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Is My Therapist Out of Line?

Asked by on with 1 answer:

I have been seeing my therapist for 4 sessions now to talk about things related to my family, my past, just difficult things I had to go through and our goal is to understand myself better.
Now this last time I saw him, he asked me what my sexual fantasies were. I don’t understand how it could be beneficial to talk about them but I didn’t think of that at the time so I didn’t ask him.
But is it a violation of privacy’? Is it out of line of him to ask me that? (From the UK)

Is My Therapist Out of Line?

Answered by on -


Thank you for your email. Therapists are trained in a variety of different ways and what might seem inappropriate for some is perfectly natural for others. The fact that this caused a strong reaction is important in and of itself. I would use your discomfort as the basis of your next session. Rather than my trying to assess whether or not the therapist has overstepped his boundaries with the question, I’d rather see you talk to him about your reaction. Since you’re just beginning to see the therapist all the questions you’ve asked here are appropriate to ask him. Finding out what is the nature of the question, why is it beneficial to talk about this, and importantly — that you feel as if it’s an invasion of your privacy. While difficult I think these conversations are essential for you either building a deeper relationship with the therapist or moving on.

Just to give you a taste of the various forms of psychotherapy here is a blog that helps distinguish the four major ones quite well. While it is common for therapists to be “eclectic” in their approach most will identify with a primary type of therapy the conduct.

As for the goals and effectiveness of psychotherapy and different formats, there are many. In this blog you can learn the different modalities and approaches that are used.

But of all the points about various forms of therapy, therapy styles, and therapist’s training I think the most important feature of your question is that it concerns your rights as a mental health consumer. Your rights are important to know and understand as part of the treatment process.

Central to your rights is your involvement in a treatment plan with the therapist. Again, this varies depending on the modality (such as individual versus group therapy) and methodology. All of your questions are good ones, your concern is legitimate, and your feelings about being asked are an important part of the process. Even if it ends up that you wish to leave talking to your therapist about your reaction is important for your growth, regardless of if you stay with the therapist or not.

To learn more about your rights you can check out this post.

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

Is My Therapist Out of Line?

Therapists live, online right now, from BetterHelp:

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. (2019). Is My Therapist Out of Line?. Psych Central. Retrieved on December 3, 2020, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 Jun 2019 (Originally: 9 Jun 2019)
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 Jun 2019
Published on Psych All rights reserved.