally disabled person. It is important to focus on yourself. You don't need to worry about whether you will meet this type of person again in your life, chances are you will, but now you are equipped with the knowledge and know what emotional disability looks like. You might laugh with someone like this at a party, or sit next to someone on a plane and have a good chat but you will not place your trust, your emotions, or your faith in them as a caring person again. Trust me, your body and mind will alert you going forward. You are in a better position to see this now than you were before.

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  6. And because these people are emotionally disabled/retarded they are unable to determine for themselves that they are so (they lack what is called 'insight' or the ability to 'reflect'). That is why they will tell you until they are blue in the face that they are great, the best counsellor, they know what to do etc... and yet their actions show the opposite.
    To share something personal, again with the aim to provide information and hope is that in the last 4 years someone married into our family and we have joined her family and ours. Her sister, however is not so nice and has great difficulty maintaining friendships, relationships (romantic or platonic), and has great difficulty navigating simple emotional problem-solving. The people who accept her are us, her family, and highly empathetic or highly emotional people who can see that she simply does not have the skills to engage in a healthy manner. Her job???? Psychologist. Yep. She is unable to have a rational emotion-based conversation and yet she is 'qualified' to help people do this in their lives. Let that sink in.

    Instead of becoming angry and defensive when i last talked with her about (you guessed it) another time of her treating myself and two of my family members with disrespect and cruelty, i viewed her as one of my clients. Someone who was lacking greatly in Emotional Quotient (EQ). Her response was similar to the children i see in the clinic. And although she became angry, frustrated, rude etc... i surprised myself when 30 minutes into the conversation of watching her tangle herself in a story which was completely fictional and convoluted, eventually i felt very sad and sorry for her. Here she was peddling her victim story (the Low EQ persons' national anthem) and i thought she will never get it. I will go home to my loving partner, and she will never get that. I will go back to my friends (who she also hurt) and she will never get that. As they told her if she doesn't change her cruel behaviour they won't tolerate her behaviour. And i will keep repairing my relationships through discussions and arguments and grow and reflect and she will never get that because she can't reflect or admit fault.

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  7. And at the end of the day i don't see her as the hurtful person out to get me and my family and my friends, but the person who doesn't 'get it' and is emotionally disabled.

    Prior to this experience with the counsellor which kick-started my learning and research into people with high IQ and low EQ i would have behaved very differently.

    On a final note, you will get through this. You will also be the benefactor of a lovely gift called post-trauma growth.

    Don't keep hashing over the hurtful details, or do so, but only if you really need to. Go out and do things you want to do, shop, cook, clean, write, hang with friends and family, speak your truth, trust those who value it as much as you do, love, laugh, and enjoy that view of the world you were gifted with. You can feel and create love. That is a gift not everyone is gifted.

    Something that really helped me was finding a therapist who had high levels of EQ and IQ. They are out there. It will feel healing and you will feel that they are helping you on YOUR journey, not the other way round. I also followed the guidance of Paul David and his free website anxietynomore.co.uk.

    Best wishes to you all. Sending you love

    Jules

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