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Psychotherapy and Mental Health Questions

Abusive Therapist

I probably shouldn't ask...this is an old issue, but I can't get past it. Two years ago...started seeing a therapist. He seemed very kind and helpful. In early spring, 99, I started having "those feelings." At 44 then, I was old enough to know better, but I did it. He's divorced. I initiated things by asking if I could ever see him socially. Yes, I know that's not allowed. But he changed. He started calling me at home and work. He had me join a psychological Bible study he was forming. Through the summer and fall, he was VERY friendly and attentive, calling often several times a day. Because of this, all traces of my ongoing depression disappeared, and I floated through the summer and fall being very happy. Just before Christmas last year, he took me out for a very informal supper after a session with him. Then he came to my house. He came several times...and sex was involved. He gave me $100 for Christmas. He said things like he wished I wouldn't see any other men...that he hoped to stay all night sometimes, that he felt he could come by any time. Then in January...it stopped. After a couple of weeks, I confronted him. He replied then, "Nothing has changed." Obviously, it had. He dropped by once in February on a Saturday...but that was the last time. His calls continued through the winter but tapered off...to none by early summer. My problem is that no matter how much I KNOW I have to get past this, I can't. I shouldn't go to him any more but do...feel a need to hold on even though I have accepted that nothing will ever be between us. It's as if he won't get out of my mind. He charges very little..and I have limited insurance. I can't afford to see anybody else until the first of the year...and don't really want to. A couple of weeks ago...I'd been drinking...I called and told him how this is making me crazy. I had to. He said very curtly that January was a LONG time ago...and then went on to imply...I think...that I am delusional and implied that maybe I imagined the whole thing. I know I have depression, but I am not delusional. I work full time, own my own house, and run my own life as capably as most people I know. I know what I'm doing and what does and doesn't happen. The implication was infuriating. I just don't have the guts to say so. I know I shouldn't go back. Lately, he gets me out of there in about 20 minutes. Yet...he insists on having my medication changed...says I need it. I went in last week with every intention of saying I wouldn't be back, but I couldn't do it. I've been told I should turn him in, but I have no desire to do that. I suppose he's done this before...he just doesn't look the type. I don't feel vindictive. I know other people who think very highly of them, people he helps. I just want him not to matter at all.



  • Dr. Dombeck responds to questions about psychotherapy and mental health problems, from the perspective of his training in clinical psychology.
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