Unprofessional Behavior by Therapist

By Kristina Randle, Ph.D., LCSW

I was a victim of DV. Felony Attempted Murder and sought treatment to help me find my way out the PSD. I began treatment with a woman and after about 6 months we entered into a personal relationship. She spent Christmas day with my family, her birthday, movies and shared her financial woes with me. Her wages were to be garnished and I worked everyday for about a week to help resolve this issue for her. I made many telephone calls and did intensive research. About six months after beginning the personal relationship she summarily dismissed me after a session by not giving me a future appointment. No explanation what so ever. I became so frustered and upset that I just left. I have tried to communicate with several times for an explanation and have not received a response. At the least to me her behavior was unethical, unprofessional and down right mean. She has no remorse regarding the pain she has caused me. I believe she has done this before and will do it again..no one should be subjected to what she did to me. She has more than enough hours, a masters and her PHD and doesn’t have a license with the BBS. I am about ready to contact the director of the couseling service and filing a complaint with the BBS. Another therapist will verify my story as well as my family.

What advise can you give about proceeding with this? How should I proceed?
Any assistance would be much appreciated.

Thank you in advance.

A. One option is to report her to the respective state licensing board. Even if she does not hold a license you could still report her. You did not mention her credentials. For instance, if she claims to be a psychologist then you would report her to the American Psychological Association state licensing board. If she is a social worker, then report her to the National Association of Social Workers (NASW) state licensing board, and so on.

Virtually all helping professionals, marriage and family therapists, social workers, psychologists, and so forth have a code of ethics. If the code of ethics is violated they risk losing their professional license. You described having a close personal relationship with your therapist. It seems as if boundaries were crossed. If she were a professional social worker, she would have most likely violated the NASW code of ethics. Not only would it have been a violation of the code of ethics, there could be legal ramifications.

You’re doing the right thing by bringing this problem to the attention of her supervisors. It is a good place to start. The next logical step would be the state licensing board. You should be able to find the links to the appropriate resources on the Internet by doing a Google search. I wish you the best. Please take care.

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 19 Feb 2011

APA Reference
Randle, K. (2011). Unprofessional Behavior by Therapist. Psych Central. Retrieved on October 20, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2011/02/19/unprofessional-behavior-by-therapist/