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Exploring Mental Health Malpractice: When Can It Occur?

Every mental health provider, whether they’re a social worker, therapist, or psychiatrist, must adhere to their field’s professional standard of care. At its core, this means that the clinician is required to offer the same level of care expected of another reasonable professional in the same situation and abide by certain ethics. For example, a reasonable professional wouldn’t initiate a sexual relationship with a vulnerable client. They also wouldn’t overcharge for fraudulent services, encourage a co-dependent relationship, or abandon a client. 

If you or a loved one suffered physical or psychological injuries at the hands of an unethical mental health professional, you could have the basis of a malpractice claim. Your case would allege that because you suffered mental health malpractice, you deserve compensation to help you rebuild your life. A personal injury lawyer could explain more. 

Mental Health Malpractice Happens When Therapists Act Unethically 

Mental health professionals should offer services that aim to better a client’s quality of life. This may involve curating a treatment plan, maintaining confidentiality, and adhering to their field’s accepted standard of care. A certain closeness and vulnerability is required in therapy, but a therapist may cross the line into malpractice when: 

They Initiate a Sexual Relationship 

Many patients enter therapy feeling vulnerable. While sharing their innermost thoughts and feelings with their therapist, they may experience something called “transference,” where the client projects feelings for others onto the therapist. Every mental health professional receives training on this phenomenon and learns how to combat it. Yet, some use transference to their benefit, using the client’s feelings to initiate an exploitable sexual relationship to which they cannot consent. 

They Violate Patient/Clinician Confidentiality 

Everything you share with your therapist should stay behind closed doors. This means they can’t disclose what you shared in therapy to friends, family members, or the online community. While therapists are mandated to report certain things (such as plans to hurt someone), they cannot go outside of the therapeutic container and violate a patient’s trust. 

They Fail to Give Informed Consent 

If you undergo treatment for a mental health condition, you deserve to know every detail about that regimen, including its pros and cons. A therapist should not implement “experimental” techniques without getting the patient’s informed consent. Failing to disclose certain information could make the therapist liable for any related hardships you experienced.  

They Encourage the Development of a Co-Dependent Relationship 

Some therapists will give clients their office number to make appointments when they’re experiencing a crisis. This allows patients to access the services they need and better themselves. However, they should not foster a relationship where a patient feels the need to consult their therapist on every single matter. Encouraging contact outside of regular office hours (and making the patient feel the need to seek their therapist’s approval) could constitute malpractice. 

These are just some examples of malpractice in psychotherapy that could constitute a personal injury claim or lawsuit. If you’re uncertain about your legal options, you could benefit from consulting with our legal team regarding your options. 

How Mental Health Malpractice Affects Clients 

The mental health profession has standards and practices in place to ensure patients’ well-being when seeking treatment. When a therapist violates these rules, patients could suffer by: 

  • Undergoing unnecessary treatment. A therapist may implement a treatment plan that doesn’t better a patient’s quality of life, causing their condition to worsen. This could increase the need for mental health services or jeopardize the patient’s recovery. 
  • Spending unnecessary funds. Some mental health professionals exploit patients by overcharging for unnecessary or fraudulent services. This form of financial abuse can put a patient in dire financial straits, compromising their ability to live independently.  
  • Losing trust in mental health professionals. After having a negative experience with a mental health professional, a patient may feel discouraged from seeking further treatment in the future. This could exacerbate their symptoms and compromise their ability to heal. 
  • Developing further mental health concerns. A patient may go to treatment for anxiety, suffer malpractice, and then develop post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) from the experience. 

You Have Financial Recovery Options After Suffering Mental Health Malpractice 

The law has processes in place that allow survivors of therapy malpractice to seek compensatory damages. These losses include both economic and non-economic hardships resulting from the maltreatment. Based on your situation, they could include: 

  • Medical bills for any physical injuries you sustained 
  • Additional rehabilitation and therapy expenses 
  • Lost income, tips, and bonuses
  • Out-of-pocket expenses related to the therapist abuse 
  • Pain and suffering
  • Disability
  • Scarring and disfigurement 

You could seek other losses not listed here. In therapist abuse cases, pain and suffering plays a vital role in how much you can recover. When you partner with a personal injury attorney, they review all aspects of your situation to determine what you’re owed. 

You Could Seek Compensation on Behalf of a Late Loved One 

After suffering therapy abuse, your loved one may have taken their own life. Depending on your relationship with the decedent, you could have grounds to file a wrongful death claim or lawsuit. In that instance, you could seek financial recovery for their funeral, memorial, and end-of-life care expenses. 

How You Benefit From Working With a Mental Health Malpractice Lawyer 

When you hire KJT Law Group to manage your mental health malpractice claim, you get a lawyer who’s committed to securing fair compensation for your losses. They can hold the unethical care provider accountable by: 

  • Listening to your story
  • Evaluating the circumstances of what you experienced 
  • Calculating your losses
  • Researching any previous allegations of therapy abuse 
  • Handling all case-related communications
  • Filing your personal injury claim or lawsuit 

We offer legal help on a contingency-fee basis, so you don’t pay out of pocket to retain our help. Our attorney’s fees come from the settlement we secure on your behalf.

Connect With KJT Law Group to Explore Your Financial Recovery Options After Mental Health Malpractice

Getting peace of mind after suffering therapy abuse begins with a free case review with our legal team. Here, we can discuss your situation, options, and next steps. Everything you share with our team remains confidential. Dial (818) 507-8525 to get started.

We Will Fight For You

Contact our firm to get started.
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