Professional, specialist legal advice for abuse claims against therapists and health professionals
If you have suffered abuse from a counsellor, psychotherapist or any other health professional, we can give you the advice and support that you need. We've helped many people make claims and complaints for abuse against professionals.
Get in Touch
How does abuse occur in the care of therapists and healthcare professionals?
In a therapeutic setting, abuse claims are thankfully very rare. Where they do occur though, they are often not as obvious and easy to spot as you might think. Many of them also take place over months or years, rather than as a one-off event.
For those and many other reasons, it is not unusual for claimants to feel unsure as to whether or not they have even suffered abuse. If you are undergoing therapy, you are potentially in a very vulnerable position and place a lot of trust in your therapist. Furthermore, you might choose not to discuss what happens in your therapy sessions with your friends and family, so abuse can easily go unnoticed.
Often, abuse occurs because the therapist has failed to observe important professional boundaries.
What are 'professional boundaries' in therapy and healthcare?
A therapist or health professional should keep an appropriate professional distance between themselves and their clients. Even a seemingly innocent friendship between a therapist and their client is inappropriate and could be detrimental to the therapeutic process.
If the therapist belongs to a professional body such as the UKCP (UK Council for Psychotherapy) or BACP (British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy) they will be very aware of the importance of observing professional boundaries.
Some breaches of boundaries can be very subtle and you may not even be aware that they are an issue. Examples might include:
- Encouraging dependency by increasing the frequency of your sessions unnecessarily
- Exploiting you financially by increasing your prices by an unreasonable amount
- Developing a friendship with you outside of your therapy sessions
- Discussing specific details of their personal life or problems with you
- Sexual conduct or even touching and hugging
- Giving or receiving of gifts
- Entering into any form of business dealings or employment relationship with you
- Holding therapy sessions at inappropriate venues that lack suitable privacy
This is not an exhaustive list and we can advise you on whether or not any other events have occurred that might amount to a breach of professional boundaries.
Who can I claim against?
If you feel you've experienced abuse or a breach of professional boundaries from any healthcare provider, we recommend that you contact us for advice. Among others, we have experience of claims against the following types of professional:
- Community Psychiatric Nurses
- Health & Social Care Professionals
How can legal advice help me?
As the above examples show, breaches of professional boundaries can be very subtle and difficult to spot. By taking legal advice from an experienced specialist, with a deep knowledge of the therapeutic process, you can assess whether or not your therapist has breached their professional boundaries. If they have, we can advise not only on legal action but also on the complaints and regulatory processes of any organisations they may belong to.
Taking legal advice is not a point of no return - you don't need to take any action unless you feel happy to do so. Our clients often feel much clearer and happier as the case progresses, but we recognise that you may not feel ready to take legal action soon after a bad experience with a therapist or professional.
How is legal advice funded?
There are various options of funding for claims. Many of our cases are funded using Conditional Fee Agreements, also called a ‘No Win No Fee’ medical negligence claim. In a Conditional Fee Agreement, you will only pay for our solicitors’ work if we win the case for you. We can explain all the options to you and advise you on the best way to fund your case if you choose to go ahead.
How can Switalskis help me?
Professional and Therapy Abuse is a highly-specialised area of the law. We believe that you should deal with a law firm with experience in this area if you have suffered abuse or neglect at the hands of a therapist or health professional. We have in-depth understanding of the therapeutic process, as well as the law and regulatory framework that therapists operate in.