In most sexual abuse and exploitation cases other inappropriate behavior comes first. Most of this behavior is  subtle and/or confusing to the client/patient. The behavior usually feels uncomfortable to the client/patient and is often gradual and difficult to detect and understand.

The following violations are all danger signs that something may be seriously wrong with your therapist.  I have highlighted all of the Red Flags that my wife experienced.


  1. Therapist tells sexual jokes or stories.
  2. Therapist discusses the therapist’s sex life or relationships.
  3. Therapist sits too close, initiating hugging, holding the patient or lying next to the patient.
  4. Therapist invites patient to lunch, dinner or other social activities.
  5. Therapist suggests a date or dating patient.
  6. Therapist changes the office’s business practices or schedules late appointments when no one is around.
  7. Therapist suggests having sessions or meetings outside of or away from the office.
  8. Therapist tells patient that he or she is special or that the therapist loves him or her.
  9. Providing or using alcohol or drugs during sessions.
  10. Suggesting or supporting the patient’s isolation from the patients support systems.
  11. Creates dependency on the therapist.
  12. Therapist asks for personal favors.
  13. Pushes you to disclose or discuss anything before you are ready.
  14. Touches you in any way that is uncomfortable.
  15. Therapist asks questions about your sex life when you are talking about an unrelated issue.
  16. Therapist offers to cut fees, see you for extended sessions with or without fee.
  17. Therapist tells you not to talk about your therapy with anyone else, that therapy is a secret.
  18. Therapist talks to you about his/her other patients.
  19. Therapist tells you, explicitly or implicitly, to stay away from friends and family.
  20. Therapist touches, fondles, hugs, or otherwise makes overt physical contact with you.
  21. Therapist gives you gifts or accepts them from you without discussion about their meaning.
  22. Therapist suggests that you trust him/her absolutely.
  23. Therapist asks you to work for or with him/her.
  24. Therapist requests detailed information on your finances.
  25. Therapist uses fines or other types of punishment for infraction of his/her imposed rules.
  26. Therapist seeks to borrow money, your car, or other of your belongings.
  27. Therapist shows up at your house or suggests that your house would be an appropriate place to meet.
  28. Therapist tries to get you together socially or romantically with his/her other patients.
  29. Therapist threatens you in any way.
  30. Therapist promises to be your caretaker and/or to protect you from others.
  31. Therapist justifies any behavior by telling you that you are special
  32. Therapist tells you that he/she has never felt this way about a patient before.
  33. Therapist does not have sufficient and specific training to address your issues.
  34. Therapist attempts to treat problems outside the scope of their experience or practice.
  35. Therapist is not interested in the changes you want to make or your goals for therapy.
  36. Therapist tries to mold you into their form.
  37. Therapist cannot define how they will help you to solve the issue or concern that brought you to therapy.
  38. Therapist provides no explanation of when you will know your therapy is complete.
  39. Therapist does not seek consultation with other therapists.
  40. Therapist makes guarantees and/or promises.
  41. Therapist has unresolved complaints filed with a licensing board.
  42. Therapist does not provide you with information about your rights as a client.
  43. Therapist is judgmental or critical of your behavior, lifestyle, or problems.
  44. Therapist looks down at you or treats you as inferior.
  45. Therapist blames your family, friends, or partner.
  46. Therapist encourages you to blame your family, friends, or partner.
  47. Therapist knowingly/unknowingly gets personal psychological needs met at the expense of  your therapy.
  48. Therapist tries to be your friend.
  49. Therapist initiates touch without consent.
  50. Therapist attempts to have a sexual or romantic relationship with you.
  51. Therapist tries to enlist your help with something not related to your therapy.
  52. Therapist discloses your identifying information without authorization or mandate.
  53. Therapist tells you the identities of other clients.
  54. Therapist discloses they have done personal therapy work.
  55. Therapist cannot accept feedback or admit mistakes.
  56. Therapist focuses extensively on diagnosing without also helping you to change.
  57. Therapist talks too much.
  58. Therapist does not talk at all.
  59. Therapist often speaks in complex terms that leaves you confused.
  60. Therapist acts as if they have the answers or solutions to everything and spends time telling you how to best fix or change things.
  61. Therapist believes that only the therapist’s counseling approach works and ridicules other approaches to therapy.
  62. Therapist is contentious with you or frequently confrontational.
  63. Therapist does not pay attention or appear to be listening and understanding you.
  64. Therapist answers the phone during your session.
  65. Therapist is not sensitive to your culture or religion.
  66. Therapist denies or ignores the importance of your spirituality.
  67. Therapist tries to push spirituality or religion on to you.
  68. Therapist does not empathize.
  69. Therapist empathizes too much.
  70. Therapist seems overwhelmed with your problems.
  71. Therapist seems overly emotional, affected, or triggered by your feelings or issues.
  72. Therapist pushes you into highly vulnerable feelings or memories against your wishes.
  73. Therapist avoids exploring any of your emotional or vulnerable feelings.
  74. Therapist does not ask your permission to use various psychotherapeutic techniques.
  75. Therapist tries to get you to exert overt control over your impulses, compulsions, or addictions without helping you to appreciate and resolve the underlying causes.