Therapy is a popular form of mental health care, one in which individuals may participate for a wide range of reasons. As a client, you put a tremendous amount of trust in your therapist. The last thing you need when you’re going through a stressful or traumatic period in your life is to be taken advantage of by them.
Unfortunately, instances arise in which therapists abuse or exploit clients who turn to them for support and healing. Abusive therapists can cause lasting and sometimes permanent harm to their clients. They also do a disservice to the entire profession. If you are the victim of therapist abuse, consult with a Nantucket therapy abuse lawyer from Jenner Law. We can help you receive compensation and hold your therapist accountable for their actions.
Damages You Can Claim in a Nantucket Therapy Abuse Lawsuit
If you choose to file a lawsuit against an abusive therapist, you may be eligible to claim several damages. There are three categories of damages, which are:
- Economic damages: This type of compensation includes expenses for past and future medical treatment and past and future lost income.
- Non-economic damages: This includes compensation for emotional distress caused by the therapy abuse.
- Punitive damages: In some circumstances, you may be able to claim punitive damages. These are meant to punish the abuser and prevent them from repeating their offense.
Your lawyer will identify your damages, value them, and pursue adequate compensation from the appropriate party.
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Signs of Therapy Abuse: Boundary Violations
Therapists have a legal duty to their patients to maintain strict professional boundaries. When they abuse this duty, it is known as a boundary violation. It’s important to understand that therapy abuse does not always take the form of physical contact. Comments that are inappropriate, shaming, and sexually suggestive are also signs of therapy abuse. As is threatening behavior. Realizing this is an important first step to taking action to stop the abuse.
Retaining a law firm specializing in therapy abuse cases in Nantucket will enable you to discuss the facts of your experience in a safe and sensitive environment that supports the rights of abuse survivors. In addition, your lawyer can explain your options so that you can begin your healing journey. Here are some examples of boundary violations in a therapeutic situation:
- Discussing clients: Your therapist should not discuss other clients’ cases with you or discuss yours with them. They must abide by confidentiality agreements otherwise they are breaking the law.
- Seeking sexual attention: If your therapist makes romantic or sexual advances towards you during or outside of a therapy session, this is also a breach of boundaries. As such, it is against their code of conduct and is illegal. This can include:
- Expressing excessive interest in a client’s sexual history or activities
- Discussing their sexual activities or fantasies
- Sitting inappropriately close to or touching a client
- Suggesting inappropriate touching as part of the therapy
- Suggesting sexual activity with the client as part of the therapy
- Showing a lack of empathy: One of the main reasons individuals seek out therapy is to find a safe environment and an understanding therapist to talk about their mental health concerns. Therapy is, by nature, a discipline that requires a great deal of empathy. A professional therapist should be able to understand their client’s experiences and feelings to offer the best treatment. If a feeling of empathy is lacking, the therapist is not meeting the full needs of their client.
- Extending social invitations: A healing patient-therapist relationship should be conducted within the privacy of the therapist’s office or counseling space. A therapist who invites a client to a social event or accepts an invitation from the client is violating boundaries. This also applies to social media, phone calls, texting, and messaging. The only time a therapist should contact a client via phone or email is to remind them of an upcoming appointment.
- Asking for financial support: A therapist should not ask clients for any financial assistance for themselves or their business. This includes asking for contributions of time or money, donations, or any other means of financial support other than what you are paying them for your medical expenses.
- Fostering dependence: A therapist must encourage their clients to live a full and healthy life as safely as possible. They are committing a boundary violation if they attempt to foster dependence in any way, such as:
- Suggesting that a client cuts off ties with supportive people in your life
- Presenting a negative reaction to positive changes the client makes
- Attempting to overly influence a client’s personal choices
- Encouraging a client to disassociate themselves from important people in their life
- Encouraging a client to use illegal or addictive substances
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Making the Deadline to File Your Lawsuit
In Massachusetts, the statute of limitations for a therapy abuse case is complicated. Generally, in a malpractice case, an individual should file their case within three years from when they discovered the therapist’s wrongdoing.
However, with a case of therapy abuse, often the patient is reluctant or afraid to come forward and may wait several years before getting legal help.
To be on the safe side, if you want to bring a case of abuse against your therapist, it is important to do so as soon as possible. The best way to find out about the statute of limitations on your case is to consult our Nantucket therapy abuse lawyer.
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Choose Our Lawyers for Your Therapy Abuse Lawsuit
If you are a victim of therapy abuse and looking for legal assistance in Nantucket, Jenner Law can help. Our legal partner, Kathleen (Katie) Kerner, has experience litigating therapy abuse cases. She understands how difficult it can be to discuss your experiences of abuse and is sensitive to your needs.
We handle every aspect of our clients’ cases while they focus on their wellbeing. Call Jenner Law today at (888) 585-2188 so our team can begin building your Nantucket County case and get you on the road to a healthier future.