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Question
Posted by: D | 2010/09/12

Damaged self belief from therapy-how to move on.

Hi CS
I some ways I have moved on, others not - how to stop the constant doubt?

When it became clear(according to the experts it was obvious) that my therapist had physical feelings for me I threw them back in his face and told him (via SMS) that his feelings were " destroying me"  - classic passive aggression. In the next session he denied that he had " communicated physical feelings"  - apparently he used the word " communicated"  because if he had explicitly “ communicated”  this in one of the emails he would have been found guilty of professional misconduct .

The problem is/was that I completely and utterly trusted him/depended on him, so when he told me I was mistaken, I believed I was. I went through a phase of believing I was delusional, then I thought I had projected my feelings and that was what I was seeing - I completely lost faith in my own judgement. Funnily enough my intuition and judgement had up until then been one of my strongest attributes and my therapist (in fact all of them) had always been at pains to point this out.

All the experts, psychiatrists/psychologists (and SASOP''s verdict), etc that I have subsequently consulted and have examined the matter closely (including the lever-arch file of emails between us), feel that is perfectly obvious that he had romantic feelings (whether they were right or wrong is not really NB - just that I saw things clearly) for me - apparently the flirtatious emails, SMS''s, boundary violations and what went on in therapy speaks for itself. Yet still I doubt myself - I know what I felt (the intimacy) and yes the objective evidence is obvious and at times I believe this. But then at other times the left brain chatter comes racing in and tells me I was seeing things and got it totally wrong! My current therapist is long suffering indeed!!

Based on the little I have given you - would you say that my judgement is questionable (it does not matter whether his feeling were wrong or right - only that I saw them correctly) as regards his “ physical feelings”  (as selfish and wrong as they might have been)???

Sorry re length - just get so stuck sometimes.....

D

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageCyberShrink

Hi D,
Maybe he was legally advised as to what he should or should not deny, but it really doesn't sound as though any professional ethical intelligence was applied to your complaint at any stage. Anyone who thinks that "communicating" physical feelings would be problematic but that expressing emotional or flirtatious feelings would not, was or is ethically illiterate.
Sadly, your problems so clearly illustrate just why it was all wrong, and why such conduct is not allowed professionally. And it was wholly HIS responsibility and job to recognize all this very early on, and to avoid any problems arising from it, and indeed to use its earliest elements to your benefit therapeutically. That was the expertise he claimed to have and was expected to have - it was not your job to deal with that or recognize it, however intuitive you are ( and I'm sure you're formidably intuitive).
I may have reasonably good legal intuitions, but if I consulted you on a legal matter, I would expect to be able to rely on your judgement and expertise, and to rely on you not to use your recognition of my legal vulnerabilities to create a legal trap for me that would benefit you and not me.
And if you then used the structural and inescapable elements of legal consultation and representation to persuade me or encourage me to blame myself for whatever went wrong, you would be skilfully using your expertise for your own benefit and not mine. And within a legal situation neither your feelings nor mine would uually be part of the equation or part of the currency within which we were working.
From what I have heard about the story, your intuitions seem to have been proved accurate. Whether or not any of his feelings were sincere or insincere or exploitative, or any complex mix of those, is beside the point. Flirtation is always a mixture of emotional and physical emotions and interests - if he denies that there was any physical component to his feelings, intentions or actions, is totally self-serving and rather cynical.
OF course it would suit him to deny it, especially when being judged by other professionals not qualified to truly understand that the boundary violations and offenses were gross, and not mitigated by such a denial.
Indeed, his denial is best explained by one of the classic legal remarks. Way back in the 1960's there was a most notorious legal and political scandal, where a senior government minister had been dallying with a couple of young women of famously elastic morals and activities, and one of those implicated was announced to have denied that anything improper had happened. One of the young women, Mandy Rice-Davies famously retorted " Well, he would, wouldn't he ?"

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Our users say:
Posted by: cybershrink | 2010/09/12

Hi D,
Maybe he was legally advised as to what he should or should not deny, but it really doesn't sound as though any professional ethical intelligence was applied to your complaint at any stage. Anyone who thinks that "communicating" physical feelings would be problematic but that expressing emotional or flirtatious feelings would not, was or is ethically illiterate.
Sadly, your problems so clearly illustrate just why it was all wrong, and why such conduct is not allowed professionally. And it was wholly HIS responsibility and job to recognize all this very early on, and to avoid any problems arising from it, and indeed to use its earliest elements to your benefit therapeutically. That was the expertise he claimed to have and was expected to have - it was not your job to deal with that or recognize it, however intuitive you are ( and I'm sure you're formidably intuitive).
I may have reasonably good legal intuitions, but if I consulted you on a legal matter, I would expect to be able to rely on your judgement and expertise, and to rely on you not to use your recognition of my legal vulnerabilities to create a legal trap for me that would benefit you and not me.
And if you then used the structural and inescapable elements of legal consultation and representation to persuade me or encourage me to blame myself for whatever went wrong, you would be skilfully using your expertise for your own benefit and not mine. And within a legal situation neither your feelings nor mine would uually be part of the equation or part of the currency within which we were working.
From what I have heard about the story, your intuitions seem to have been proved accurate. Whether or not any of his feelings were sincere or insincere or exploitative, or any complex mix of those, is beside the point. Flirtation is always a mixture of emotional and physical emotions and interests - if he denies that there was any physical component to his feelings, intentions or actions, is totally self-serving and rather cynical.
OF course it would suit him to deny it, especially when being judged by other professionals not qualified to truly understand that the boundary violations and offenses were gross, and not mitigated by such a denial.
Indeed, his denial is best explained by one of the classic legal remarks. Way back in the 1960's there was a most notorious legal and political scandal, where a senior government minister had been dallying with a couple of young women of famously elastic morals and activities, and one of those implicated was announced to have denied that anything improper had happened. One of the young women, Mandy Rice-Davies famously retorted " Well, he would, wouldn't he ?"

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