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Did she cross the boundaries between therapist and friend?

This topic contains 11 replies, has 2 voices, and was last updated by Daniel Daniel 3 months ago.

Did she cross the boundaries between therapist and friend?

  • Renee

    Here goes… I went to an ED residential place for about 3 days then I went to an IOP ED at the same place. Well, I met a woman there who was a therapist. However, she was not my therapist. We become friends. She would text, call me we would meet for coffee, she told me to not say anything to anyone at the IOP because I was still in treatment.. then one night I went to her house and I was anxious so I SH in front of her then she made sexual advances towards me. I don’t know if it was sexual abuse because I didn’t say no.. I have abandonment issues and I didn’t want to lose her as a friend so I stayed… she knew all of this and about my past abuse.. I really didn’t like being her friend and we could talk about things so openly. I told my therapist about it and she wants me to report her to her place of work.. This all happened while I was in treatment for ED and in trauma therapy… Did she cross the boundaries as a therapist even if she was not mine?


    So, that sucks sorry your having to deal with it.

    So looking at all of this in small pieces, its a really bad idea for her to have a private relationship with someone in treatment at her facility, usually rules exist about how long you have to wait after clinician/patient relationship before you can have just friendship much less something sexual.

    Whether its abuse or not, it’s not appropriate and this is why! Does she have any roll in your program? What I mean is does she work in the same building or work on the same unit? If she just happens to work for the same company its not as bad as if she has anything to do with your treatment. Does she lead groups you are in, that kind of thing?

    Just because you did not say no, doesn’t mean you said yes if she has any authority/power over you/your treatment it is probably nearly impossible to give consent anyway because of the power imbalance.

    The last question is how do you feel about it? Is she really someone you want to be friends with? What boundaries do you need?

    My personal opinion is even if it did not violate a legal obligation, it was very inappropriate to develop a relationship like that with someone she had clinical contact with, that is a big, big violation of trust. Part of what makes therapy and inpatient, IOP type stuff work is knowing that you can open up and be honest, it sort of breaks that if you have a secret friendship/relationship, it’s not fair to you, because it will make it harder for you to get what you need in treatment.

    Hope some of that makes sense?


    Thanks answering back… Well, I was only at the residential place for 3 days. Then I went to IOP where she was not doing groups. She did come every so often to drop off other clients.. she would text me all day while I was in treatment and making sure I would not tell anyone.. just weird now that I am looking back on it..

    She did all of the sexual things to me while I was in treatment early on… then we kept talking because I didn’t want to lose her and I was so confused.. I think she used me for what she wanted at the time… I kept it all silent until I couldn’t any longer and told my therapist. She was so pissed, really mad and said that I was sexually abused by her and that my consent did not really matter because I was not in the right mind frame at the time and plus I just cut…

    I really wanted to stay friends with her but and not do anything sexual. I am married and I love my husband.. however, once I her that we could only be friends and once I got out of treatment she then told me that she needed to work on her marriage…. I was broken… I feel used.. I have been abused before, but, this hurt almost just as bad because she knew all of this and still made me untrust people.

    I am just sad and mad that she would do that to me. Mad at myself for not seeing the signs…

    Thanks again…


    That really sucks, I will try to respond again a little longer, but that really sounds horrible. So you know my background, I am a nurse, I have worked inpatient units and I agree with your therapist, that sounds like predatory behavior to me. It sounds to me like she used her role as a therapist to treat the facility like a dating pool. That’s not OK on so many, many levels. If I worked with someone who did this, I would report them before my shift was over.

    I know it doesn’t help to say, “don’t be mad at yourself”, but don’t be mad at yourself. A clinical environment like that is supposed to be a safe place for you to trust people and work on yourself, it doesn’t work if the relationship gets twisted.

    Remember you don’t have an obligation to protect her, she knew the relationship was wrong otherwise she wouldn’t have kept telling you not to tell people. All you need to do is protect yourself, if you can report the event without making things worse for you, that’s great. I’m not a big fan of trying to guilt people into reporting abuse, that sucks, but if you can reports it and be OK do you think you might feel better?


    Thank you for sharing your thoughts. I just saw my email that you wrote back. I guess it went to my junk folder… ugh…. anyways, I really appreciate all you had to say… I really think I am going to report her once my therapist gets back from her maternity leave…

    I am seeing a new therapist right now that knows my therapist that is out, but I am not talking much because I don’t trust her yet… This women has caused me to really not trust people all over again…

    I don it think it will make me feel better if or when I turn her in… I am trying to have closure on the whole thing and think of it as a learning experience because I can not change what has happened to me… But I do not ever want to go through something like this ever again….

    Thanks again…..


    Sounds like you have a plan to move forward. Good luck with the new therapist, that is really hard e an without your recent experience.


    My husband thinks I should just forget the whole thing ever happened. He wanted me to turn her in at first but now he doesn’t.. He just wants me to try to forget it all happened.. Of course, he is having issues about the whole thing as well.
    So I really don’t know what I am going to do…

    Thanks.. I really do not like the new therapist, but I only have 5 more weeks of her then mine will be back… trying to make it until she comes back… SH urges are super high this past week.. I hate this too….


    Turning her in or not is up to you, your experience is what matters. You also don’t have to do it immediately. It’s really up to you and what you think is best for you and your recovery.

    Five weeks is a long time, SH is hard, how are your coping skills? Do you have people you can call?

    I am waiting to get back in with my psychologist, I can’t wait.


    True… I really do not know if it will help me with my recovery or not. Just so hurt and sad by her….

    Yeah, 5 weeks is so long… I was able to email her today though and it felt good. Probably won’t hear back from her but I know she got it.. My coping skills are better- doing tons of painting, drawing,journaling, some exercise, text a few friends that I know are her for me… lately, painting has been my new thing… love it… ready for the summer and my kids and I will swim all day long… that will help too…
    I use to use alcohol as my bad coping skill, which I was an alcoholic. It’s been a year since my last drink… I am so trying to do better…

    How are you doing? I hope good.

    Thanks for your help…


    Even one-directional communication can be nice, glad you are feeling better. Sounds like you have some good coping skills, it’s nice to have folks you can reach out to.

    I have used the crisis text line thing before, it was nice to not have to worry about putting too much on friends. I bet you have already heard of it but just in case, 741741 I really really liked using it, seriously helped me wait out SH a few times and avoid taking a drink too.

    Painting sounds great, I have been trying to draw, and have even been using the adult coloring books! They seem so silly but I have liked them too. I love swimming, that sounds nice, I was a lifeguard/swim team in HS and can’t help but think of summer when I smell chlorine.

    Way to go being dry for a year, that’s amazing, and such hard work. It sounds like you are doing more than trying to do better, it sounds like you ARE doing better.

    I am alright, not great but alright. I am hoping to be able to see my old psychologist soon, and have an appointment with a psychiatrist for a med evaluation so that’s good. I’m in grad school and am having a lot of trouble right now, I started new meds and I am having trouble concentrating/thinking, but its still better than where I was without the meds, SH/SI and engaging in lots of ED stuff. I am afraid I am going to fail a class, but at least I am safe, so I guess I will just focus on that.


    Glad you are ok… sorry you are struggling with classes and things… I will put you in my prayers. You are welcome to vent to me anytime. My email is if you would rather email privately is ok…

    Thanks for letting me know about the hotline… Can you tell me more about it? Can you just talk to them? I really do not tell my friends that much because most of them do not understand what I am going through. Most of them just do not get it… My own husband do not get it that much either. I really think he needs to go and see a therapist himself. He is so mad at her and upset with me because he thinks I let her do things to me… He makes jokes about if I am bisexual or not… I have never been with a girl before – ever… So I know I am only interested in my husband… ugh

    I was doing the adult coloring books at first. They are fun… I have two or three that I have not used if you want them?? Or maybe later on… I draw out my feelings and paint how I feel for therapy… so it has helped me so much because it’s hard to talk to this therapist about all my abuse from my past….

    Just know I am here for ya…
    Thanks again…


    Thanks, so its a crisis line and its all texting, so the nice thing is even when you’re around other people, who don’t know or you don’t want to know whats going on you can text the line and talk to someone. Basically, you can just tell them whatever is going on then ask about coping skills and stuff, but mostly its just nice to be able to tell someone whats happening. I have used them before for SH and just texted them when I was tempted and we chatted for a while till the urge passed. It sounds kinda stupid, but I really liked it, it helped a lot when I was with people but couldn’t share what I was going through.

    Your husband probably could use a therapist, but I think most people would be well served talking to someone sometimes. It sounds hard that he is having trouble with what happened, its good you could tell him everything though, that must have been really hard.

    I am pretty sure I just failed a class, I was having a minor freak out over it, but I think I am alright.

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