We trust licensed professionals, such as therapists, to help us and get us through difficult times. We should be able to trust our therapists, but sometimes they take advantage of their position by engaging in sexual abuse.
Deciding to see a therapist is a great decision if you are struggling with mental health issues. However, sexual behavior, comments or contact should never be a part of any therapy session.
Sexual abuse by a therapist can come in many forms, from inappropriate sexual comments to outright sexual assault. As you cope with the aftermath of sexual abuse by a therapist, you may feel a wide range of conflicting and difficult emotions.
Guilt or mixed feelings
The sexual abuse is not your fault, but you could feel guilty or responsible for the abuse. You may even have mixed feelings about your therapist, especially if you have been seeing them for a long time and thought you had a mutual relationship based on trust and respect.
Feelings of loneliness or emptiness are also normal. Your therapist might have been the only person in your life you thought you could depend on and now that has been taken from you.
Trust issues and fear
You may also find it difficult or impossible to trust anyone in a position of authority ever again.
Fear is another common emotion experienced by victims of sexual abuse by a therapist. The thought of coming forward and telling someone about the abuse can be extremely frightening.
In addition to worrying about not being believed, the fear of retaliation or threats from your therapist could cause you to stay quiet.
Mental health struggles
All these negative emotions can result in anxiety, depression or suicidal thoughts, as with people experiencing post-traumatic stress disorder.
However, you do have options. You can pursue a legal claim against your therapist or report them to the state licensing board. These steps can help you on your path to healing.