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rhondasks's avatar

What would you do if your husband's therapist told your child you were a bad person?

Asked by rhondasks (28 points ) May 12th, 2010

A friend is in a contentious divorce, and this is what actually happened. The child is very young.

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26 Answers

Blackberry's avatar

It depends on how bad the parent is, but that is still pretty unprofessional on the doctors part.

rhondasks's avatar

The mother is a terrific mother—and never met the therapist. The therapist refused to meet with my friend—after my friend found out the therapist was seeing her daughter!

WestRiverrat's avatar

I think I would file a complaint with the appropriate licensing board. I might also have my lawyer send a Cease and Desist letter referring to the slander and defamation of character.

talljasperman's avatar

How do you know that the therapist said that to the child…? the meetings are confidential

rhondasks's avatar

The child told her mother that is what the therapist said.

talljasperman's avatar

So its he said she said… I would let it go…unless you can get a recording otherwise

marinelife's avatar

@WestRiverrat Is right on both counts.

rhondasks's avatar

@talljasperman I don’t know—the little girl had no reason to say this, except that it happened. There is no “proof” though.

Silhouette's avatar

I’d waltz my butt into the docs office and ask him how he came to his conclusion. How old is the child in question? I’d make it understood he was entitled to his opinion but he was not entitled to hoist his opinion off on to my child and as a professional he should already know that. Then I’d file a formal complaint.

Dr_Lawrence's avatar

@WestRiverrat ‘s answer is exactly what I would do. I would do everything possible to publicly discredit the therapist. I would challenge their professional credentials and have their reports or testimony exclude from the divorce proceedings.

WestRiverrat's avatar

@talljasperman If it was not potentially damaging to her child custody hearing, I might agree with you to let it slide. But here, she is fighting for her kid, I would pull out all the stops on this one.

SamIAm's avatar

why is the child going to the husband’s therapist?

susanc's avatar

How old is this child? No therapist would say such a thing. I doubt the therapist did say it. No need to believe every bad thing every divorcing parent says about every detail of every tiny action anyone connected to the other parent ever reports. Plus, this is not your problem, it’s your friend’s problem. Do nothing. Nothing. Listen, shake your head, reassure, withdraw.

lilikoi's avatar

Another vote for what @WestRiverrat said.

stardust's avatar

I’m curious about what @Samantha_Rae asked. It’s hard to know considering the context isn’t fully understood, but overall, I think that it’s unprofessional to say something like that to a kid. I might try to contact the therapist, but chances are that’d go against your friend – for obvious reasons.

rhondasks's avatar

The custody is no longer in question. The ex-husband took the child to his therapist on his own, without the mother’s knowledge or permission. That was happening for many months. After the mother found out, she contacted the therapist and tried to arrange a meeting. The therapist would not meet the mother. The mother informed her ex as well as the court representative that she was not okay with the child seeing the ex’s therapist. The court rep agreed. This meeting came after all that—presumably the last meeting. It was at this meeting the therapist is reported (by the child) as saying the mother was a mean person.

Nullo's avatar

I would be tempted to show the therapist just how bad I could be. I would, in any case, lodge a complaint.

YARNLADY's avatar

A person speaking to the child one time is not going to last long. Children are not stupid, and they can see for themselves if someone is a bad person or not.

SuperMouse's avatar

My ex-husband claims that his therapist told him to tell my children I was having a sexual affair that led to our divorce (I was not having a sexual affair). Our children are 11, 10, and 7. The ex took his therapist’s advice and told them. I told him that it is time for him to get a new therapist. I would tell your friend the same thing. Also, I agree with the comment upthread that someone needs to be notified of this unprofessional behavior.

trailsillustrated's avatar

I’m with @susanc on this one

rooeytoo's avatar

There are nut case therapists same as there are nut cases in all guises. So if it was said that is truly not professional or helpful. But knowing how children are and what expert manipulators they can be when in between divorcing parents, I would want a lot more proof that this was said before I started any sort of legal action.

LuckyGuy's avatar

Sorry, but in a contentious divorce involving children nothing can be believed 100%.
Unless you have a recorder going, I would not trust anything either party says.
This is not your fight. Do not get sucked into another couple’s black hole.

I can tell you from experience, if the husband confides in your husband and the wife confides in you their poison will spill into your marriage. They both either shade the truth or touch different parts of the elephant.

Even though everyone likes to look at a train wreck, try not to waste your time in that quicksand.

reverie's avatar

As others have said, if the therapist did say that to your friend’s child, it was wholly wrong and inappropriate.

Having said that, what clearly matters most is the feelings of the child in this situation. Obviously, whilst this will have caused considerable distress and anger to your friend, instead of putting energy into fighting with the therapist, taking legal action, publicly tarnishing their reputation, and so on, I’d just focus on the child, which is really all that matters. Presumably the child has already experienced enough turbulence with the separation of his or her parents, and it sounds like protracting that beyond what is necessary wouldn’t be in the best interests of the child.

If your friend can reassure and talk to her child about what was said and make sure he or she isn’t distressed, and if your friend continues to be a great mother as you have said she is, the child will know what sort of mother your friend is, regardless of what anyone else says.

rhondasks's avatar

@reverie Thanks for the good advice. I will pass this on. I suspect this would be her approach as well.

JeffVader's avatar

Id make a formal complaint to whatever governing body covers this individual.

Nullo's avatar

“You are a bad person, @rhondasks!” the therapist says.

“Oh yeah?” @rhondasks replies, glowering. “Maybe you’d like to tell me which of us deliberately puts “The Rapist” on our business cards?”

Horribly immature, and you’d likely feel stupid for saying it later on, but it would be delicious when you said it.

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