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21 Jul 2010

Transgressing therapists and rebound relationships
Dear Professor Simpson.

I have been following the incident of the " lovesick"  therapist with great interest. As a psychologist I am not officially represented by SASOP and perhaps this is a good thing. However being in the same field, I hang my head in shame. For any organisation which purports to promote the interests of the profession it represents to ask a patient for their assurances (I would presume she meant in not taking the matter further, presumably to Health Professions Council)! To me, this is way overstepping their mandate and smacks more of protecting the therapist involved. To be told that the therapist is academically revered is preposterous, arrogant and quite frankly irrelevant to the concerns raised! I hang my head in shame.

Then to the issue of rebound which appears so frequently in your posts. The psychological consequences of a rebound relationship are well documented. Perhaps one needs to view this from a different perspective. The fact that a potential partner is wanting to take time out to review and assure themselves of their true feelings and intentions, although perhaps ill-timed, could perhaps be seen as a sign of respect and maturity? Perhaps not altogether comforting but something to consider.

Keep well Professor.

Regards Indignant Granny
Answer 355 views

01 Jan 0001

Dear IG,
Thank you so much for your thoughtful, and kindly comments. I hope we can continue to hear more of your excellent contributions here.
On the first issue, yes, I remain seriously troubled by the miscreant therapist, in so many ways. The ethical issues seem so very clear, yet none of the supposedly responsible authorities seem to have acted creditably. For any professional group to urge a complaining patient to take no further action on what seems to have been blatantly improper conduct, would be disgraceful. Especially when possibly taking advantage of a patient actually remarkably not vengeful and already for various reasons not wishing to cause unnecessary trouble. But sometimes there is necessary trouble. To set precedents that apparently because someone is eminent in their profession ( I have no idea who the individual actually is ) they should be shielded is troubling. If, as it seems, they are a senior academic, one has concerns about what he is ( or isn't ) treating the students about proper professional conduct.
Then, having protected the person from the ordinary consequences of their actions, to give them only a tiny slap on the wrist by suggesting some supervision which they should have aranged for themselves long, long ago, is unimpressive.
The episode reminds me of my involvement in tring to bring to book another, far more appalling, academic whose misconduct was legendary and widely known. Someone remarked to me : "He kinda makes you ashamed to be a doctor, doesn't he ?" I responded : "NO, he makes me ashamed to be a mammal".
I am not sure whether the erring doc was a member of the small group of Cape Town shrinks who complained about my broad comments, but I can't help wondering. Our society really needs to stop tolerating complaints about whistleblowers, and rather pay attention to what the whistle is being blown about.
Anyhow. As for the Rebound. I agree with you, of course - the problems of rebound relationships are indeed well-known, except, apparently, to those rebounding ! And its interesting, isn't it, how there were several messages in the same week about thie issue, with the one party complaining about a rebounding partner who seemed, indeed, to be behaving responsibly and helpfully, by seeking a delay in the rush forward, to collect themselves andre-think the situation. I agree that the person complained about seemed to have been showing maturity and real respect - something we always need, but often don't appreciate.
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