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Requirement to Report Past Abuse

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I have a 21 year old son and 18 year old daughter. My son recently confessed to us that he inappropriately touched his sister while she slept on more than one occasion when he was about 11 years old. He says it happened a few times and he stopped. He also suffers from depression and feels tremendous guilt for what he did   He needs some help, but he is afraid that he will be reported and could go to jail for what he did and/or be labeled a sex offender. We live in Texas, are therapists required to report things like this that happened in the past? My daughter says she didn’t know this even happened but is also now upset about this and should talk to someone, but also has same fear

Requirement to Report Past Abuse

Answered by on -


As this is something that happened ten years ago, I think your son is very brave to have brought this forward. I understand the hesitation by both your son and daughter, and encourage both of them speak anonymously and separately to the Texas Psychological Association and understand directly from them what the obligations of psychologists are in that state.

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

Requirement to Report Past Abuse

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: He also writes for Psych Central's Ask the Therapist column and the Proof Positive blog.

APA Reference
Tomasulo, D. (2018). Requirement to Report Past Abuse. Psych Central. Retrieved on May 24, 2019, from
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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