People turn to therapists when they are at their most vulnerable. Therapy patients expect to be treated with respect and a certain level of empathy that comes with the field of psychology. The patient-therapist relationship should be built on a strong foundation of trust and empathy.
When therapists take advantage of that power and undermine trust and understanding, the results can profoundly damage a patient. Therapy abuse can cause patients to suffer from long-term anxiety and depression as well as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
If you are a victim of therapy abuse, you are not alone. A Richmond therapy abuse lawyer from Jenner Law can protect your rights.
Therapy Abuse Is Malpractice
Malpractice cases are typically brought against a professional who has violated the professional standard of care while treating a patient. It may be difficult to come forward after experiencing abuse from your therapist, so it can take years for a patient to take action.
Jenner Law wants to help therapy abuse victims hold negligent therapists accountable for the
harm they have caused and continue to cause. Every patient should have the tools to understand when a therapist’s behavior may be unacceptable and how to hold that therapist responsible for the patient’s injuries.
One example of therapist abuse and malpractice is the therapist’s breach of boundaries with the patient, or failure to institute any boundaries, leading to the patient’s psychological suffering.
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Understanding Breach of Boundaries
Therapists have a legal obligation to uphold and protect certain boundaries between
themselves and their patients. This is for the good of the patients. Therapists are trained to create and uphold boundaries.
Whether the therapist’s title is a psychologist, professional counselor, clinical social worker, marriage and family therapist, or other counselor or psychotherapist, each therapist must maintain boundaries and promote the welfare of each patient.
Boundary violations can take many different forms and can be hard to recognize. Here are some examples of boundaries your therapist should maintain for your health and safety:
- The patient should be the focus of each therapy session, not the therapist.
- The therapist should maintain an appropriate physical distance from the patient and respect the patient’s wishes regarding physical contact.
- The therapist should not attempt to meet with the patient outside of therapy.
- The therapist should not correspond with the patient outside of therapy about matters unrelated to the patient’s therapy or the patient’s immediate health and safety.
- The therapist should not impose his or her own personal values, attitudes, beliefs or behaviors on the patient.
- The therapist should not exploit or take advantage of the patient financially or personally.
- The therapist should not talk about his or her own sexual activities or fantasies, or engage in any inappropriate communication through technology or in person, with the patient.
- The therapist should not engage in a virtual relationship with the patient (through social media or otherwise) during the therapy treatment.
- The therapist should not abandon or neglect the patient during therapy. If a patient or therapist wishes to end therapy, the therapist must make appropriate arrangements for the continuation of care for the patient.
When a therapist fails to abide by these reasonable practices, it can cause tremendous injuries to the patient, affecting the patient’s entire life.
What to Do After Experiencing Therapy Abuse in Richmond
When this unfortunate situation arises, patients may not fully understand that they are
being taken advantage of. If they do realize their therapeutic relationship is abusive, patients may not know what to do about it. Our firm can help you understand your legal options and ensure that the therapist is held accountable.
Your case is in our hands when you reach out to us. We understand that therapist abuse is painful and violating, and pursuing a lawsuit can make those violations more overwhelming. We will do everything we can to limit your stress and anxiety over the legal case, so you can focus on yourself. Allow us to shoulder the burden.
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Damages You Can Recover in a Therapy Abuse Case
In a civil lawsuit for therapy abuse, you may be able to recover the following damages:
- Medical expenses: This covers medical treatment, including past, ongoing and future therapy, that was necessitated because of the therapy abuse.
- Lost income: If you cannot return to work because of the effects of the therapy
abuse, you may be able to claim damages for lost income both for the present
and the future.
- Pain and suffering: Your injuries go far beyond the medical expenses and lost wages that you have incurred.
We understand that you have experienced emotional and psychological injuries as well. We understand these experiences are traumatic. We understand you have experienced and may continue to experience feelings of depression, anxiety, guilt, shame, hopelessness, inability to trust others, inability to trust yourself, among many other feelings and emotions.
These injuries cause physical manifestations such as difficulty living your life, difficulty engaging in everyday activities or difficulty having relationships with others. These damages are devastating, and we feel strongly about including these damages as part of your lawsuit.
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Retaining Our Lawyers Can Benefit Your Henrico County Case
In many cases, when you have a legal advocate acting on your behalf, your case will be
settled out of court and there will be no need for a trial. Our therapy abuse lawyers know how to handle these cases.
It can be risky to represent yourself with little to no knowledge of laws relevant to your case. The sooner you reach out for help, the sooner you may be able to collect compensation, which can help you move forward more comfortably.
Call Jenner Law Today
At Jenner Law, we understand how devastating and traumatic therapist abuse can be. This is not your fault. You are not responsible for the therapist’s actions. You did not cause the therapist to abuse you.
We have lawyers on hand who are equipped to deal with this form of abuse and exploitation. We work hand in hand with lawyers from your state and we practice subject to court approval in states where we are not members of the bar.
Don’t suffer in silence. Contact us for a free consultation with a compassionate team member. Our team is here to protect your legal rights and provide a safe and confidential environment for you to discuss your experiences. Don’t delay in reaching out; you may have limited time to act under the laws of your state.