My friend's not fit to be a therapist

She's running around with a married man, sleeping with women, lying about it. Should I tell her university?


Cary Tennis
March 7, 2011 6:01AM (UTC)

Dear Cary,

I have a friend who is in graduate school to become a licensed family therapist and is set to graduate this summer. The issue is that she has recently become re-involved with a married man whom she works with. She was involved with this man two years ago until her now ex-girlfriend (yes, girlfriend) found out. She recommitted herself to her 10-year relationship and left the infidelity behind. Fast-forward two years later to her girlfriend deciding to end the relationship and asking her to move out.

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Almost immediately after the breakup she contacted an ex-girlfriend in the hopes of rekindling an old flame in addition to signing up for two online dating services. She had several dates with her ex-girlfriend and decided it was not to be only after declaring to all of her friends that they had a second chance at love. She then began dating a woman she met online. Now she's decided that she is still "in love" with the married man at work. Every day it seems she has a new story to tell about whom she is in love with and what her big plans are for the future.

The latest is that this married man has told her he is going to leave his wife to be with her. They have gone so far as to decide that they will lie to his children about her first name in order to keep her identity from his soon to be ex-wife since she too found out about the affair two years ago.

I cannot listen to any more of her drama and I question her sincerity about wanting to become a therapist. I also question her state of mind. She's been a lesbian for as long as I have known her and now she has decided that she wants to live with a married man with two kids?

It's becoming increasingly difficult to communicate with her. It makes me cringe and want to end my friendship with her.

Should she be reported to the university that she is attending as they are going to allow her to do her "practice therapy" with clients seeking professional help?

I think she needs professional help. As a therapist she will be held to a higher ethical standard yet she is engaging in unethical behavior.

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What should I do?

Drama-be-Gone

Dear Drama-be-Gone,

If I understand you correctly, you are considering contacting the university where your friend is being trained in counseling, to tell them about aspects of her private life to which you are privy, because you think these facts show she is unfit to counsel people -- even in a student role, under observation and supervision.

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These matters include the fact that she has deceived romantic partners, and that she is not maintaining a strict heterosexual nor a strict lesbian sexual orientation.

You seem to think these facts indicate she is unfit to be a counselor.

Others might say she has a complicated social life. Regardless of what we may think of her private life, it's her life. It's her private life.

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I suggest you stay out of it. If you want to stop being her friend, then stop being her friend. If you cannot listen to any more of her drama, then stop listening. But don't try to scuttle her professional career behind her back.

If you have things to say about your friend's conduct, say them to her face. If you think she needs professional help, tell her so. If you think she should not be seeing clients, tell her. That will give her some free practice in listening to things that are hard to hear.

You might also read aloud to her the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy code of ethics, which says,"Marriage and family therapists seek appropriate professional assistance for their personal problems or conflicts that may impair work performance or clinical judgment."

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Otherwise, as I say, I suggest you stay out of it.



January 2011 Creative Getaway

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Cary Tennis

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