December 5, 2022
What started as therapy turned into obsession and betrayal. A mother of 4 explains how her therapist manipulated her into thinking she was in love with him. She describes to Geth how he blurred the lines of their relationship with 8 hour sessions and drunken, late night voicemails. She also shares what happened after she reported him to the police and what investigators found when they showed up to his office.
348 — Fell In Love With My Therapist
Chris [00:00:05] Hello to everybody out there who finds the organization that’s ready to step up and help. This is Beautiful/ Anonymous. One hour, one phone call. No names, no holds barred. Hi, everybody. Chris Gethard here. Before we start, I want to say thanks to everybody who came to our live tapings in Durham and Asheville, North Carolina. Got more shows coming up. Tri state area. December 11th I’m doing New Jersey Is the World live at House of Independence in Asbury Park. That’s a holiday show. December 16th, Brooklyn, New York. Littlefield. I’m doing a full hour standup. ChrisGeth.com for links to all of those. This week’s episode, everybody, it’s I don’t want to be hyperbolic. I think it’s one of the toughest what we’ve ever done, though. At least in a very long time. I get mad. I’ve I want to put out there first of all, real talk of of grooming and inappropriate power dynamics and makes me angry. I also want to put out there, you know, if anybody has seen my old HBO special, Career Suicide, you know, I have a shrink who plays a little fast and loose with the rules sometimes, and I have a lot of love for her. But I want to say, she prescribes to ethics. She prescribes to standards in her industry. She skirts the line. I’ve made jokes about it. I am a comedian. That’s my job. This is why that story has a dark side. This is why some people in my life, I had a friend who is a therapist who is like, Are you sure? Your doctor, what’s going on there? And I had to say, no, I’m- look… Really listen to what I’m saying and understand that she knows ethics and where the lines are. This person didn’t. This caller dealt with a doctor who ignored those lines or manipulated those lines. And you’re going to hear how dangerous that gets. You can hear how mad I get. It’s going to make you mad, too. I have a feeling that people are going to respond in a real big way to this one. And I have to say, I feel like we’ve been back on this hot streak with this show. I mean, this show’s consistency for seven years, I stand by it. I’ll put it up against any other show with consistency. But the past few months we’ve just been hitting some real home runs and a lot of them have been on the comedic side of things. This one, I think… Not comedic at all. It’s a home run in its own way and I really hope if there’s other people out there who who need help or who find themselves in a questionable relationship like this, that this might be a wake up call.
Voicemail Robot [00:02:49] Thank you for calling. Beautiful Anonymous. A beeping noise will indicate when you are on the show with the host.
Caller [00:02:56] Hello?
Chris [00:02:57] Hi.
Caller [00:02:58] Is that you? Hi!
Chris [00:02:59] Yeah, it’s me.
Caller [00:03:01] This is the first time I’ve ever tried to call. I. I wanted to call other times during this strange experience that I’ve been going through, but I held back because I didn’t know where it was going. And now I can’t believe you’re here. Hi.
Chris [00:03:22] Hi. Well, I’m very intrigued by that.
Caller [00:03:27] Oh, okay. Wow. Okay. Um hi. Okay. I just have to figure out where to start, I guess. Um. Well, I. I um let’s see. I. I wanted to call you because I’ve been going through a really intense experience that started a year ago tomorrow, and it’s been incredibly difficult for me to process the whole thing because it’s had many stages. But basically, I. I grew up in upstate New York, and I had a traumatic childhood. And then I had two children quite young. I have four children altogether. And I. I decided when I was about 24, I moved overseas to Australia with my first two children with a new partner. It doesn’t really matter, but they’re dad and I had a not a very good situation. And I moved over there and I was there for 20 years and had a whole life there. And two more children and a blended family. It’s all a whole other story really, that we don’t have time to get into. But and then about I’d say about two years ago, I was presented with the opportunity to come back here and live. And so I came back with my youngest child, who’s ten, and moved back here with his dad and I and my son. And, and then I started to face a lot of old, you know, just old ghosts and stories that I wasn’t really prepared to deal with. So I decided to seek out a therapist. And so last November or actually September, I was just online on Psychology Today and I was kind of scrolling through and I saw someone who seemed interesting and I sent him a message and he called me back and we decided to make an appointment. And my first appointment was in November and um so pretty quickly boundaries were blurred. And what I understand now that happened is that I was experiencing what’s called transference. And well, basically… Yeah, I think… I fell in love with him and um, like, really intensely in love with him. And I didn’t really know that for for a while because I was experiencing this feeling that with um like I couldn’t define it. It was as if I was, I don’t know. I felt really high all the time and I couldn’t figure out how to calm myself down. And one time he said he was going to call me and that I didn’t have to speak. And he said to me that what he thought had happened was that I had fallen in love with him, but that that was something that we couldn’t consummate, but that I could tell him how I would want to make love to him and that that would be okay. And then I hung up the phone.
Chris [00:08:29] Whoa.
Caller [00:08:29] So that was a yeah, that was, yes, I know. That was probably about three weeks after I met him. And I certainly had a feeling that I understood that something was off. But at the same time, there was something happening in me that… It was so strange. It was as if I couldn’t. I couldn’t break away from the contact, if that makes any sense at all. I don’t know. And because there was so much contact in between sessions. And the contact in between sessions was usually in the form of text messaging. And it was very his language was very poetic and unusual and I was very moved by it. So even though I felt some- like my body was feeling confused, you know, like I was feeling this kind of almost like eerie feeling. I oftentimes think about the story of Little Red Riding Hood in the Big Bad Wolf because it has that story has like a resemblance. It really resonates. And so…
Chris [00:10:21] In what way? I have to ask, in which aspects of Little Red Riding Hood do you see in the story?
Caller [00:10:32] I think she was scared. You know, I think she was there there was a part of her that was scared, but the wolf was so, so good at what he did that it worked, you know? And that’s that’s what resonates in me. You know, that feeling when you read that story and… It’s so creepy and weird, and you know something’s wrong, but she still goes. And um yeah. So tell me if you have any questions at this point. But yeah, it’s it’s a lot, it’s a process. It kind of um it got very intense and um like there was even a point like in the in the messaging where, you know, he would talk about how we had like he’d paint pictures in my mind. And it was I was always so curious to understand these pictures. Like, I was wondering, like, am I reading these messages correctly? Or is this, is, is this person just totally out there and I’m not understanding it? Or am I reading this as this person is having feelings for me? And it was it was so confusing and so overwhelming, like I’d never felt these, these feelings before. I’d never felt such intense feelings. And it was just so strange because I didn’t know this person like that. There was no. You know, I guess… From everything that I’ve learned now, I understand that the relationship between a therapist and a client is much like that of a child and their parent. And so when a person experiences this kind of abuse- and it took me a long time to understand that that’s what was happening- it is it’s the type of abuse that’s kind of on par with incest because you’ve given your trust over to someone with a lot of power and that power dynamic creates um yeah a situation where the therapist has so much control due to the vulnerability of the client.
Chris [00:13:44] I just want to say too, if I may.
Caller [00:13:48] Yes.
Chris [00:13:49] I just want to say I’ve heard of transference before, this idea of a patient who develops feelings for a therapist or whoever, you know, whichever form of therapy they’re seeking, whether that’s a licensed clinical social worker or a nurse practitioner or psychologist or psychiatrist, however you want to phrase it. And there’s a few things I want to put out there, which is one, for anybody listening who’s who’s not, you know, partaking in the world of mental health, there’s a lot of ethical guidelines that go into getting licensed to perform that work. Every, anyone who would be licensed to perform this work knows about this and knows that- because especially if you get people, you know, we can all just imagine, it doesn’t take a logic leap to realize maybe someone who’s been in relationships where they feel completely un listened to or where there’s been some abuse, and now has this person who’s listening to them and who they’re opening up to and getting vulnerable with. Well, those feelings might be really intense. It’s not hard to imagine the intensity of that might be really extreme for someone who’s had to live with their guard up or who feels completely blocked out or un listened to. Point being, anyone licensed in this knows that this is a thing that can happen. And I just want to point out for any of our listeners, when your therapist steps in and goes, Hey, so I have a feeling this is going on and it’s not it’s not a- can’t consummate that, this all sounds good. To then have that person take that momentum and judo flip it into, But if you want to basically turn this into phone sex, which is what it sounds like, although it may have been in person, I’m not sure if it was- I’m not sure if you specified. I don’t remember. But to basically say, Or you could tell me your fantasies. Well, now we’ve just created a whole world of pain, haven’t we? Because this person has effectively said, Hey, you’re doing something wrong, but what you can do is this other thing, which is in, in a lot of ways even more sinister than the idea that a doctor might sleep with a patient. Not that that’s okay either, but it’s basically saying, you did something wrong here, but the way we’re going to react to it is this. So it’s really sinister what was pulled here. And, you know, longtime listeners of this show might know that there was a stretch where it was like, oh, Chris is doing therapy. And my my shrink heard the show and was like, no, no, no, no, no, no, no. You’re not trained in that. There’s all sorts of standards in that. You’re a guy who talks to people on the phone. You can’t give advice, you can’t give therapy. That’s not what you’re trained to do. So I’m well aware there’s ethics that were violated here in a big way, in a way that is deceptively sinister. And I want to underline and let you know that I see that. We’re gonna pause here because I’m already mad. If you’ve been listening to this show for a while, you can tell sometimes I’m at my most mad when I’m not even expressing how mad I am. And that’s where I’m getting to. And I’m- everybody buckle up. It only gets more intense. We’ll be right back. Thanks to all the advertisers who help us bring this show to the world. Now, let’s get back to the phone call. So I’m well aware there’s ethics that were violated here in a big way, In a way that is deceptively sinister. And I want to underline and let you know that I see that and um.
Caller [00:17:33] Oh thank you.
Chris [00:17:34] Yeah.
Caller [00:17:36] Yeah, thank you for saying that. It’s that’s just, you know, a very I’m just going to keep looking at the time so I make sure I tell you as much of the story as I can.
Chris [00:17:46] Yeah, we’ve got 45 minutes left, but I just want you to know I’m on your side and I, I see how insidious that is.
Caller [00:17:56] Yeah. Thank you. It’s been very hard for me because… I… I have, at the beginning, when I started to be able to talk about it, I was so embarrassed and so ashamed because my behavior in this, I you know, I’m still dealing with this. I’m in therapy two days a week with a new therapist, and I’m learning how to to not to understand that this was not my fault. And it’s it’s hard for me to tell this story because, you know, it became like, you know, there were dynamics happening where I, you know, became very clingy and um… Yeah, it’s tough. It’s hard to talk about. We did meet in person, so we, we met in person every week. And um there was like the first chapter of it, which I kind of put in between November and February is where I feel like there was um his form of uh what’s it called? Like when you give and take? It was like intermittent reinforcement where he gave me all this attention and, you know, poetic messages in between. He was calling a lot, and sometimes very late at night. He’d be drunk.
Chris [00:20:08] Oh, boy.
Caller [00:20:09] And. Yeah. Yeah.
Chris [00:20:12] Can I ask some clarifying questions here?
Caller [00:20:14] Yeah.
Chris [00:20:17] You had mentioned when he first said, you could tell me your fantasies about me, I believe you said you hung up the phone. So it sounds like that was initially a phone call. So at that point, you know, you hung up the phone. You realized something was off there. It sounds like, if I’m piecing it together, you did continue to see him as a therapist. But it also it blew up into this thing where that was not appropriate. And it also was leading to late night phone calls and and inappropriate behavior after that. So initially, when you said you hung up the phone, I thought, ooh, that shattered your trust in him. That’s what we’re going to talk about. But it sounds like this extended for a while after that revelation.
Caller [00:20:55] Oh, yeah. 11 months it went on for.
Chris [00:20:59] Oof.
Caller [00:21:00] I. Yeah. So before that phone call, those feelings that was having, I couldn’t define them. So that phone call kind of put it in my head that what I was feeling was, was love. And, and this happened quite a bit with him where there would be a lot of conversation or text messaging where it just created in me my sexual fantasies, my loving feelings became focused on him. And I know now that he did that to me on purpose, but I didn’t know it then. And I thought from learning about him because he disclosed a lot of personal information about his life um I thought that I’d found this troubled, super intelligent, strange person, which is what I am also. I mean, I don’t know. I shouldn’t say I’m super intelligent, but we had similar interests and we had similar interests in literature and music. And so there was all this stuff going on that felt like it was magical. And then at the same time, there was a part of me that was so confused, just like, what is going on here? And so there was a point where I would say things like, This isn’t therapy. I can’t pay for this. This is… Something else is going on. But then, you know, he’d always say, okay, well, we need to stop contact. And then he’d stop contact and be silent for a few days. And then I’d miss him and then I’d initiate contact, and then he’d come back with this very, you know, very much in touch with me throughout every day, calling in the night, which created more confusion in me because I was like, okay, I’ve talked about that. But yet he’s still behaving that way. But then in my mind, I was like, but I initiated the contact, so it’s my fault. And he would often say things like, Ooh, you’ve you’ve given me a hook. It’s like you’re you’re hooking me in and you’re reeling me in. So I understand now that that was like almost like a reverse psychology. Like he was turning things around.
Chris [00:23:56] Absolutely.
Caller [00:23:56] So that I felt like this whole situation was my doing. So I was constantly, I mean, it was just it was that was going on for for a long time and um and I thought, you know, I’ve got 83 voicemails from him where he’s just- some of them were just so beautiful and some of them were just so absurd. And, you know, I just I yeah, I had this crazy kind of obsession. And he never, ever dealt with it properly. And yeah, he would say, you know, we always say, you know, the the best way for us to deal with this is inside a therapeutic framework so that there are boundaries in place. Yet in between sessions there is all this contact. So I’m completely confused and I became, I mean, my I feel like my entire identity went out the window. You know, I was just… All I thought about was this situation. And then my appointments got moved to Fridays and… at 8:30 p.m..
Chris [00:25:26] That’s a strange time for therapy.
Caller [00:25:31] Yeah. And then they’d start to last, you know, a couple of hours, and then they start lasting four hours. And a couple of times, even 8 hours. So he introduced alcohol, I think at the fifth, fifth session, he gave me some whiskey. And so then these appointments started to feel kind of like we were hanging out and drinking together and listening to records. And he’d feed me. Um. And he knew how I felt about him. So it was very flirtatious and… You know, he’d look at me in ways that I really felt like there is something going on here and um… Yeah, I it, it’s hard for me to talk about how we became physical together or how things became physical. It wasn’t… It’s very humiliating. And once again, it it has that that story similar to what I was saying about me making the initial contact and then him coming in really strong, you know, as a response. It was like that. It was like I would- I don’t know how to say it, but like, you know, I’d want to get close to him and then he would allow that, but then not… Like not responding in the way that one normally would. So it was so humiliating for me because he would allow me to… He would allow me to sit on his lap and and facing him and get really close to him. But he wouldn’t um- am I allowed to say all this on here?
Chris [00:27:59] Listen. You’re allowed to say whatever you want to say on this show. Okay? And the only thing I’m gonna promise you is this is that you will never be judged here. And there’s there’s only one thing. There’s one thing you said since, since you threw it to me. Because I can feel you getting nervous. But I just want to say… Couple of things. First of all, again, I’m no trained therapist. What I can lend you is a lot of sympathy and an open ear and a promise that there’s a lot of people who are going to listen to this someday who are on your side. And I also want to say this, too. You said, you used the word, you said it’s humiliating to talk about how it got physical. And now you’re talking about, like, how it would hit a point where you’d make moves and you’d, you know, you’d be sounds like straddling this guy, and then he’s sitting here going, Well, it’s a therapeutic thing, even though he’s feeding you whiskey and listening to records 6 hours into a therapy session. It’s totally inappropriate behavior. And I just want to say… And oh, this happens every once in a while on the show, but I just want to say, the only thing I’m going to disagree with you about is that word humiliating. Because there’s nothing humiliating about being a victim. And that’s what you were. This person was trained backwards and forwards about the fact that situations like this can occur. Any therapist is. I know enough about therapy from being in therapy to know that every person who’s given a license to do this is walked through the steps of how this might lead to an infatuation or, you know, close to what a lot of us might call, like a parasocial relationship with a celebrity these days. Things where you really feel like you know somebody. This person was trained to know you were vulnerable in this way and this person was given skills, tools, methodologies, backwards and forwards on how to deal with this. And instead is talking with you for 8 hours and feeding you whiskey and putting on records. I had an HBO special that was largely about my relationship with my shrink, and it’s very interesting for me to talk to you right now, because a lot of my point was that my shrink does not always play by the rules, Barb. But listen, I did a whole HBO special about this person and how it was a good fit for me to find someone who wasn’t traditional and who didn’t play by the rules. You said that this guy’s left you 83 voicemails you still have. Guess how many voicemails Barb’s left me over the years? Zero. Even when we have phone sessions, if she calls me and can’t get me, she emails me and says, Hey, I tried to call you at this time. Let me know when you’re good. So there’s a paper trail on that. It’s totally inappropriate. So that’s the only thing I’m going to say. And then I’m gonna let you continue with the story. The only thing I disagree with is you saying it was humiliating. It’s not humiliating to be a victim. The only person who should be humiliated is this person who abused his power and your trust. It’s the only person who should be ashamed.
Caller [00:31:07] Thank you.
Chris [00:31:08] The only person who needs to feel an ounce of shame is this dickhead who abused his authority. And everybody knows if there’s one thing on this show that drives me nuts, it’s a bully. And it’s someone who prey, who acts like a predator and preys upon others. It always gets me mad. And I’m getting mad on your behalf right now. You don’t have anything to be humiliated by. You are. You are. You can find safe harbor here. I promise you that.
Caller [00:31:43] Thank you so much.
Chris [00:31:48] So there’s some things happening that are inappropriate in the room. The sessions are going on on Friday nights for way too long. He’s giving you whiskey. As soon as somebody gives you whiskey- as soon as a doctor gives you whiskey, this doctor has bad intentions. And maybe this person didn’t have a doctorate, but in the broad sense, a medical professional. Either way, there’s physical things happening where you’re making these choices based on signals you’re perceiving. He’s kind of not shutting them down, but he’s not reacting as one would. It, I can imagine, leads to further confuse and confusion and shame. Gives him more power to kind of move the goalposts again on what the boundaries are. Got 30 minutes left and I got to know where this ends. I got to know how this goes. Arbitrarily, we’re going to pause at this point because I feel like this is one of those calls where every once in a while we just gotta take a deep breath, all of us together. We’ll be right back. You get how it works. Thank you to the advertisers who allow stories like this to get out there to the world. I’m going to finish off this phone call. Got 30 minutes left, and I got to know where this ends. I got to know how this goes.
Caller [00:33:02] Well, yes. So it started to get more chaotic, you know, like it got more intense and out of control. And I don’t really need to go into what exactly happened, but um I, I started to do some research and get a better understanding for of what was happening to me. And I ended up on just Googling, you know, it’s really hard to find stories like this or places for help, because when you type in therapist abuse, the returns are often like therapists to help you if you’ve been abused. So, you know, I was like digging and digging and digging and trying to find some help, some clarity. And I found an organization called TELL, Therapy Exploitation Link Line. And there I found just this incredible site full of so, so many topics, papers. This is an excellent resource. Um, and I started it has other people’s stories in there and it talks about Stockholm syndrome and all kinds of things related to, to this issue. And I ended up contacting them eventually. I was still seeing him and still feeling very confused and but more of me was feeling sick, the way I feel when I’d leave him. And I guess something in me woke up and was like, You, you need to protect yourself. You need to do something about this. So I contacted TELL and they provided me with a coach. And she was amazing. She, her, I don’t know if I should maybe I can’t say her name. I don’t know. She just was so straightforward and strong and clear about the fact that she knew what he was doing. He preyed on me. He groomed me. He exploited me. He abused me. And there’s no other way of looking at it. And the way that she said that to me, this was in email. It just helped me so much. It just felt like I had somebody there with me. And then I, I, I decided to, I decided to see him one last time, but the main reason was I’d given him this beautiful antique clock for his birthday, and I wanted to get it back because it was the most beautiful clock, and my dad collected clocks. My dad passed away when I was 19 and he, the therapist, collected clocks, so I got him a clock for his birthday. And so I went there with the intention to get the clock back. And I did. And I told him that that was the last time I was ever going to see him. And he said, Oh, yeah, I’ve heard you say that before. And I promised that it was. And I left with the clock and I felt like I’d made a really positive step in a new direction. And.. And then um I think maybe a few weeks later, I was just pacing around my house and I decided to call the police. And.
Chris [00:37:27] Yes! Yes.
Caller [00:37:29] And I found the phone number for our local police department, and I called and they put me through to their crime victim specialist. I was very nervous. I felt like I was doing I was betraying someone I deeply cared about and like I was doing something very wrong. This was, you know, a big thing for me. And she was great. She asked if I wanted to schedule an interview, and I said yes. She said to make a timeline, which I did, which is so sick, because the only way I could make the timeline really clear was by going through all of the text messages so I could kind of place the story with dates. And so, yeah, I went in and I was interviewed by the head of forensic investigation with the crime victim specialist by my side. And, and then after that point, it was out of my hands. And that was about two months ago. And since then, he’s been under investigation. And they found out- well, they already knew this when I arrived for the interview because I had given them his name, so they did a little bit of research, but they found out that he um isn’t licensed.
Chris [00:39:09] Whaaat?
Caller [00:39:10] And so, yeah. So he he does have a doctorate. He is, you know, he has an education, Ph.D., but he is not licensed to practice. And um they can tell me a lot of information about the investigation. But I do know what I do know is that approximately three weeks ago, the investigator did go to the office, which is kind of like a little house. It’s two doors down from the house that he lives in with his wife and children.
Chris [00:39:57] Wife and children, you say?
Caller [00:39:59] Yes.
Chris [00:40:00] Twist! Another twist that I hate!
Caller [00:40:03] Yeah. There’s- I wish I could tell you so much of it. But there’s not enough time. But it’s it’s a wild story. I wish. I wish it could be a movie. But, yeah, the office is like a little house, and it feels like a home. It’s got a kitchen and the dining area, a stereo, records, furniture, you know, lots of art on the wall. There’s a bedroom at the back that I never went into. Um, and so it was really strange for me to hear the investigator say that she went in there um into that space, which was, you know, this space for me that was so safe but also so unsafe. And knowing that she got to see it and be in there and to speak to him. And during the interview, she asked him questions about, you know, his practice and, and also asked him if he was licensed and he admitted to not being licensed. And then she asked him if I was ever his client. And she said that he immediately closed down and that he couldn’t talk about that. And he requested an attorney.
Chris [00:41:36] He knew. He knew the whole time.
Caller [00:41:38] So, yeah. So this is my life at the moment. I’m kind of living in this town, this small town where he also lives. And sometimes I’ll see his truck and my whole body will just shake and feel so scared. You know, I’m certainly getting better, but I have I’ve got this Stockholm syndrome where I, I have sometimes these moments where I’m almost convincing myself that he did nothing wrong, that he genuinely cared about me, but was totally confused himself. And, you know, I feel like, what have I done? I’ve and does he hate me and, you know, it just it’s… It feels… It feels like I’m insane when that’s going on. Like I feel so… It’s like these polar opposite things going on inside me. It’s um it’s extreme ambivalence. It’s like… It’s the worst thing I’ve ever experienced because I, yeah, I, I find that to be incredibly challenging. And so what I’m learning in therapy, going to therapy every Monday and Wednesday evening, I’m learning how to let those feelings go through me. And I always- ooh, there’s the clock singing. I don’t know. I don’t know if you could hear it.
Chris [00:43:40] That was the clock you went and took back?
Caller [00:43:42] Yeah.
Chris [00:43:44] Oh nice. Nice. Good. I’m glad you got that clock back.
Caller [00:43:47] Yeah. And so, yeah, that that feeling of that that extreme ambivalence is a product of this of this kind of abuse. It’s like I was dependent on him. Everything that went through my head went to him, you know, in between sessions. Every… Every thought I had, I wanted to go to him. I um and, you know, I, I don’t know. It’s just it’s, it’s awful. And I don’t know when it will go away, but I hope it goes away soon.
Chris [00:44:28] Me too.
Caller [00:44:28] Yeah, it’s really hard. I know. I know what happened was wrong. I know that it wasn’t my fault. But then at the same time, I can flip into that other place. And and I think that was the that was the experience that really, I think, brought me to make that call to the police because I became so concerned about other people going through it. And, and, and knowing that a lot of people wouldn’t even be able to identify that or understand what is going on.
Chris [00:45:14] Mm hmm. Mm hmm.
Caller [00:45:17] Yeah. So, yeah, there’s there’s, there’s so much. But it’s been, like in the last week, I’ve started for the first time to be able to get some energy to do things that I used to enjoy doing that I’d sort of put aside for a really long time because I was just so enmeshed with this person. So I feel like I’m slowly, you know, recovering from from it. But I’m at the same time experiencing a lot of anxiety, just wondering what’s going to happen and um yeah.
Chris [00:46:10] I’m sure. It makes total sense. It makes total sense that you have that. And it it sounds like to kind of let everybody know where the story stands, if I’m piecing everything together, it sounds like there’s an investigation that’s ongoing. He’s asked for an attorney because he realizes he’s probably in some deep shit. And you’re waiting to see where the chips fall as far as what what the the investigator who’s who’s looking into this might, might find on your behalf.
Caller [00:46:43] Yeah, that’s right. And there’s a strange loophole. How do I explain this? There’s a strange loophole where, because, I mean, this was coming from the investigator, but she was saying that because he’s unlicensed, it means that they probably can’t really do anything about what happened to me because technically he’s not a therapist. Even though from my perspective, that’s how I entered into this relationship. I don’t know where it’s going now. I think the DA has all the information from the investigation now, and I don’t know if they’re doing further investigation or if they’re just deciding on charges or if there will be charges or I don’t really know. They can’t tell me anything. But, oh sorry about that. But yeah, I… I’m kind of in the dark at the moment, just waiting and trying to breathe and they have to contact me when and if there are charges or an arrest is made.
Chris [00:48:15] It’s… I can see, I mean, I don’t know the intricacies of the law, but this idea that because he is unlicensed, they can’t- they’re just- they can’t just go and disbar him because he wasn’t, right? Like to use what lawyers would say, you know, you can’t remove his license to punish him if he doesn’t have it in the first place.
Caller [00:48:35] Mmhm.
Chris [00:48:37] I can see that.
Caller [00:48:37] That’s right.
Chris [00:48:40] I have to imagine there’s other things that they… You know, can be looking into because this is true scumbaggery.
Caller [00:48:49] Yeah. It’s a felony to practice without a license.
Chris [00:48:55] That’s pretty serious right there. Felony.
Caller [00:48:57] Yeah. There’s also, you know, maybe the possibility of them looking into fraud because he would have charged so many people to see him for therapy over a long period of time. And but yeah, that loophole is a bit it’s a bit weird. It’s like it’s unfortunate because… And maybe they will be able to do something about what happened to me, but I’m not really sure. I’m not really sure because he isn’t licensed.
Chris [00:49:41] Uh huh. Uh huh.
Caller [00:49:44] And he’s he puts himself out there as being licensed. He’s advertised on Psychology Today as a licensed.
Chris [00:49:51] Oh. That’s total fraud. That’s a felony. I hope he gets nailed to the wall. I hope he gets thrown in prison for this. I hope his doctorate is removed from- I wonder if you have a doctorate, if you can have that taken away. I would like it if you could be. That’s what I hope for him. I hope that his, his, I know this might be something that puts fear into you, and I know I’m reacting big and you are someone doesn’t have that luxury because your feelings are on the line. But I can tell you on my end, I hope that his wife finds out and she at least has all the knowledge at her disposal. The idea that this guy has an unlicensed therapy practice going with a bedroom in the back? That’s a horror show. That’s an actual horror show.
Caller [00:50:42] Yeah.
Chris [00:50:43] And it makes you wonder, and I’m sure you’ve wondered if you’re the only person who’s been put in a position akin to this.
Caller [00:50:51] Yeah, well, the people at TELL explained to me that because of how quickly- they they’ve dealt with so many victims of therapist abuse, and so from their perspective, because of how quickly he acted with me in this way, they they felt very confident that he was very experienced in in abusing other people. Because, yeah, he was just so confident. You know there was- it was so quick.
Chris [00:51:32] Yeah. And that that also brings up the idea too that I want to put out there of there are probably some people listening going, There must be some happy couple in the world that met as patient and therapist. There have to be some examples of of there’s some vibe or flirtation at work. But it’s, no, this is a married man who drove this in this direction. He was- right? When you use this phrase, power dynamic, this is one of the this is a prime example of what we mean, Right? This person is presenting themselves to you as a a certified doctor with a doctorate who’s licensed to do this. But that means that they are effectively the captain at the wheel of this ship, and they get to point the ship in whatever direction they choose. And they also figure out how to make you feel guilt or blame for the ship going where they pointed it. Because like I said from the start, anyone- I’m sitting here going, I was sitting here yelling, Anyone licensed to do this has been walked through this backwards and forwards, that this is a thing that can happen and you got to draw firm lines and find your way out of it. He wasn’t even licensed. It’s even creepier. It’s even more deceptive and manipulative.
Caller [00:52:52] Yeah, that’s right. And I we had a I had a couple of conversations with him where I was I was knowing I was kind of in the stages where I, I was really figuring out what had happened, but I was still very attached to him and I wanted to talk to him about the sexual contact. And he ended up telling me that I had- that my, my version of what happened isn’t true and that I had seduced him. And so that really spun me out for a few weeks and put me in a very bad place.
Chris [00:53:42] But listen, let me put this out here too. First of all, him saying he seduced you. Obviously, I’m on your side. You’re the person on the phone with me. Even if you did, there are methodologies, there are ethics, there are rules in place for how he should handle that. And I can guarantee that what you’re not going to find in any medical school textbook or instructional guide on how to be a therapist, the way you handle that is you don’t subsequently have an eight hour therapy session where alcohol is served. So even if you did seduce him, so what? He’s the professional. He needs to know how to handle that. To throw that in your face, as if to say, Well, what’s happening is your fault. No, no, no. He is in control of this, and he is trained on this. There are people in this world with sex addiction. I’ve talked to them on this show. I’ve talked to people who have sex addiction. You think there’s not people out here who have tried to seduce their therapists before because there are people who are desperately in need of treatment for that condition, who haven’t tested those waters? Of course, there are. But trained, licensed people with a firm set of ethics are ready for that, braced for that, and have methodology. I don’t know exactly what they are, but I bet there’s ways that they need to report that and record that and find their way out of that if necessary. Even if you did seduce him. You’re the patient. If you’re a patient who’s mentally suffering and the way that you act out is seduction, it’s not on him to sit there and let you straddle him, and then he gives you whiskey and puts on a record you both like. It’s on him to follow the ethical guidelines of this profession. This is getting me mad because this is not too far away from a priest abusing a parishioner. This is not. These are people who seek out positions of authority where there is an implicit trust involved. And he violated that trust. If he turns around and says, Oh, well, you seduced me, the only answer to that should be, then why did your training on how to handle that not snap into place if that is true? By the way, it’s probably not true. And that’s why you’re saying it. And I hope you know, too, any investigator and eventually any prosecutor I think will immediately see through that the same way I did to go, well, where’s the seduction? Is it when you’re entering hour four of the whiskey fueled inappropriate therapy session? Who’s seducing who at that point? He’s seducing you. Every time you’re there more than the prescribed time. Every time you get a phone call in the off hours. Every time he’s texting you something that has nothing to do with your actual treatment at hand. All of that is seduction. Is it as implicit or explicit as him saying, Oh, I’m horny right now? Maybe not, but it’s seduction because he’s presenting the relationship as one that goes beyond the boundaries of what it should be. And that is, by definition, him seducing you. So for you to seduce him in a more direct, obvious micro-scale in terms of, I’m going to sit with my leg touching his leg, or I’m going to sit on top of him and see how close he lets me get to getting away with it, you are the person who’s suffering, who has sought out the doctor’s help. Those are obvious seductions. His seduction is more sinister. Oh, we’ll just go an extra hour. Oh, I’ll give you my Friday night instead of giving it to my wife. Why don’t we put on this record we both like and let it play in the background that implies this shared passion for something? All of that bullshit is seduction too, dickhead!
Caller [00:57:27] Mm hmm. Yeah. Yeah. There was so much opportunity for him to end the relationship, to seek out another professional to give him advice.
Chris [00:57:40] Yes.
Caller [00:57:43] To hand me over to someone, to another therapist.
Chris [00:57:47] Yes. Here’s my colleague’s number. I think you’ll have a healthier relationship with them. I’m wishing you the best. That’s what should have been said day one of him realizing this is crossing lines.
Caller [00:57:58] Yeah. Oh.
Chris [00:58:02] These people.
Caller [00:58:03] Yeah.
Chris [00:58:04] It’s like a teacher sleeping with a kid. It’s like a priest touching a parishioner. It’s a doctor getting out of line. It’s why we all got to remember, there’s no one in this world who is inherently special compared to any other human on earth. And anybody who wants to be put on a pedestal is somebody who wants to be put there for a reason. Makes me sick to my stomach. And I’m so sorry you had to go through it. And I’m on your team.
Caller [00:58:35] Well, thank you.
Chris [00:58:40] Going to be mad all night. I’m going to be thinking about this and being mad all night. He’s got a bed in his office. Ughhh.
Caller [00:58:50] Yeah, yeah, yeah. There was a lot of reverse psychology going on. Like one time when I was, you know, very close to him and he would say things like that feels good, he would look at me and say, We’re not going to go into that bedroom at the back there.
Chris [00:59:13] Yeah.
Caller [00:59:14] You know, he he would say something wasn’t going to happen that eventually would. Like his way of sort of, I don’t know, keeping me interested or focused on him, I think, and the situation. But the last time I saw him, I wish I could remember what he said, but he said something and it really, I don’t know, I just sat up and I said to him, I said, That is like reverse, reverse, reverse psychology. And he leaned in and looked at me and said, I know it is, and you love it. And.
Chris [01:00:06] Ew. Ew.
Caller [01:00:06] It was just really creepy. And I, I knew in that moment that I needed to get out of there and really, really sort, sort it out for myself. Because, you know, even after something as ew as that and I still I was so attached, of course, and I don’t think I’ll ever find the words to describe how it happened because it it’s, it was absurd and confusing and just completely, almost like out of my control.
Chris [01:00:55] It’s a betrayal of trust as well. It’s a huge betrayal of trust. Anyone who seeks out a therapist is going there because they are feeling vulnerable. It’s a scary thing to step through that door.
Caller [01:01:09] Yeah. I went to see him for help.
Chris [01:01:11] Yeah. You went for help. And this is what happens. We have a minute and a half left. I do have one question. Hearing it from the outside, I’m going, he’s got a bed in his office. He had bad intentions. You mentioned that the organization who helped you, TELL, who I know nothing about but who sound like they are heroes in this case. Kudos to them for helping you. Said they wouldn’t be shocked to hear this has happened other people before because it sounds like he was good at this. When that information comes out someday, is it going to make you feel better or worse? Because on one sense you might feel like, well, I’m part of a greater whole and this was a manipulator, and I’m not crazy for thinking so. On another level, you might sit here and go, it did feel to me like even as inappropriate as it was, we had some sort of bond that crossed a line. I’m guessing he’s done this before and he would do it again if you hadn’t heroically alerted the authorities. How are you going to feel if you find out that this was a pattern?
Caller [01:02:21] I’m so hopeful to meet other victims of of this same therapist. I think it would be so healing for me to, to hear about it but even to meet them. I think if if it was a few months ago, I think I, I’d feel very differently. But where I am now, I feel like I want to I want to know that. I think it will it will just make me feel like I’ve done the right thing for sure.
Chris [01:02:59] Good, good, good, good. Because, you know why?
Caller [01:03:04] Why?
Chris [01:03:06] If there were other people before you, you’ve made damn well sure there’s not going to be anybody after you. And holy shit. Despite how confusing and awful this must feel and have felt and will continue to feel for a while, I hope you also hold your head up high knowing sounds like you’re the one who broke the pattern. You’re the one who called bullshit on something that’s probably been going on for a while. And that next person won’t get put in this manipulator’s, this unlicensed jerk… they won’t wind up in his spare bedroom down the block. And it’s because you broke the pattern. And I hope you’re incredibly proud of that, because it’s not easy to do. And I don’t even know you, but I’m proud of you.
Caller [01:03:59] Thank you so much.
Chris [01:04:05] Caller, once again, I do hope that that last one sticks with you. There’s other people out there, and if you’re listening right now and you’re in a relationship where you’re being manipulated, whether that’s a romantic relationship, a professional relationship, or like this caller, what was supposed to be a medical relationship, understand that there are people out there ready to step up. Ready to help. Ready to believe you. Ready to help get you out of there. And I’m so happy, you know, like I said in the course of the call, I will be looking up the organization TELL. It sounds like they really stepped up to the plate on this one. And I thank them as well. And caller, thank you for calling and sharing and being so honest and so brave. This show is produced by Anita Flores. It’s engineered by Jared O’Connell. Our theme songs by Shellshag. Go to ChrisGeth.com if you wanna read more about me, including my tour dates. Wherever you’re listening, there’s a button that says subscribe, favorite, follow, something like that. It helps us so much when you hit that button so please consider doing so. If you want merch, PodSwag.com. You want your episodes ad free, Stitcher.com/premium. Use the promo code stories, you’ll get a one month free trial.