The relationship between you and your therapist is one of blatant trust and openness. But unfortunately, therapists can take advantage of this relationship, violating your trust. When this happens, you can do more than discontinue care. You have the right to hold them responsible for their actions and ensure this does not happen to anyone else.
At Jenner Law, we seek justice for our clients who are victims of therapy abuse. We have seen firsthand how this breach of trust can change people forever. Let our Los Angeles therapy abuse lawyer help you get on the road to recovery by seeking compensation for your case.
What Is Therapy Abuse?
When therapists deviate from accepted standards and cause harm, they are guilty of therapy abuse. Much like other health practitioners, therapists are held to a high ethical standard, and because of this, they must adhere to strict boundaries to reduce patient risk.
Traditional boundaries include, but aren’t limited to:
- Sitting at a reasonable distance from the patient
- Beginning and ending therapy sessions on time
- Refraining from contact outside of the office
- No physical contact
- Focusing on the patient’s issues only
- No relationships outside of therapy
Other subtle boundary-crossing activities can include commenting on your appearance, pressuring you to do things that aren’t in line with your therapy, or requesting financial help from you. Therapy abuse can come in many forms. So, if you believe that you or someone you know has been a victim of therapy abuse, one of our Los Angeles therapy abuse lawyers can help.
Common Types of Therapy Abuse
Therapy is a vulnerable experience, and when this relationship becomes abusive, it may be hard to identify at first. Here are some common types of therapy abuse to better identify signs of therapeutic malpractice.
Trust is a pillar of the therapy relationship. If your therapist is divulging confidential information to others about you or vice versa, they are not only breaking trust, but they are breaking the law. Confidentiality in therapy is governed by state and federal laws, including Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA).
A therapist soliciting gifts, favors, or even favorable reviews from patients is prohibited. They should never ask you or pressure you to give anything other than what is owed for therapy services.
In some cases, a therapist can manipulate you into becoming dependent on their services so that you never reach your goals. This can look like responding negatively to positive changes you make, isolating you from important people in your life, and making personal choices for you.
Breaching the duty of care
A therapist has the ethical duty to respond to your needs and actively improve your welfare. If your therapist does not respond to your concerns about your well-being or homicidal or suicidal thoughts or abandons you abruptly, they are breaching this duty of care.
Hostile or abusive behavior
The nature of therapy involves addressing problematic behaviors. However, your therapist should never yell, threaten, or insult you.
Engaging in sexual activity
Sexual contact between a client and a patient is strictly prohibited by California law. The statute of limitations to pursue a lawsuit against a therapist for sexual misconduct is two years after the therapy ends.
How does Therapy Abuse Happen?
Therapy abuse can have many causes, but you must know that none of these reasons is your fault. Therapists hold power in these relationships and are aware of their ethical and legal requirements.
One underlying cause of therapy abuse is a phenomenon called therapy transference. This phenomenon happens when a person attaches their feelings or expectations (whether negative or positive) of one person to someone else.
For instance, a patient can attach their relationship with their father to their therapist. Regardless of the differences between the therapist and their father, the patient will begin to see similarities between the two. Therapists are trained to monitor for this phenomenon, but they may take advantage of it in some cases, causing them to act inappropriately.
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What Kind of Damages Can I Collect in a Los Angeles Therapy Abuse Case?
Physical and psychological pain and suffering are long-lasting. Though these damages are very real, they can be tough to calculate and prove their extent in court. One of our Los Angeles therapy abuse lawyers can help calculate non-economic damages and fight for fair compensation.
We will help you collect damages like:
- Physical and emotional pain and suffering
- Medical expenses
- Lost wages
Therapy abuse can be a civil, criminal, or licensing board case. In any case, you can be assured that our attorneys will pursue fair compensation for your damages.
What to Do After Your Therapist Abuses You
If your therapist abused you, we encourage you to act quickly to protect your right to a lawsuit.
It would be best if you ended care immediately after identifying abusive behavior. By doing so, you can protect your mental health and ensure that your therapist is no longer influencing you.
Try to remember exactly when the abuse began. Dates, documents, texts, and eyewitness statements are essential to drafting a winning case. Our therapy abuse lawyers can help create a clear timeline of events and advocate for you in court with this information.
Therapy abuse cases can be pursued civilly or in a criminal court. In addition, victims may seek professional discipline by a state licensing board. A therapy abuse attorney from our firm who understands relevant laws can represent you in all three cases.
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Jenner Law Can Provide a Compassionate Therapy Abuse Lawyer
At Jenner Law, we can protect your rights and fight for you. Our team understands the complexity and sensitivity of therapy abuse cases and actively pursues justice for our clients.
If you are looking for a therapy abuse lawyer in Los Angeles County, contact our team today at (888) 585-2188. We can inform you of your options and determine the best course of action for you.