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SEABHS
611 W. Union Street
Benson, AZ 85602
(520) 586-0800

NurseWise 24-Hr Crisis Line
1-866-495-6735

NAZCARE Warm Line
1-888-404-5530


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Ask Dr. DombeckAsk Dr. Dombeck:
Psychotherapy and Mental Health Questions

Abusive Therapist

Thu, Aug 31st 2000

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.

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Disclaimer

  • Dr. Dombeck responds to questions about psychotherapy and mental health problems, from the perspective of his training in clinical psychology.
  • Dr. Dombeck intends his responses to provide general educational information to the readership of this website; answers should not be understood to be specific advice intended for any particular individual(s).
  • Questions submitted to this column are not guaranteed to receive responses.
  • No correspondence takes place.
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  • Always consult with your psychotherapist, physician, or psychiatrist first before changing any aspect of your treatment regimen. Do not stop your medication or change the dose of your medication without first consulting with your physician.