General and Emergency Information for Victims of Therapist Abuse

First and foremost, if you are feeling suicidal, call 911 or a crisis hotline.
There are some crisis hotline numbers listed in the right sidebar under Need Help Now? if you scroll down the page. These include:

National Suicide Hotlines
1-800-SUICIDE / 1-800-784-2433 or 1-800-273-TALK / 1-800-273-8255
24 hours a day/7 days a week

National Sexual Assault Hotline
www.rainn.org
1-800-656-HOPE
24 hours a day/7 days a week

Therapist Referrals
Unfortunately, we don’t have therapist referrals on the website. If you can get a recommendation from someone you know, that can be helpful. There are also therapist directories you can search on, such as PsychologyToday.com and GoodTherapy.org. If you can’t find someone locally, more and more therapists are working via Skype, so that may be an option.

Also, here is a post I wrote about looking for a new therapist, which may be helpful:
http://www.survivingtherapistabuse.com/2014/11/questions-to-ask-a-prospective-therapist/

Licensing
You can check out someone’s license information online through their state licensing agency. This will tell you whether there have been any complaints or administrative actions taken against them.

For example, in California, Marriage and Family Therapists (MFTs), Social Workers and Clinical Counselors are licensed through the Board of Behavioral Sciences (BBS). Psychologists (including PsyDs) are licensed through the California Board of Psychology. You can look up licenses and file complaints for any of the above through the California Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) BreEZe Online Services.

Taking Action
Depending on the nature of the abuse, you may have three different options:
1. File a licensing/administrative complaint
2. File a civil complaint
3. File a criminal complaint

Please note: If you want to take more than one of these actions (for example, you want to file both a civil complaint and a licensing complaint), the order in which you file the complaints can be VERY IMPORTANT. Before you take any action, it would be wise to consult with an attorney.

Here is a post I wrote about taking legal action:
http://www.survivingtherapistabuse.com/2009/10/7-tips-for-therapist-abuse-victims-considering-legal-action/

Legal Referrals
For names of attorneys, check the Legal Resources page. If you don’t see an attorney for your area, call one of those listed, as they may know someone who works in your region.

Additional Resources

TELL – Therapy Exploitation Link Line at www.therapyabuse.org has articles and email responders who may be able to offer some support for victims.

For additional resources, websites and articles, scroll down the page and check out the right sidebar. There are many websites, blogs and articles listed there that may be helpful.

If you have additional resources you would like to add, please leave a comment below.

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Sharing an Article and Song

A recent article by Alyssa Strauss on The Mighty.com resonated with me and I wanted to share it. I imagine it will resonate with some of you, too. Click below to read the article and see the video of the song.

How I Responded to Kesha’s New Song “Praying” as a Sexual Assault Survivor

Here are some of the lyrics from the song:

“‘Cause you brought the flames and you put me through hell
I had to learn how to fight for myself
And we both know all the truth I could tell
I’ll just say this is I wish you farewell

I hope you’re somewhere praying, praying
I hope your soul is changing, changing
I hope you find your peace
Falling on your knees, praying

Oh, sometimes, I pray for you at night
Someday, maybe you’ll see the light
Oh, some say, in life, you’re gonna get what you give
But some things only God can forgive.”

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A Rant — May 17, 2017

Periodically I get comments from people who think that I’m lying about what happened with Dr. T, that I made everything up, that I just want attention, blah, blah, blah. They go on their rant, threaten to discredit me—whatever. It happened again this week.

Generally I let this stuff go, since I know that the people who say these things have their own hurt and anger that they can’t or don’t want to deal with—so I end up being the target of their projections. There’s no point in trying to defend or justify anything—that just gives them more ammunition. They’ve already made up their mind what the “truth” is, so why should I waste my energy trying to explain anything? That just adds fuel to the fire.

But now I’m kind of pissed, so I’m gonna say something. And that is: Who would make this shit up? And why?

* * *

I created this site back in 2009. I did it for two reasons:

  1. Because no one understood what I was going through and I wanted to speak my piece.
  2. Because I wanted to provide resources and support for others who might possibly be going through the same thing. I wanted them to feel less alone.

Was I expecting a response? Heck no! I honestly did not think anyone would find the site. Why would anyone even be looking for it? I was stunned the first time someone left a comment. And gratified that they appreciated what I was saying and offering.

At the same time, I was shocked and saddened to discover that there were others who’d been through the same kinds of experiences that I had. This was completely unexpected. And it was horrifying.

I continued to write about my experience.

But here’s a secret. Every time I pressed that little “Publish” button that would make my post go live, I was absolutely terrified. What if people hated it? Hated me? Ridiculed me? Every time I published a post I pretty much expected to get vilified by someone who would’t get it, wouldn’t understand why therapist abuse was even an issue, wouldn’t have any empathy or compassion for me. I had that fear and dread with every post, and every time I published in spite of it. And the result is this website.

Exactly what do you think I got out of putting my story out there? Attention? Ha ha ha ha ha…!
I can tell you that the total number of visitors to this site over the last several years is a tiny, tiny fraction of what “popular” websites and blogs get in one day. And why would I subject myself to potentially devastating public humiliation?? Being a victim is not exactly sexy, and it’s certainly not an ego boost!

Do you think I’m making money from this site? Ha ha ha ha ha…!
Occasionally, people have suggested that I monetize the site. Do you see any advertising here? Good grief! Can you imagine seeing ads in the sidebar? Yuck! Yes, I have an Amazon store…which people rarely purchase from. Almost all the website fees have come out of my pocket unless some blessed soul makes a donation. There were times when I continued paying the webhosting fees when I really couldn’t afford to be paying the webhosting fees because it was important to me to keep the site going—not for me, but because, well, how many sites are there that deal with therapist abuse?? Where would people go??

Still, I have wondered about whether to keep the site going. For me, there is so much water under the bridge regarding what I refer to as “my situation” with Dr. T that I rarely think about this stuff anymore. Really. I have moved far enough beyond it that the only thing that keeps the memories alive is….this website. So yes, I have repeatedly wondered what it would be like to pull the plug. I haven’t. I do very much value this website as a resource site for those in need, so I think it’s important to keep it going, in one way or another.

This week a reader decided to push some buttons. She went on a rant about how I must be making it all up and an expert said this and that and blah blah blah—and then let me know that she’d figured out who Dr. T is and that she was getting in touch with him to get his side of the story.

Really?

Why?

In the interest of letting people see their comments go live right away, I choose not to moderate comments unless they contain links. (This may now change…) So when this comment showed up, I first chose to let it remain. And then I asked myself Why should I? Who would actually benefit from reading this? Because even though I was able to let it go and move on, I worried that it would be triggering for others. Because isn’t this every therapist abuse victim’s greatest fear? To be called a liar, to have someone threaten to publicly “out” you, to even have someone say they’re going to get in touch with the perpetrator in order to discredit you? So I made the decision to “unapprove” the comment. You may argue with me about this and say Well, why would you do that? Is it because what she’s saying is true and you’re scared? Again: Why would anyone make this shit up??

The funny thing is, even if I had made all this up (and put all this time, energy and money into a complete fabrication), so what? Who cares? Because frankly, a lot of people have benefited from this website. So why hurt them? 

I value and appreciate everyone who has spent time reading the blog and using this website. I never thought anyone would find it and I feel so grateful every time someone comments or writes to me and says what a benefit it’s been. That is the greatest reward I could possibly receive. And I think it’s wonderful when people from this community of survivors step up and support each other. I am so glad that you have found each other! This is truly what keeps this site going. If I didn’t think that people still needed this site, it would be gone in a heartbeat. I’m the owner. I pay the bills. I maintain it. I keep the site going not because I have to or need to but because I care about the visitors—the people who need it. That’s the choice I’ve made and the choice I continue to make.

So there’s my rant. Take it or leave it.

* * *

Love and blessings to all of you!
~Kristi

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10 Ways to Protect Yourself from NLP Mind Control

I came across an article I thought worth sharing. It’s called “10 Ways to Protect Yourself from NLP Mind Control” by Jason Louv. The title sounds a bit scary and magicky, except that there is some really valuable information here about how easy it is for someone to figure out how to manipulate you and how to protect yourself. It’s a long piece but you can just skim to the good stuff. Click below to read the article on Ultraculture.org (which also appears a bit scary and magicky, but hey—you can read the article and then leave…)

10 Ways to Protect Yourself from NLP Mind Control

I want to point out that there are many benefits to NLP (NeuroLinguistic Programming), which can be a great tool for personal support. It’s interesting to find out that it is also used by some mentalists—and manipulators—to control people.

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I Simply Made an Appointment. How Did I End Up Here!

Yesterday I was cleaning out my office and came across my datebook calendar from 2010. I am such a pack rat! As I flipped through the calendar seeing if there was any contact information I may still need, I saw it there: My first appointment with Dr. P! How simply and innocently written. “Dr. P October 15, 2010.” Wow! How very innocent I was then!

I never imagined then that I would be where I am now six years later! No one should ever have to go through what we all have by simply making an appointment to see their mental health professional. I think of where I was then just having lost the love of my life and facing some career challenges. I was seeking guidance and assistance through grief and loss.

It was interesting just to see how simply he meant nothing to me other than his role for which I sought out his services. How I wish I could simply have that indifference now.

I paused and then threw the calendar in the trash. I am happy I am away from that predator. I am thankful I got away. I am thankful for the wisdom gained. I am thankful I have moved toward all those goals I originally had in mind when I went into therapy for with Dr. P. I am thankful I have seen many dreams come true. It’s been a long journey from that time of simply having made an appointment.

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Support

The holidays are coming to a close, the new year is just one day away… and the web-hosting fees are almost due.

Would you consider making a donation to support the maintenance of this website? Any amount would be greatly appreciated!

You can use the PayPal donation button on the right to make a contribution via credit card or bank account.

Thank you for being part of the community and for all your support of this website!

Best wishes for a wonderful and healing 2017!

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Any survivors from the 1990’s Out There?

I have been going through the book (hoping to put together a bibliography) on sexual assault by providers. I was really struck by that there was an organized effort to resist the exploitation that was happening then. In a book I am reading now from 1990 there are 10 listed survivor groups in the Appendix. The one that survives is TELL! What happened? How can we nourish and sustain a more organized movement and support network in our communities today?

What I am finding out there is help for the offenders more than help for survivors! It’s as if the survivor voice has been almost erased in the past 26 years since the height of efforts to get this horrific abuse exposed to the public.

I just wonder at what happened to what seemed to be a growing survivor movement?  Yes, we need to change laws but changing laws doesn’t end the abuse or the need for an organized effort to educate the users of therapy and other services as to the danger that is there and what to watch out for in therapy. In 2012 my state still reported 10 percent of therapists and psychiatrists still sexually exploit clients/patients.  That number has been consistent for 50 years since the beginning of recognizing the problem.

I know when I was seeking legal advice I had an attorney apologize to me and say to me, “I am sorry. I thought we stopped this kind of abuse back in the 1990’s”. He was part of the  state task force on therapist exploitation and that task force disbanded in the mid 1990’s. I spoke with another member of that task force last year and he was under the perception that the exploitation just wasn’t happening as much since passing the law in this state.  Yet, the numbers as I wrote above have not changed.  I am just wondering what people from that time period think happened to bring the push to expose this abuse to a crawl and what we might or could be doing now to pick up the torch to move it back into the forefront?

I would be interested in hearing for from those long time survivors and their perception of what has happened in the 26 years since then regarding survivor’s united voices.  Thank you.

Thank goodness for this site and for Kristi’s sustained efforts. Her voice truly is a voice that is crying in the wilderness!

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Introducing My Story

Hello. my name is Maria and I am a survivor too. You may have noticed some of my posts in the past couple of months. I have shared my story with Kristi and she has graciously posted it here on her site.

It is a longer story as part of the story is more about what I learned about sexual assault in the context of helping relationships. In fact as I just wrote “sexual assault” I still feel that I am exegerating and that exploitation somehow sounds better. I wasn’t a willing or consenting party to what happened, but somehow it is still hard for me to say those words.

I am still on the road to recovery. From what I have heard from others who have been put on this journey by exploitive therapists and other helping professionals is that the journey is more than likely a life long journey with new insights and understandings along the way. What happened is life altering. It’s been hard to accept that as well as to accept the psychiatrist I loved and in some manner still do is not the person he pretends to be at all. That he continues to lie and gaslight me by not taking responsibility has been the hardest thing to face in the healing process.

But as Kristi has said in her writings here, no matter your feelings please think of not only getting out of the relationship but also about reporting them to their board, the police, or to a sexual assault advocate in your area who can assist you in the reporting options including the option of not reporting.

I hope you read my story. Please feel free to comment and I hope you find my journey helpful for yours. Remember you are strong and courageous even if the therapist is not held accountable. It takes a lot of strength to break the silence.

You can find my story on the Your Stories page or by clicking here.

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Article by Shahida Arabi: “Your Brain on Love, Sex, and the Narcissist: The Addiction to Bonding with Our Abusers”

I want to recommend another interesting and informative article by Shahida Arabi (who wrote What Abuse Survivors Don’t Know: 10 Life-Changing Truths, which I posted a while back):

Your Brain on Love, Sex, and the Narcissist: The Addiction to Bonding with Our Abusers

Many survivors of narcissistic abuse are confounded by the addiction they feel to the narcissist, long after the abusive relationship took a toll on their physical, mental, and emotional well-being. Make no mistake: recovery from an abusive relationship can be very similar to withdrawal from drug addiction due to the biochemical bonds we may develop with our toxic ex-partners.

Understanding why we are addicted permits us recognize that our addiction is not about the merits of the narcissist, but rather the nature and severity of the trauma we’ve experienced.

Read the article in full on her website, Self-Care Haven for Survivors of Abuse and Trauma.

I recommend taking a tour around the site, since she has some great articles and resources there!

 

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Changing my state’s therapist exploitation law

Hello.  I just thought I would share a little bit about the process of changing or trying to get a state to have a criminal law for therapist sexual exploitation.  I hope this information is helpful if you decide to try to advocate for changes to your state law that might be inadequate to address therapist sexual exploitation or if you have ideas on how to strengthen a law.

The first thing I did was contact a state legislator.  Thankfully she had a listening ear.  I explained to her the loopholes in the current law and how those loopholes are preventing people from having the perpetrators held accountable and receiving justice.

Secondly, I informed her there has been some useful court decisions in the past decade that support my position.  I then explained the importance of a language change in the current law that would be helpful to victims by not allowing unscrupulous therapists to exploit the loophole.

Thirdly, when the legislator asked me for more information, I sought that information ought and provided it to her.  It’s important when the legislator asks for more information to try to get that information to them.  If you are not able to find that information, let the legislator know.  They have aides what can research the information too.  Just make sure you keep calling and ask for updates on what the legislator is doing regarding your issue.  They are busy people and it is easy for your issue to be lost in all the things that demand their attention.

Fourthly, she asked me if I knew what others states have done.  I did!  So, I provided some laws from other states that had some helpful language in their laws that might be useful to include in law in my state.

Lastly, these kinds of changes take time, usually years. Be prepared to follow through on your issue over time. She is now reviewing the information and will be in contact with me shortly.  In the meantime, I have identified a few organizations that might be willing to send letters of support once a bill to change this law would be introduced to the legislative body.  I also have a few other survivors of therapist exploitation who are willing to share their stories and how closing this loophole would be helpful in holding perpetrators accountable.  I will keep you updated on the process.

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