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$600,000 – Psychologist-in-Training Sues Psychoanalyst for Negligence and Abuse

Plaintiff in this case was a 45-year-old therapist-in-training who was married to an attorney. As part of her training, she was required to undergo an analysis of her own. During the course of the analysis, the analyst breached boundaries in multiple ways by reversing the therapist-patient role and seeking the advice of the patient for his problems; by engaging in inappropriate touching of the plaintiff and by not recognizing the extent of the plaintiff’s regression which resulted from the defendant’s inappropriate conduct.

The defense alleged that plaintiff was a sophisticated analyst-in-training and knew exactly what she was doing when she engaged in the inappropriate relationship with the defendant; that plaintiff had a severe preexisting dissociative personality disorder and that the defendant had plaintiff’s best interests at heart.

When the law offices of Winer, Burritt & Scott, LLP, entered the case, the defendant was threatening to sue the plaintiff for breach of contract and defamation and was not offering any money. The law firm was able to establish the fact that the plaintiff was suffering from a severe dissociative disorder resulting from childhood abuse; when she first saw defendant, she was highly functional; that it was the defendant’s duty, not the plaintiff’s, to maintain the appropriate boundaries of psychotherapy and that plaintiff suffered a severe regression during the course of the analysis with the defendant which set back her career and caused extreme psychological distress.

RESULT: Settlement on behalf of plaintiff for $600,000

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