I was disheartened to read about a local therapist’s inappropriate relationship with a client. It was sad and shocking. I am just as concerned about the quote from another therapist, saying therapists are “getting away with things that would never fly in a big city.” This is an irresponsible and inaccurate description of the local mental health profession. As a licensed professional providing psychotherapy and supervision for 33 years, my experience is completely different than this erroneous comment implies.
Unlike urban areas, therapists in rural settings can run into clients in social venues outside of therapy. Dual relationships can also occur more frequently. I find that psychotherapists in supervision are often processing the ethical navigation of these situations. Most mental health providers are committed to “doing the right thing,” when placed in complex circumstances. There are exceptions and ethical violations, as was reported in the article; these stories are truly the exception.
This comment describing the mental health culture is damaging, in addition to being inaccurate. To characterize the profession in this way is not helpful to clients seeking services, creating unnecessary fear.
This breech of ethics and the fallacious quote do not reflect the psychotherapists I have been conversing with in the mental health field. I do wish The Durango Herald had talked to more long-term psychotherapists before publishing one quote about ethics in our community. It does a disservice to the mental health profession to have offered such a negative and limited point-of-view.
Ruby Jo Walker