In therapist abuse cases, the term “therapeutic container” refers to the best practices a therapist must follow to maintain a professional distance from their clients. These best practices relate to a therapist’s physical relationship with the patient, as well as other aspects of therapy. Therapists who cross these boundaries may be endangering the well-being of their clients.
What Guidelines Are Included in the Therapeutic Container?
The therapeutic container requires both the therapist and the client to maintain boundaries that keep therapy safe and healthy. If the therapist begins to make unsafe leaps in emotional or physical intimacy with a client, the therapist breaks the therapeutic container.
Respecting the therapeutic container generally requires a therapist to:
- Maintain a comfortable physical distance from the client when speaking
- Refrain from any physical contact with the client, especially if the contact could be interpreted as inappropriate in any way
- Refrain from posing any inappropriate questions or comments
- Respect a client’s right to privacy, both inside and outside of therapy sessions
- Follow all other best practices of therapy
The therapeutic container allows a client to feel safe. By violating this, a therapist may cross the boundary into abusive behavior.
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What Should I Do If My Therapist Crosses the Therapeutic Container?
To simplify things, you can think of “violating the therapeutic container” to mean that your therapist was acting inappropriately or making you feel unsafe. If you believe that your therapist acted inappropriately in any manner, consider discussing your situation with a lawyer.
A lawyer from our team will help you investigate whether your therapist crossed important boundaries. We can also answer your questions as to what a lawsuit against a therapist would entail.
Do Not Continue to See a Therapist Who Makes You Uncomfortable
It is worth emphasizing: Do not continue to see a therapist who you believe has violated the therapeutic container. If you know that a therapist has been inappropriate, or he or she simply makes you uncomfortable, protect yourself by immediately cutting off contact.
Your safety is the greatest reason not to return to an abusive, dishonest, or otherwise unfit therapist. Therapists who don’t abide by boundaries have great potential to cause lasting trauma.
Examples of Therapist Abuse and Misconduct
Therapists know what ethical conduct looks like. As a general rule, your therapist should:
- Respect your personal space
- Take care not to inflict any new trauma
- Keep all of your conversations private
- Keep a clear boundary between your therapy and your personal life, never contacting you in an inappropriate manner
Any conduct that strays from these principles may be unethical. Specific examples of therapist abuse (and other therapist misconduct) include:
- Touching you in any way that makes you uncomfortable
- Speaking to you inappropriately, which may include sexual innuendo
- Attempting to see you outside of therapy
- Making inappropriate or suggestive comments about your appearance
- Engaging with you outside of the office, including following you on social media, appearing at your home or place of work, or contacting you via phone or email outside of the normal therapist routine
- Sharing your conversations with third parties
- Speaking about you on social media
- Making sexual advances or committing sexual assault
Even a single instance of inappropriate behavior is unacceptable. If a therapist engages in a pattern of inappropriate behavior, they may leave you no choice but to take legal action. Our team can help you answer questions about whether pursuing a legal claim would be the right cause of action for you.
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How an Attorney Will Help with Your Case of Therapist Abuse
Our firm will take civil action against any therapist who has harmed you. We complete therapist abuse cases by:
- Gathering evidence of the therapist’s abuse
- Working with forensic social media/cyber investigation experts to help you retrieve deleted or lost text messages or emails.
- Documenting your abuse damages
- Calculating the value of your losses
- Filing your case
- Negotiating a settlement
- Proceeding to court, if necessary
Most of our clients have been victimized once in life, and now again by their therapist. When working with our firm, you will not have to worry about any aspect of your case. Our team will handle paperwork, communications, and other duties while protecting your rights.
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Recoverable Damages for Victims of Therapist Abuse
Abuse by therapists is especially predatory, as patients generally seek therapy as a means of healing from a prior victimization. This violation of trust can cause mental and emotional suffering that affects every aspect of your life.
The damage that occurs when therapists mistreat their client may include:
- Pain and suffering: Civil courts use the term “pain and suffering” to cover several emotional, psychological, and physical damages. Your pain and suffering may include pain from abuse-related injuries, fear of therapists, emotional distress, depression, lost quality of life, and other non-economic losses.
- Lost income: Victims of therapist abuse may have difficulty working—trauma and other losses may require significant recovery time. We may get compensation for lost income and other professional damages you suffer.
- Additional treatment costs: The new trauma that an abusive therapist causes may require additional treatment with a safe practitioner. Your financial recovery may cover additional therapy, medications, and any other necessary treatments.
A member of our team can give you more information on damages you may be eligible to claim. These can differ by state and per the circumstances of your case.
Call Jenner Law for Your Free Consultation Today
Therapists must honor their duty to patients. When they fail in this responsibility, attorneys Rob Jenner and Katie Kerner seek justice for their patients. We can fight for the financial recovery you deserve for your suffering and other damages.
Call Jenner Law today to complete your free consultation.