A Letter

by Anna
(Studio City, CA, USA)



Original Text: A Letter

We have been asked to review a letter from a counselor and write what we think about his story of ethical misconduct. The therapist had a sexual relationship with his client. The counselor starts his letter by saying, “I remember the day all too well. It was the worst day of my professional life.” He said it about the day when his boss confronted him with accusation about non-professional relationship with a client. It seems to me as if the therapist feels sorry for being caught not for what he had done by starting telling his story with above statement. As the result of this the therapist had lost his job, his license, and money. He writes that he deserves it and that he gained himself as a result of this life’s lesson. As a justification for his action he says that he was “vulnerable to needy clients” and “I wanted to rescue and take care of my clients”. In the light of the situation, these statements do not seem convincing of his innocence or makes the reader empathetic toward his situation. This is certainly not the way to rescue your clients. For me the turning point of this letter was when I had read that the therapist said that before the relationship took place he even review ethical guidelines and informed his wife that he is attracted to a client. After reading these lines from his letter, I gave him a guilty verdict. When a person does something wrong compulsively, without thinking about the consequences many can understand and be sympathetic looking at this a mistake. However, it is completely different scenario when a person knows that what he is about do is wrong and still does it. And that is the difference we are looking at. The therapist knew that what he needs to take some ethical action, such as not seeing this client anymore, but he did not do anything to prevent this situation from happening. I had heard many times from practicing therapist that many if not all at one point of their professional career are faced with similar situation. Since the therapist in an authority position and many client struggles with boundaries, it is our job and professional responsibility to prevent situations like this. Even though, the client was a willing participant of the affair, we cannot call it a physical rape but in my eyes it’s an “emotional rape”, which could be more damaging to a person, since body heals faster than the soul does.

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Revised Text:

We have been asked to review a letter from a counselor and write what we think about his story of ethical misconduct. The therapist had a sexual relationship with his client.

The counselor starts his letter by saying, “I remember the day all too well. It was the worst day of my professional life.” He said this about the day when his boss confronted him with an accusation about a non-professional relationship with a client.

It seems to me as if the therapist feels sorry for being caught, not for what he had done, by starting to tell his story with above statement. As a result of the relationship, the therapist lost his job, his license, and money. He writes that he deserved it and that he gained himself as a result of this life’s lesson.

As a justification for his action he says that he was “vulnerable to needy clients” and “I wanted to rescue and take care of my clients”. In light of the situation, these statements do not seem convincing of his innocence or make the reader empathetic toward his situation. This is certainly not the way to rescue your clients.

For me the turning point of this letter was when I read that the therapist said that, before the relationship took place, he even reviewed ethical guidelines and informed his wife that he was attracted to a client. After reading these lines from his letter, I gave him a guilty verdict.

When a person does something wrong compulsively, without thinking about the consequences, many can understand and be sympathetic looking at this as a mistake. However, it is a completely different scenario when a person knows that what he is about do is wrong and still does it. That is the difference we are looking at. The therapist knew that he needed to take some ethical action, such as not seeing this client anymore, but he did not do anything to prevent this situation from happening.

I had heard many times from practicing therapists that many, if not all, at one point in their professional careers are faced with a similar situation. Since the therapist is in an authority position, and many clients struggle with boundaries, it is our job and professional responsibility to prevent situations like this. Since the client was a willing participant in the affair, we cannot call it a physical rape but in my eyes it’s an “emotional rape”, which could be more damaging to a person, since the body heals faster than the soul does.

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