14 January 2014

I won't stand for Abuse - I will stand against it

Unfortunately I will have to take a week off work at the end of February. This is to attend a hearing in another part of the country. I raised a complaint against a therapist/supervisor who I believe abused his position of trust when I was in training. I can't and won't go into the details here. Apart from feeling so deeply ashamed that I could somehow wind up in this position, it wasn't until I heard that other women had been subjected to the same or similar abuses that I decided that I had no option but to report this man, who at the time, showed absolutely no remorse or compunction for the distress he caused, and which I so clearly communicated.

I am passionate about counselling. I am passionate about ethical practice. I am passionate about protecting people from abuse. This is what has driven me to continue with what has been an ordeal that started in August 2011, but really picked up when I eventually reported to the appropriate authorities in June 2012.*

For anybody that has raised a complaint about an unethical, abusive therapist alone, I salute you, You deserve a series of medals, because this is one of the most gruelling processes I have been through in my entire life. For anybody that did not feel that they could go ahead, I absolutely understand. Would I if I was alone in this….? Quite possibly not. Sometimes it seems better in a survival sense to minimise the incidents and wonder whether I was somehow at fault. Whatever somebody's reasons for not complaining, I understand and respect those reasons. I salute you for doing what you need to do.

"Never interrupt your enemy when he's in the process of destroying himself"

Fortunately, the case is very, very strong. There are numerous witness statements and, in a way quite fortunately, the therapist in question has behaved appallingly in response to those who raised grievances; sacking people, writing character assassination documents and circulating widely with the threat to circulate even more widely, lodging professional complaints against complainants. None of the complaints he has raised have proceeded to a hearing as it was quite plain for all to see what the purpose of the complaints was, which was not to protect clients from unethical practice (the whole point of the process) but to try and ruin people who had raised legitimate complaints.

So, aside from the fortitude of having truth on our side, which helps mightily, we have the shocking behaviour of somebody who it seems will stop at nothing to try and prevent that truth being exposed.

I have worried at times about my safety. I have my journals hidden safely away from home (thankfully I wrote down much of what happened when it happened as we had to keep personal journals as part of our training) and I am careful. I have had my email account hacked numerous times since this started (having never ever had an email accout hacked ever before), received dirty phone calls, had an old online account accessed and the intimate details shared wide and far. Some of these could be to do with him, some of them maybe just coincidental.

But I am not alone, there are others standing up against this person. It is strange position to be in. I abhor the fact that I am not alone, but in our not aloneness we can help each other to stop it.

I'm losing a week of pay (on top of everything I have lost to date with this case), having to arrange childcare/dogcare transport and accommodation. Any person with an ounce of reason will see that this is not just a case of trying to cause some trouble for somebody.

This isn't personal, it's about protecting clients and about protecting the profession. Every profession has a dark side and whilst I do not profess to be an angel (yes I have metaphorical warts on my personality), I do not abuse and I will not stand for the abuse of myself or others.

For further information on how to check that your therapist is regulated read this post by Phil Dore:


* There are many complex reasons why I waited, mainly fear of not being believed and professional dependency. 


Unknown said...

I salute you, Amanda. Sorry that you have had to endure this. But glad that you are standing, because the alternative (silence) would allow something deeply damaging to continue.
People like you are needed - not just in the 'public' where our clients come from... but even more in our profession, where there is more temptation to keep it quiet.
Yet, as our ethical codes tell us, if a colleague is acting or practicing dangerously or abusively, *we have a responsibility as members of the profession* to address it.

I send you every best wish, and I sincerely hope that this process will conclude soon.


Amanda Williamson said...

Thank you Ian. I have witnessed many therapists who are willing to stand up against this, hence the strong case. There are a few others that, sadly, prefer to turn a blind eye and worse, there are one or two, that have decided that it can't be true, probably because they don't want it to be true. I actually feel bad for those in such a state of cognitive dissonance - it must be exhausting.

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