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Effects of therapist abuse eerily similar to those of sex trafficking

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The trauma experienced by those that have been sex trafficked is seemingly incomprehensible. Victims of this horrific crime suffer from adverse effects for the rest of their lives.

Victims of sexual exploitation by mental health professionals, also known as therapist abuse, suffer adverse effects from their trauma as well. The list of those effects, however, is eerily similar to those that are victims of sex trafficking.

Effects suffered by victims of sex trafficking:

  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
  • Depression
  • Disconnection from feelings and flat affect
  • Anxiety disorders
  • Self-blame
  • Hopelessness, helplessness
  • Nightmares – dreams of rapes, sexual assaults, physical abuse
  • Anger and anger management issues Suicidal ideation and attempts
  • Paranoia
  • Stockholm Syndrome
  • Spiritual disruption
  • Fatalism and rage
  • Dual diagnosis
  • Self-care issues
  • Sleeping issues
  • Disassociative disorders

Effects suffered by victims of therapist abuse:

  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
  • Cognitive dysfunction (including attention, memory, and concentration)
  • Emotional lability or intense emotional eruptions
  • Emptiness and isolation
  • Impaired ability to trust
  • Guilt
  • Increased suicidal risk, 1 in 100 succeed
  • Role reversal and boundary confusion
  • Stockholm Syndrome
  • Sexual confusion (including believing their only worth is to provide sexual gratification to others)
  • Suppressed anger which may lead to self-loathing, self-punishment, and self-destructive behaviors

Sex trafficking is a crime throughout the United States, and rightly so. Sexual exploitation by mental health professionals is only a crime in 27 states.

Furthermore, according to Psychiatric and Mental Health Rape Reporter, up to 25% of psychiatrists and psychologists use their patients for sex. This means that when survivors of sex trafficking enter therapy they have nearly a 25% chance of compounding their trauma even further.

So how is this not a crime in 23 states?

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