I was the victim of therapist misconduct. The more I learned about this insidious and unconscionable behavior, the more I knew I needed to become a part of the solution.
While there are resources available, they aren’t very easy to find for people searching for help. Victims don’t know to search for terms like “therapist misconduct” or “therapist abuse”. They are more likely to search for terms like “my therapist kissed me”, “my therapist said he’s in love with me”, “sleeping with my therapist”, or “sex with my therapist”.
I have also seen, “my therapist wants me to…” in forums where confused people were looking for advice about whether or not the therapist’s request was okay. I wish I knew how to overcome that obstacle to make help more readily available for people who are hurting.
This issue is poorly understood, ill-treated, and rarely reported. It isn’t hard to figure out why. Someone goes to therapy because they are hurting or have a mental health diagnosis. When the professional who has both a legal and ethical obligation not to harm you, touch you, or violate professional boundaries in any way begins to do so, the result is devastating.
They are the all-powerful therapist. They know everything about you, and you know little about them. You have given them all the information they need to manipulate and hurt you. And they do, despite the legal and ethical imperative that therapy be a safe place for people trying to heal. Words can’t describe how abhorrent and inexcusable it is.
My life will never be the same. It is time to tell the truth and, hopefully, empower others who are being hurt to come forward. The more of us who tell our stories and request justice, the less this type of abuse will happen. The truth needs to be heard, and mental health professionals need to stop washing their hands clean simply because there is so little accountability.
Therapist abuse and misconduct destroys lives.
My therapist, Terry Ganaway, was not even properly licensed to be in private practice in the State of Florida. He is still, from what I can garner, practicing today, September 2013, although he was reported to the State of Florida in late June or early July of 2012.
Terry Ganaway is not alone in his alleged disregard for the law. A number of therapists are practicing illegally and/or harming their clients. It needs to stop.