This article originally appeared on Psychology Today.
In an ideal world, therapists are there to help relationships in trouble and give abused clients the space to heal from their traumas. But it’s possible for a therapist who isn’t familiar with the signs of coercive control to prevent an abused party from getting the help they need.
For 23 years, I heard experiences from women in my Recovery Groups for Women with Controlling Partners, that therapy was unhelpful and actually hurtful. The common denominator is often a therapist who is uneducated about psychological and physical abuse in intimate relationships—a reality that’s supported by a 2013 study of mental health professionals. The recipient is often confused, in denial, and minimizing psychological abuse from an intimate partner. These issues underscore the need for therapists to be informed in order to help.