What Is The Therapeutic Container?
Boundary violations in therapy may refer to the breach of the “therapeutic container” or breach of professional boundaries. In psychotherapy, the therapist is supposed to maintain certain boundaries to properly practice therapy on the patient and maintain a purely professional relationship. All issues discussed and addressed in therapy sessions should be those that the patient brings. The therapist should sit at a reasonable distance from the patient so as not to imply any sort of special treatment, and the session should end with no physical contact besides a handshake or, only in clearly nonsexual situations, a hug. No business, social, work, employment, personal relationship or romantic relationship should ever take place between the therapist and the patient.
Winer, McKenna & Burritt, LLP, is a team of lawyers experienced in cases involving boundary violations in therapist abuse cases. Call us at (510) 433-1000 for a free consultation.
Violating The Therapeutic Container And Breaching Boundaries
Breaking the therapeutic container and appropriate boundaries is therapist malpractice, under which circumstances patient abuse may easily occur. When the therapy does not remain focused on the patient and his or her problems at all times, problems surface. The therapist should not discuss any personal information or engage in any type of business, sexual, social or personal relationship with a patient other than the professional relationship created through psychotherapy sessions.
A therapist with poor boundary or impulse control is just as impaired as a patient with poor controls. He or she should not be practicing psychotherapy.
Patient Vulnerability To Boundary Violations
Standard methods used in psychotherapy place patients in very vulnerable situations. For a number of reasons, certain patients may seek quick, intense and frequently unhealthy attachments as adults if they had poor attachments to parents or significant others in the past. Attachments in adulthood may become self-destructive, creating a poor sense of boundaries and leaving the patient vulnerable to exploitation by a therapist who has placed him or herself in a position of authority in relation to the patient.
Sexual, verbal, physical or drug abuse may result under such circumstances and similar circumstances, especially when a therapist has poor impulse control and a poor sense of professional boundaries.
The breakdown of boundaries is a slippery slope that is difficult to recover from. It causes dysfunctional, harmful, destructive and sometimes life-threatening relationships to ensue, and therapy sessions become polluted. If any of this sounds familiar, you should consult with an experienced attorney as soon as possible. You may be able to seek compensation for the abusive relationship that you have endured and from which you’ve suffered.
Call Winer, McKenna & Burritt, LLP, To Consult With An Experienced Oakland Therapist Malpractice Lawyer
Contact us at (510) 433-1000 to schedule a free initial consultation with a lawyer in San Francisco, Oakland or the Los Angeles area. We represent clients throughout California, and we advance the finances of the cases we take on. All of our lawyers work on a contingency fee basis only, which means we don’t get paid until you get paid.