Therapists are supposed to help their clients, steering them toward strong mental and emotional well-being. However, therapists can exploit their clients and commit abuse. If you are a survivor of therapist abuse, you may still be dealing with the financial and personal effects of exploitation by a mental health practitioner.
After experiencing any abuse from any therapist, you can take legal action. An Arlington therapist abuse lawyer from Jenner Law can help you with your case. Our therapist abuse attorneys advocate for survivors. As we seek justice, we will navigate the legal system on your behalf.
Healthy Boundaries in the Therapist-Client Relationship
Therapists play an important role in their clients’ mental and emotional health. However, therapy sessions put clients in a vulnerable position. For example, they often share personal information and meet with therapists one-on-one.
Therapists must maintain healthy boundaries in their relationships with clients. For example, they need to make sure they behave appropriately in and out of any therapy sessions. Therapists must also:
- Keep your information confidential. Except in extreme cases, therapists should not be sharing your personal information with other people. This breaks trust in the therapist-client relationship.
- Sit at an appropriate distance from you. A therapist should help you feel comfortable during your sessions, maintaining a respectful distance.
- Conduct sessions professionally. Your sessions should happen during regular business hours and over a specific time frame.
- Maintain a professional attitude outside of sessions. A therapist should not contact you or foster a friendship outside of the therapy setting. Doing so is unprofessional.
- Focus on you and your needs. Therapists sometimes share things about themselves. This openness can help to establish trust. However, the focus should be on helping you.
Any time a therapist breaches boundaries, it can harm their clients. Some breaches of boundaries classify as abuse.
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Types of Abuse in the Therapist-Client Relationship
The relationship between a client and a therapist is delicate. A therapist holds authority over their clients as the expert and consultant. Unethical therapists may exploit their client’s vulnerability and abuse them.
Types of abuse that may occur include:
- Mental and emotional abuse: An abusive therapist may manipulate or use abusive language to harm their client.
- Exploitation: This could include forcing you to pay excessive amounts of money or give gifts in exchange for services. You should not feel like you have to do what the therapist wants to get help.
- Grooming: Grooming occurs when a therapist manipulates their client verbally, mentally, emotionally, or through exploitation with the aim of crafting them into a romantic partner. This could lead to sexual and physical abuse.
Transference Can Lead to Therapist Abuse
The exchange of trust in the client-therapist relationship can lead to transference. Transference occurs when a client has familial, friendly, or romantic feelings toward their therapist. This is a common occurrence that therapists are trained to handle professionally. They can even use this attachment to guide their clients toward their therapy goals.
However, therapists can also experience a form of transference (called countertransference) in which they project their own traumas onto the client. An abusive therapist experiencing countertransference may exploit the trust and vulnerability of the therapeutic relationship to harm the client. In some cases, they may even groom their client for a sexual or romantic relationship.
The abuse may go unnoticed by a client experiencing transference. It’s also possible they will feel powerless to do anything about it.
Healing After Therapist Abuse
After suffering exploitation from someone you trusted, it may be difficult to open yourself up to therapy again. Still, you deserve to heal in a safe, professional environment. Seeking out treatment may help you cope with any psychological issues brought on by the abuse you experienced. Our Arlington, VA therapist abuse attorneys can seek recovery for the cost of this treatment as part of your damages.
Your medical records can also help our legal team get an idea of how much to pursue for medical expenses stemming from your abuse.
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Your Legal Options After Experiencing Therapy Abuse
Your legal options will depend on your situation. Some cases of abuse warrant a criminal investigation. Your therapist may face imprisonment or other lawful punishment. Criminal proceedings can help to ensure that the therapist doesn’t hurt anyone else, and they will not impact your ability to take action against them in civil court.
A civil lawsuit can help you get compensation for any damages you incurred and the suffering you experience. Consulting with a therapy abuse attorney at our firm can help you understand what legal options are available.
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How a Therapy Abuse Lawyer on Our Team Can Help You
The legal process can be confusing. Maybe you are feeling overwhelmed after your experience. Our therapy abuse lawyers understand the specific laws and limitations that apply to situations like yours. They can offer legal counsel so you can make an informed decision.
They will also:
- Investigate your therapist and build a case against them
- Assess your legal options
- Answer questions you may have about therapy abuse
- Meet deadlines and filing requirements
- Communicate with any involved parties on your behalf
- Gather evidence to support your claims
- Represent you in any legal proceedings
We provide these services to pursue the compensation you need to heal. You could recover damages for past and future medical bills and wages, pain and suffering, and mental anguish, among other losses.
Our Arlington Therapist Abuse Team Has Helped Others–We Can Help You, Too
At Jenner Law, we are proud to serve the Arlington area. We have helped others with their cases; we can help you too. Here’s what just a couple of our clients have had to say about us:
- “Jenner Law Firm was absolutely amazing from start to finish. Jake and Taylor were easy to get in contact with and responded very quickly. There were times I would get frustrated and they were very patient. I appreciate everything they did for me. Thank you both!” – Identity Hidden
- “Highly Recommended! Great communication throughout each step in the process. Frequent updates provided. Questions were answered within a days time. Explanations were clear and concise. Professional and friendly staff.” – Identity Hidden
Get a Free Consultation With Jenner Law Today
You are not alone. Jenner Law is ready to help you with your therapy abuse case. We want to help you take the best course of legal action.
Call us today for a free consultation. We are ready to answer your questions and help you move forward.
Call or text (888) 585-2188 or complete a Free Case Evaluation form