Topics: Introduction

Advice for Subsequent Therapists—from a Colleague Who Learned the Hard Way

This essay by a now-retired psychoanalytic psychiatrist describes her experience of being emotionally and sexually exploited by her prominent and powerful training analyst, the reaction of her colleagues, and how she sought and found help.  To view this essay, click here.

Gag Orders

The first two essays on this topic are descriptions by victims/survivors of their feelings about having settled civil cases against abusers where the settlements prohibited them from speaking about their abuse. To view these essays, click here.  The third essay on this topic, written by two Boston attorneys, argues that gag orders run counter to public policy and, accordingly, courts should refuse to enforce them. To view this essay, click here.

The first essay under this topic describes how abusers try to shift the blame for their behavior to their victims.  The second essay explains the differences between shame and guilt and how each plays into silencing victims and holding them in place. To view these essays, click here.

Some of the struggles victims face as they strive to become survivors, and a look at some of the strengths that victims/survivors find through the long process of healing. To view the essays on this topic, click here.

Keeping the Secret
This essay describes what can happen when a victim fails to deal with having been abused and ignores the long-term implications of doing nothing. To view this essay, click here.

How to find and work with experienced lawyers when pursuing a civil case against an abusing psychotherapist. To view this essay, click here.

Letting Go
Two of these three essays are letters by victims who sought closure to this abusive period of their lives by writing to their perpetrators. One letter was never sent:  The other was sent but did not receive a response. The third, an essay, gives hope that it is possible to let go and move on. To view the essays on this topic, click here.

Letter to a Husband
While this essay is entitled “Letter to a Husband," it is truly a must-read for all victims, primary and extended, spouses, significant others, family, friends, and subsequent treaters. Because even primary victims are often confused by the feelings promulgated by this kind of exploitation, Letter to a Husband helps all understand the dangerous and painful shame, self-blame, and even the pathological attachment to the illusion of “the savior.” To view this essay, click here.

Male Survivors
This essay suggests that male survivors experience not only the same traumatic effects of abuse as females but may encounter additional problems in their attempts to be heard and validated. To view this essay, click here.

My Story is Different

Most who contact TELL believe that their situations are different than other victims.  While every story is unique, recognizing what victims experience in common is often an early part of healing. To view this essayclick here.

Psychological Kidnapping
This essay applies the terms "psychological kidnapping" and "brainwashing" to some of the ways that victims of abuse by psychotherapists become taken over and controlled by their abusers and their personal powers and sense of self are undermined. To view this essay, click here, click here.

Shock and After-Shocks: A Husband's Story

This essay details a husband's reaction to learning that his wife was exploited by a health care professional and describes the first seven months of his healing process in terms of the stages of grief. To view this essay, click here.

Statements to the Courts

The first statement in this topic is by a victim, also a TELL Responder, who describe in detail to the judge the damage done to her and her family by the abuse.The second statement, by a subsequent treater, describes the damage done to the patient and the treatment issues that have been confronted as a result.  To view these statements, click here.

Subsequent Treatment
What to look for in a subsequent therapist, and why trusting a subsequent therapist is both difficult and, perhaps, not necessary. To view this essay, click here.

Taking Action: A Success Story
The story of a victim who thoroughly explored her options and successfully pursued multiple courses of action against her abuser. She suggests that her greatest rewards came from personal growth and taking back her life and personal power through the process of taking action rather than from institutional rewards. To view this essay, click here.

Some of the social, psychological, and developmental factors that make a person susceptible to exploitation and abuse. To view this essay, click here.

What is Therapy?

The first essay under this Topic, Psychotherapy: The Good, The Bad, and The Dangerous, is a listing of what should, may, and absolutely should not happen in therapy. The second essay, Danger Signs, describes some of the red flags that signal unhealthy boundaries in the therapist-patient relationship and that the therapy is in dangerous territory or headed there. To view these essays, click here.

Writing a Licensing Board Complaint
A victim who prevailed in her licensing board complaint, as well as in her civil and ethics committee complaints, shares the actual statement she wrote (names changed for confidentiality) and submitted. (See also "Focus on the Facts: My Experience Writing a Licensing Board Complaint" under "Papers" on this site.) To view the statement, click here.


"Burt Cooper" is a public affairs consultant specializing in politics and government. He has two daughters in their late teens. At his wife's request, he is using a pseudonym.

Edward S. Flores is a Production Engineer in an aerospace company. He has been happily married for 26 years and has two adult daughters. Prior to his wife's abuse by a mental health professional, he, like most people, had very little if any understanding of such abuse.

Linda Mabus Jorgenson is an attorney who has handled more than 300 cases involving sexual misconduct by therapists or other professionals. 

S. Kim, Ph.D. is a psychologist in private practice.

Susan Kerman, M.D. is a psychiatrist in private practice In Dobbs Ferry, New York.  She treats children, adolescents and adults.

Anton O. Kris, M.D. is a Training and Supervising Analyst at The Boston Psychoanalytic Society and Institute. He is also Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School.

Michele Mauger was a Practice Manager/Administrator, working in general practice, forensic psychiatry, sexual health and HIV in the UK. She is also a TELL responder.

Andrew C. Meyer, Jr. is a medical malpractice attorney and founding partner of the law firm of Lubin & Meyer, P.C. in Boston.

Wanda S. Needleman, M.D. is a retired psychiatrist and psychoanalyst. She is also a volunteer TELL responder.

Marilyn Nowak works in human resources staffing for a major healthcare company that manufactures and distributes medical products and services. She is also a volunteer TELL responder.

Dr. Susan Penfold is Professor Emeritus of the Division of Child Psychiatry, Department of Psychiatry UBC and BC’s Children’s Hospital. 

Deborah Petersen, BA., BSW, AHPRA (psych) AASW, is a psychoanalytic psychologist in Australia and a TELL responder.

Katie holds a degree in Early Childhood Education and teaches PreK. She lives with her husband and son.

Ilana W. Rosen, MSW, is a social worker in private practice in Spring Valley, New York.

Adam R. Satin is a Boston attorney specializing in medical malpractice and general liability litigation. He is an associate with the firm of Lubin & Meyer, P.C.

Nicole Todd lives in New Jersey and is a stay-at-home mom of four children. She graduated summa cum laude with a BA in Economics from Hunter College, and also earned an MBA from Rutgers University. She is a TELL responder.

Janice Williams is a British Columbia-based artist, author, and organizer of "spoken word" and other community events.

John D. Winer is an attorney practicing in California and lead author for the forthcoming book, Proving Mental and Emotional Injuries, which focuses heavily on therapist sexual abuse cases.

Jan Wohlberg is one of the five founders of TELL.  She previously taught Organizational Behavior at Boston University’s School of Management.

All writings in topics are the express property of their authors and are used with permission.  For reproduction permission of any of these writings, please e-mail:

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