I am one of those people who gets very excited about beginnings…until it’s actually time to begin. The anticipation turns into anxiety, and I find myself completely terrified! Kind of like now…
So, yeah, I’ve been stalling a bit. The decision to be public about my experience has not been made lightly. On the one hand, it feels absolutely necessary to be open and talk about what happened to me and bring this issue more into the light. On the other hand, I am exposing the most vulnerable, tender parts of myself to the world. I am fairly certain that there are people in my life who would caution me not to do this. (God forbid I should display anything embarrassing or shameful about myself to anyone else! No, no! Keep silent! Hide it away for safe keeping!…)
But here we are. So. (Deep breath.)
I was exploited and sexually abused by my psychotherapist for about five years, ending in October 2005. Once I got out and began to realize exactly what had happened to me, I filed a civil lawsuit, which settled out of court in early 2007 (with a payment from his insurance company), then filed a licensing complaint with the Board of Psychology, which was finally resolved this year. (He surrendered his license to practice, admitting to the charges and giving up his right to a hearing.) What happened with him wove its ugly little tentacles through pretty much every aspect of my existence during those five years and continues to heavily impact my life for the nearly four years since. I am happy to say that I am healing and recovering, but that has required a lot of work and a lot of time. (And, yea! Let’s hear it for EMDR! ‘Cuz really, nothing much else was working for me… More on EMDR later.) The healing ain’t over yet, and may reach quite some way into the future, which is a real drag. Such is life.
Some people may find it incomprehensible that an adult patient could be “sexually abused” by her therapist — and really, that’s a big part of the problem I face in speaking publicly. Although many other types of abuse, such as clergy abuse, have been exposed and validated within the public eye, therapist abuse and exploitation remains hidden away behind the locked, relatively soundproof doors of the psychotherapy office. I hope to crack that door open a little.