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Found Out My Therapist Had A Disciplinary Action In The Past

Question:

I was looking around the web for reviews on a therapist that I’ve started seeing and I came across a review that showed an old disciplinary action against her. It was a long time ago, and it wasn’t for anything too terrible, nothing that hurt a client. Do I do anything with this information? I don’t want to stop seeing her.

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Answer:

The very best thing you can do is discuss the fact that you found this information on the web and you  have questions about what it means? In fact, I want to suggest that this is something you must do if you are going to see her for therapy. There are several reasons why.

First, it is clear that what you found is bothering you otherwise you would not be asking about it here. Of course, no one can blame you for this. After all, it is concerning that she had a disciplinary action in the past even if it was harmless. The fact that this bothers you now means that it will bother you going forward. In fact, it will always be in your mind and, consequently, affect your therapy with her. That is one reason why you need clarification.

Second, good therapy is based on a number of factors and one of them is trust. If you do not get answers from her, how can you trust her again? In therapy, everything must be open for discussion and any good therapist will not shrink from dealing honestly with these things. If she cannot be open and honest with you about this then she is not the right therapist for you because you cannot trust her.

Third, psychotherapy is really a relatonship between two people, one of whom is the professional and the other the patient or client. Secrets, hidden information, lies and deceipt poison any relationship. I am not suggesting that she has done any of these things. On the other hand, you must not either. In other words, to not bring this up with her is the same as hiding information from her and that can infect your therapeutic relationship.

By the way, you state that the disciplinary action had nothing to do with harming a patient or client. However, if the action was related to licensing issue then there is cause for concern. You should be seeing someone with the required legal licensing responsibilities in the state you live in. If she is not licensed that is a matter of great concern and you should look elsewhere for therapy.

I think you get the picture by now. In my opinion, the best approach for you to take is to be open and honest with her. It would be a mistake to believe that you can just ignore this. Move forward honestly and openly.

If she cannot or will not discuss this with you then you have important information that tells you to find a new therapist. If you do that, check their credentials before you start.

Best of Luck

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