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Emotional Abuse from Her Therapist?

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Several weeks ago my wife of two years asked me for a divorce. I was shocked — I’d thought things had been going well. Not two weeks before she had gushed to me about how excited she was to have a future with children and a home with me. When I asked her why, she could not give me more information than “I just feel like it’s the right thing to do” no matter how I asked, and refused to go to marriage counseling with me and her therapist. She credits her therapist with convincing her to leave me, although as stated will not explain why.

She now refuses to see me, even though she insists I haven’t done anything wrong. It’s been tough, but I’ve learned to deal with it. She’s moved out now.

However, just tonight her mother (we’re still close, and she and my wife have a very close and loving relationship) told me that my wife had also come to her and asked her not to visit her in her new apartment, because in direct defiance of their previously very close and loving relationship she says that she thinks her mother is bad for her. Again, she will not explain beyond that or give examples as to why she feels that way.

Now I’m worried. She says she’s had these feelings ever since a few months ago when she began seeing the above-mentioned therapist for her drug problems.

I’ve read about amoral therapists sometimes trying to drive patients from their personal relationships to make them more dependent on the therapy. The fact that as a drug addict she is being encouraged to dismantle her support network that has saved her in the past from her addictions, the fact she cannot seem to give more coherent reasoning behind why she is doing what she is doing, the fact that she will not divulge what has been going on in her therapy, the fact that she grows very defensive when questioned about her therapist, and the fact that she has moved to the next city over from where her therapist lives (after stating in the past that she never wanted to move there because it was far from work) have all led me to the possibility that she is experiencing emotional abuse and manipulation from her therapist.

Am I wrong to suspect that this might be the case, and if I am not, what actions can I take to have this matter investigated?

Emotional Abuse from Her Therapist?

Answered by on -

A.

Thank you for trusting us with your powerful question. While I certainly can understand your concerns, there isn’t enough information to know whether or not the therapist is acting irresponsibly or merely as a catalyst for this change.

The fact that she has made these decisions, moved out, and has asked her mom to keep her distance sounds like she is committed to this change.

As difficult as it might be for you to except this I think the most important focus is for you to take very good care of yourself and your children. Whatever the reason your wife has left — the bottom line is that she is gone. I would accept this reality.

At the same time I would also highly recommend getting support for yourself. You may want to try a Nar-anon or Al-Anon meeting in your area. It is coping with those who struggle with drug and alcohol addictions that causes a great deal of grief for their family and friends. I think you will find these 12-step meetings helpful for support.

Wishing you patience and peace,
Dr. Dan
Proof Positive Blog @ PsychCentral

Emotional Abuse from Her Therapist?

Daniel J. Tomasulo, PhD, TEP, MFA, MAPP

Dan Tomasulo Ph.D., TEP, MFA, MAPP teaches Positive Psychology in the graduate program of Counseling and Clinical Psychology at Columbia University, Teachers College and works with Martin Seligman, the Father of Positive Psychology in the Masters of Applied Positive Psychology (MAPP) program at the University of Pennsylvania. He is Director of the New York Certification in Positive Psychology for the Open Center in New York City and on faculty at New Jersey City University. Sharecare has honored him as one of the top 10 online influencers on the topic of depression. For more information go to: http://www.dare2behappy.com/. He also writes for Psych Central's Ask the Therapist column and the Proof Positive blog.

APA Reference
Tomasulo, D. (2018). Emotional Abuse from Her Therapist?. Psych Central. Retrieved on March 23, 2019, from https://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2014/12/13/emotional-abuse-from-her-therapist/
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 May 2018
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 May 2018
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