Psychological Legal Abuse –
When Your Psychotherapy Is the Victim

Dr. King


by Dr. Jeanne King, Ph.D.


We all know that when we see a victim of domestic abuse, there are other people impacted by this person’s victimization. Some are affected directly, some indirectly, some intentionally and some inadvertently.

Now if you’ve read my writings, you know I address the impact of intimate partner violence on survivors, on children, on batterers in divorce, and on the healthcare providers employed.

Come with me and let’s look closer at the impact of this dynamic on your therapy. Let’s say you and your partner are ordered by the court to receive individual counseling. Or, you initiate your individual therapy on your own choosing.

The Impact of Legal Domestic Abuse on Your Therapy

If your opposition wishes to allege that you are unfit mentally or in some other capacity as part of a custody campaign, then your therapy is at risk. Here’s how...

There may be a knock on the doors of your privileged communication. This may come directly from the court or from a court agent.

There could be a solicitous phone call from a court-appointed evaluator, guardian ad lidim, or other legal representative that alleges neutrality. (Notice I said “alleges.”) If there is indeed a bias toward your opposition, this phone call will be a fishing expedition.

Now if your therapist is willing to play ball with the “good old boys,” you keep your therapist and lose the authenticity of your therapy. And you probably don’t progress therapeutically.

If, on the other hand, your therapist is unwilling to cooperate—collaborate—with these intruders, then this mental healthcare provider could be the next victim. The therapist’s unwillingness to give your opposition what it wants could net him/her a good dose of harassment wherein the therapist’s professionalism is threatened.

In this case, with the psychologist insisting on maintaining proper professional ethics, expect him/her to politely exit from your case and you to wonder why. You lose your therapist and the momentum you have in your therapy. This blow is so significant for domestic abuse survivors that some never return to psychotherapy.

Protect Your Therapy from Legal Abuse Victimization

If you are a domestic abuse survivor, you will want a psychologist outside of the circle of players in your divorce. And if you chose one that is in the immediate network, make sure to take the proper precautions to help prevent your therapy from becoming compromised by domestic abuse when custody is before the court.

By doing so, you will avert the potential for another betrayal. And you will continue to heal and grow in your therapy.

For more resources helping domestic abuse survivors, visit http://www.EndDomesticAbuse/ebooks.php, and get Free Instant Access to your survivor success eInsights. Copyright 2009 Jeanne King, Ph.D.

Dr. Jeanne King, Ph.D. – Domestic Violence Prevention and Intervention

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Dr. Jeanne King is a licensed psychologist and domestic abuse consultant. Feel free to contact us if you need help with physical and/or emotional pain, stress-related illnesses, or relationship abuse issues at home or in court. Contact Us to reach Dr. King.