If you are a victim of therapy abuse, your legal options include a civil lawsuit, a criminal complaint, and a licensing board complaint. When you file a civil lawsuit, you are bound to prove that the incident(s) occurred.
Finding evidence for this type of case can be tricky, particularly if the abuse only happened during your therapy sessions where there were no witnesses present. However, there are some evidential factors that a lawyer can use to solidify your case. You don’t have to take action alone; allow a lawyer to help you seek justice.
Evidence of Therapy Abuse
These two situations are examples of evidence that should be proven in a therapy abuse case:
- Abuse of transference: Transference is an important part of some types of therapy. It refers to a point in the therapeutic relationship where a patient unconsciously transfers their feelings as a child onto the therapist. The therapist takes on the role of the parent and the patient takes on the role of a child. Because of the therapist’s power and influence over the patient in this scenario, there is an opportunity for abuse and exploitation. If the therapist takes advantage of the patient, this is known as an abuse of transference.
- Breach of boundaries: A professional therapist is legally required to maintain certain boundaries with patients at all times. The therapy should always be focused on the patients, and the therapist should not disclose information about themselves nor enter any personal relationship with the patient. When a therapist does, this is known as a breach of boundaries.
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Proving Therapist Abuse Without Witnesses
Typically, therapist abuse cases are based on the patient’s testimony versus that of the therapist. This is usually because the abuse occurred during private therapy sessions when no one else was present. Your lawyer should have the skills and experience to assess the facts and build compelling evidence to prove your case.
There may be evidence of negligence included in the therapist’s notes or in what is excluded from them. In cases of sexual abuse, there may also be signs of physical trauma, such as bruises, cuts, and swelling.
Signs of Therapy Abuse
Initially, the signs of therapy abuse may be quite subtle, and you may be unsure if your therapist is breaching their boundaries. Your therapist is exhibiting abusive behavior if they:
- Discuss their other patients with you
- Share information about you without your permission
- Make comments about your physical appearance
- Invite you to meet with them outside of therapy
- Call, text, or email you other than to schedule appointments
- Discuss their personal life with you
- Become angry with you
- Make humiliating or shaming comments about you
- Make you feel dependent upon them
- Pressure you into doing things that make you uncomfortable
- Encourage you to harm yourself
- Ask you for financial help
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Recovering Damages in a Therapist Abuse Lawsuit
In a therapy abuse lawsuit where your lawyer proves the abusive therapist’s impact on your life, you may be able to claim compensation for the following damages:
Medical Expenses: Medical professionals recommend that victims of therapy abuse receive help in working through the trauma they experienced. This usually entails working with someone who specializes in this type of recovery. Often, health insurance does not cover this type of care. Your abuser should cover any medical expenses you incurred related to the abuse.
Pain and Suffering: Victims of therapy abuse suffer a great deal of emotional trauma. It is not uncommon for abused patients to be diagnosed with depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). This comes as a result of the abuse and exploitation they suffered. This mental and emotional suffering should be included in your lawyer’s calculation of your damages.
Loss of Enjoyment: The emotional anguish caused by therapy abuse can often lead victims to lose their enjoyment in activities they once loved. For example, someone who used to enjoy taking piano lessons may not anymore because of feelings of depression and anxiety. Compensation for this form of suffering should also be included in your damages claim.
This is not an exhaustive list of recoverable damages in a therapy abuse case. Your lawyer will identify all your damages, value them accurately, and pursue the award you’re entitled to.
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Jenna Law Is Here for You
People turn to mental health practitioners for help during times of emotional need. They choose their practitioner based on their areas of expertise and experience. One of the other most important factors in the relationship between a patient and their therapist is trust. When a therapist betrays that trust and abuses their patient, this can cause significant, lasting damage.
Jenner Law is committed to protecting the rights of therapy abuse victims. Our team understands the mental, emotional, and sometimes physical harm that arises from therapy abuse. This is why we handle each case with sensitivity and confidentiality. Contact us today at (888) 585-2188 to determine your best course of action.