Therapist Sexual Assault Cases
I’m Ed Smith, a Sacramento sexual assault lawyer. Within the medical community, there are very few areas where the patient is still the focus of stigma. Unfortunately, this continues to be the case for people who struggle with psychiatric disorders. This is why these patients should be praised for seeking the professional help from a therapist that they need. This is also what makes an abuse of power in this scenario particularly heinous. Many patients who are struggling to process an internal struggle are vulnerable to being taken advantage of. This is what happens in cases of sexual abuse perpetrated by therapists against their patients. This is why everyone who is either personally involved or has a loved one involved in a potential case of sexual assault by a therapist should know what to look for.
Strict Laws Governing Sexual Relationships Between Therapists and Patients in California
In the state of California, there are strict laws in place that dictate the relationship between the therapist and their patients. Most importantly, these laws prohibit sexual contact of any kind between patients and their therapist. This is because the law understands that patients are in a vulnerable state, especially when meeting with their therapist, and may not be able to make rational decisions. Therefore, even if the patient consents to a sexual activity with their therapist, this still constitutes sexual abuse which is different from medical malpractice.
Common Signs of Sexual Abuse by a Therapist
If a loved one suspects that their family member or friend may have been a victim of sexual assault by their therapist, there are several signs that they should look for.
Depression: Depression is a common comorbidity that can manifest with sexual abuse. In this scenario, the depression may be particularly bad. The patient has placed a certain degree of trust in their therapist by attending the sessions. This trust was violated by the therapist. This could spark a downward spiral of emotions that could be particularly severe.
Anxiety: Many patients who have been victims of sexual assault will develop an anxiety disorder, a common sign of PTSD. Family members and friends may notice that the patient is constantly looking over their shoulder, unable to sit still, or constantly nervous. Watch for these symptoms because they could indicate an issue with their therapist.
Reluctance to Return to Therapy: This is the biggest red flag that people should look for. If someone doesn’t want to return to therapy, it is always important to ask why. The patient may be reluctant to share this information; however, reassure the patient that it is okay to share. Ask why they don’t want to attend therapy anymore. This could help them open up.
Contact an Experienced Sexual Abuse Lawyer
I’m Ed Smith, a Sacramento therapist sexual assault lawyer. Sexual abuse from a therapist constitutes a serious abuse of power. Anyone with questions should call me at (916) 921-6400 for free, friendly advice. I also have a toll-free number at (800) 404-5400.
I’m a part of the California Million Dollar Advocates Forum. We are a collection of some of the top trial lawyers in the country. Members of this group have won one million and multiple million-dollar verdicts and settlements in past cases.
Some of my results are available here: prior verdicts and settlements.
Image Credit: Jiri Hodan – Wikimedia Commons