Yes, you can recover damages for the emotional harm caused by therapist abuse in Maryland. A Maryland therapist abuse attorney could help you recover the compensation you deserve if you have suffered any form of therapist abuse.
What Is Emotional Harm?
Emotional harm refers to a broad range of scenarios, including the following:
- You develop a new mental illness in response to the abuse.
- Your preexisting mental illness worsens.
- You experience deep negative feelings, such as sadness, confusion, or guilt.
- You have difficulty sleeping or concentrating on subjects unrelated to the abuse.
- Your ability to trust others, including other therapists, has diminished.
You may experience such symptoms if your therapist violates the Maryland code of ethics for professional counselors and therapists, found in the Code of Maryland Regulations § 10.58.03.05. Examples of code violations include:
- Failing to communicate with patients properly
- Abandoning patients without cause, warning, or explanation in the middle of treatment
- Violating confidentiality agreements
- Having a relationship with the patient outside of or beyond the standard therapist-patient relationship
These and other therapist abuses can affect your life significantly. This is why you could recover damages for the emotional harm caused by therapist abuse in Maryland: the state recognizes how debilitating emotional harm can be and wants to ensure people like you can receive some recompense for your suffering.
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Available Damages in Maryland Therapist Abuse Cases
Compensation for emotional harm is just one loss you could recover if an abusive therapist exploited you. Other damages include:
Some types of therapist abuse result in physical pain or other symptoms. Just like with emotional harm, physical injuries can have short- and long-term effects on your health. You deserve damages for any physical wounds you suffered.
Experiencing therapist abuse can affect your professional as well as your personal life. You might:
- Have to take time off work due to emotional distress
- Have to schedule treatments (e.g., appointments with a new therapist) during working hours
- Lose benefits in addition to wages, if you miss enough work
- Retire early, if the emotional harm is severe enough to keep you from ever holding a full-time job again
If your therapist’s abuse costs you money, you can seek compensation. Additionally, if your therapist was financially abusive and tricked you into giving them cash or buying them presents, you can ask for that money back.
Sometimes, recovering from or undoing the effects of therapist abuse can cost you money. Most commonly, this is due to medical bills from:
- Seeing another therapist
- Seeing a medical doctor to treat any physical wounds
- Traveling a long way to see your doctor or therapist
It can also refer to the cost of hiring someone to take care of your chores while you recover or go to treatment. For example, you could ask for reimbursement for a babysitter to watch your children while you visit your new therapist (assuming you didn’t have to hire a babysitter for this purpose before).
Recovering Compensation for Emotional Harm
The process of recovering compensation can be very long and stressful. However, you have the right to hire an attorney to manage your case. A law firm could take all the following steps and more to recover your damages:
- Investigate the abuse and build a case against your therapist with evidence like medical records or witness testimony.
- Prove your emotional harm is connected to the abuse.
- Determine whether to negotiate with the therapist’s insurer for a settlement or take your therapist to trial.
- Represent you when speaking on the phone, via email, or in person with other people involved in the case (e.g., your therapist).
- Help you understand your legal options and decide how to handle the case (e.g., whether to accept a settlement offer).
- Meet legal deadlines, such as the statute of limitations, that could affect whether you receive compensation for emotional harm or anything else.
You deserve compensation for all the abuse you suffered. At the same time, you should also get the chance to process what happened and take steps to move on. A therapist abuse lawyer can take care of your legal responsibilities so you can focus on the number-one priority: taking care of yourself.
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Why Pursue Damages for Therapist Abuse?
Patients who attend therapy depend on their therapist to help them resolve problems or concerns. The therapist holds most of the power in this situation: they direct and determine the course of treatment. This is a grave responsibility that not every therapist takes seriously. One potential challenge that therapists must always prepare to handle is transference/countertransference. These are two sides of the same coin, so to speak.
Transference occurs when the patient develops deeper feelings for their therapist while undergoing therapy. They might think they:
- Have romantic or sexual feelings for the therapist
- Want to have a relationship with the therapist outside of therapy
- Are now a friend of the therapist rather than a patient
Countertransference, when a therapist develops inappropriate feelings for the patient, can also set the stage for therapist abuse and emotional harm.
If transference and/or countertransference occurs, the therapist must handle it according to their training. Choosing to exploit or abandon the patient is an unconscionable decision for any therapist—one that you can hold them accountable for by filing a lawsuit.
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Learn Today If You Can Pursue Damages for Emotional Harm
If you are a therapist abuse survivor, we want you to know the abuse was not your fault. You do not deserve what happened to you, and Jenner Law can help you develop a strategy to recover damages for the emotional harm caused by therapist abuse in Maryland. Call us for a free, confidential consultation today.