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Arrow Oct 23, 2019 at 08:07 AM
Copied and pasted from my own personal thread, here's what I've spent time writing and researching. It would be great to get more helpful links, if you care to share. Here's what I wrote earlier today:

I've had my own dealings with two abusive therapists, one abusive pastoral counselor, and one abusive mentor in the psychology field. Thankfully, I've also had enough wonderful therapists, pastors, and mentors in my life to understand the differences between what is healthy and what is not. It took me some time to understand these concepts, however.

Throughout my life, I've also experienced vicarious/secondary traumas via hearing so many others' laments about their abusive therapists, teachers, professors, mentors, supervisors, significant others, toxic friends, and/or parents - many of the same traumas I can identify with in my past. Although the emphases on prevention through detection of childhood maltreatment points to the potential etiologies of why victims often get revictimized throughout their lifespans, there remains a lack of research on adulthood abuses, particularly those that involve professional hierarchies, including therapists.

When I read the following articles (listed below), I finally felt relief for my secondary traumas as well as my direct traumatic victimizations. Finally, some professionals banded together to address the traumatic issues that often remain secrets. Finally, there's some justice-seeking advocates who are helping victims of non-crimes (in this case, emotional abuse in psychotherapy) stand up for themselves when no one else will. Finally, someone addresses emotional abuse as a form of victimization, not just mere slights.

Here's the (first) article: First, Do No Harm: Abusive Psychotherapists | Psychopaths and Love

One story that is mentioned in the article concerns the ironic hardships that victims face when seeking treatment for therapy abuse. The institution that traumatized victims is the primary institution to also help them. However, many in the helping fields tend to victim-blame instead of help in cases like these. These helping professionals, like so many institutional "family members," tend to stick up for their own, so it's common for those within the psychological institution to disbelieve lamenting victims of therapy abuse, and therefore not treat them for their specific traumas. Therapy rooms, and therapists as well, are trauma triggers for victims who experienced therapy abuse. Sadly, victim-blaming through placing the responsibility on the victims' character only retraumatizes them further, as opposed to decreasing the effects of trauma through validation and belief in their therapy abuse victimizations. Clearly, there needs to be more training, research, and treatments available for victims of therapy abuse. But when? How?

Here are some additional links found both within the article referenced above as well as in additional articles I found on various Google searches:

Therapy Abuse (TELL) Website:

TELL: Therapy Exploitation Link Line
TELL: Therapy Exploitation Link Line
TELL: Therapy Exploitation Link Line

Counselling Resource Website:


Dr. George Simon Website:


Psychiatric Times:

Psychopaths and Love Website:

Surviving Therapist Abuse Website:

Professional Articles:


Los Angeles Times:


My personal side notes about vicarious/secondary trauma:

One way to combat vicarious/secondary trauma is to become an advocate, and by doing so, to increase social support among people who share similar laments. Advocacy should not be about throwing the baby out with the bathwater, but instead, it should be about finding injustices being done at the hands of those in power. Abuse of power is widespread, a result of systemic problems and structural violence. Implicit biases apply here as well, which is why it is so hard to detect emotional abuse, the most common form of abuse that is not necessarily unlawful, illegal, or criminal. Emotional abuse is often justified, lest one find enough proof to demonstrate illegal or unlawful culpability. Further, emotional abuse if often minimized as a slight, as opposed to a harm that results in injuries and long-term sequelae. Emotional abuse can happen to anyone, regardless of whether or not childhood maltreatment occurred in a victim's past. The effects of emotional abuse can be detrimental to even the healthiest of persons without histories of childhood maltreatment.

Overall, it would appear that the above articles/institutions comprise the best of both advocacy and support for those experiencing vicarious/secondary trauma as well as those experiencing therapy abuse/exploitation. Hearing about someone else experiencing emotional abuse can also be traumatic. Helping professions are replete with exposure to vicarious/secondary trauma, especially when protective factors are not immediately available. Often missed, support groups are also replete with secondary trauma exposure.
Protective factors include social support, debriefing meetings, mandatory and effective therapy post incidents, ongoing accountability and supervision, paid time off from work for a work-related trauma, community support systems, and constant training/continuing education that increases psychological hardiness, trauma thresholds, and self-efficacy. Although protective factors help to reduce traumatic stress, some factors such as support groups may expose participants to secondary/vicarious trauma when hearing about others' traumas and/or being exposed to deviant behaviors.

As a survivor of polyvictimization, I'm hoping to heal and to grow, not just maintain and languish in my maintenance of disabilities. I'm hoping to flourish and thrive, not merely survive as a victim. Advocacy helps in these cases, especially in a world replete with trauma among many trauma survivors. So do protective factors, such as social groups.

***End copy/paste***

Here are some additional articles that I've found just now on secondary trauma and vicarious trauma. Although helping professionals and non-professional caregivers (e.g., family members caring for a disabled or mentally ill person), experience secondary/vicarious trauma, including their own emotion-regulation issues related to compassion fatigue and burnout, the professionals' and caregivers' work-related stress is never the fault of any particular patient, client, or loved one whom they are caring for. Each first responder, caregiver, therapist, or other helping professional is responsible for their own boundaries, their own problem-solution planning, their own respite, and their own emotions; they can ask for help and seek support (e.g., respite, emotional support, paid support to take a break, consultants to redesign their boundaries on the job). Here are the articles:


Good Therapy:
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