Resources: Suggested Readings

This bibliography has been gathered from suggestions by members of the TELL network.  If you have found other books that you would like us to include, please send us the names of the authors, titles, publishers, cities of publication, publication dates, brief descriptions of the books, and why you found them helpful.

Bates, CM and Brodsky, AM., Sex in the Therapy Hour: A Case of Professional Incest. Guilford Press, New York, 1989.
This early book includes a first person account of abuse by a psychotherapist and the analysis by the expert witness in the legal case of the extensive damage that was done.

Beutler, LE, Bongar, B. and Shurkin, JN., Am I Crazy, or is it My Shrink?: How to Get the Help You Need. Oxford University Press, New York, 1998.
Despite its somewhat glib title, this is a useful book for anyone looking for a psychotherapist and trying to decide how to evaluate treatment styles that best suit and serve one’s needs.

Bisbing, SB, Jorgenson, LM, and Sutherland, PK., Sexual Abuse by Professionals: A Legal Guide. The Michie Company, Charlottesville, VA, 2000.
This is the only truly comprehensive guide for attorneys handling therapist sexual exploitation cases.  If your attorney doesn’t have ready access to
this book, urge him or her to get it.

Bloom, JD, Nadelson, CC, and Notman, MT., Physician Sexual Misconduct. American Psychiatric Press, Washington, D.C., 1999.
This book contains a series of informative essays by professionals and victims/survivors on the ethical, legal, educational and therapeutic problems that arise when boundaries are crossed in physician-patient relationships.

Boulanger, G., Wounded by Reality: Understanding and Treating Adult Onset Trauma, The Analytic Press, 2007.
This book clearly differentiates the impact of adult onset trauma from the impact of childhood trauma. Writing primarily for a professional psychoanalytic audience, Ghislaine Boulanger eloquently describes the importance of treating the victim of adult onset trauma in the "here and now" reality. She describes the harm that befalls the adult victim when a subsequent therapist links the current trauma in any way to past traumas. Though this book does not deal with the particular trauma of abuse within psychotherapy, Boulanger's message is one that should be read and understood by all subsequent treaters of victims of abuse within psychotherapy. Victims themselves will find this book useful in helping them to stop blaming themselves for what has befallen them at the hands of their therapist perpetrators.

Bridges, NA., Moving Beyond the Comfort Zone in Psychotherapy. Jason Aronson, Lanham, MD, 2005.
While written for therapists, this book may also serve as a resource for victims/survivors who want to understand the differences between therapy as a “safe place” and therapies that may be potentially harmful.

Campbell, TW., Beware the Talking Cure: Psychotherapy May Be Hazardous to Your Mental Health. Upton Books, Boca Raton, FL, 1994.
This author argues that mental health practitioners need to rethink their perceptions of their patients in order to do no harm.  The book is heavily footnoted and contains a list of questions for evaluating a therapist.

Carnes, PJ., The Betrayal Bond: Breaking Free of Exploitive Relationships. Health Communications, Deerfield Beach, Florida, 1997.
This book explores trauma bonds, i.e., powerful connections to abusive people created by a betrayal of trust. The author discusses how traumatic bonds are formed and strengthened, their devastating impact, and ways to dissolve them.

Cohen, E., The Empowered Patient, Ballentine Books, New York, 2010.
While not specifically dealing with psychotherapist-patient relationships, Cohen makes clear that patients do not need to accept rudeness, arrogance, and other inappropriate behaviors from their physicians (and insurance companies). She gives practical suggestions for finding the right treater, disagreeing with or challenging questionable diagnoses or treatments, and even "firing" treaters whose treatment is questionable or clearly inappropriate.

Curtis, S., Doctored: A True Story. Inanna Publications and Education, Inc., Toronto, 2010.
This book is a moving first-person account by a Canadian woman who was sexually and emotionally abused by her family doctor to whom she had turned for help with issues of anxiety caused by early childhood trauma. When she reports the doctor, she faces the frustrating and anti-female bias of the medical and legal systems—and prevails.

Dentz, S., door of thin skins (Emerging Voices), CavanKerry Press, Ltd. Fort Lee, NJ., 2013.

Using poetry and prose, Dentz describes how a sexually and psychologically exploitative psychotherapist undermined her understanding of herself, destroyed her intuition and defenses, and left her questioning her perceptions of her world.  Dentz’s 82 emotionally-charged pages inspire those who may want to use creative expression to describe their exploitation, to vent, and to heal. 

Dolnick, E., Madness on the Couch: Blaming the Victim in the Heyday of Psychoanalysis. Simon & Schuster, New York, 1998.    This author, the former chief science writer for The Boston Globe, offers a damning indictment of psychoanalysis as unscientific and explores why and how it became popular.  The author suggests that despite good intentions, it is a practice that has destroyed many lives.

Dorpat, TL., Gaslighting, the Double Whammy, Interrogation, and Other Methods of Covert Control in Psychotherapy and Analysis. Jason Aronson, Lanham, MD, 1996.
This book explores the various subtle ways patients are indoctrinated and controlled in psychotherapy and analysis—using accepted methods—and without the clinician being aware that this is happening.

Edelwich, J. and Brodsky, A., Sexual Dilemmas for the Helping Professional. Brunner/Mazel, New York, 1991.
The authors explore the emotional and sexual complexities of the practice of psychotherapy in a text best-suited for interested professionals.

Engel, B., The Emotionally Abused Woman: Overcoming Destructive Patterns and Reclaiming Yourself. Random House, NY, 1990.
This book offers a step-by-step process for recovering from relationships that have been emotionally and physically abusive. The reader is given concrete ways of confronting her self-defeating behaviors and overcoming them.

Forward, S., Emotional Blackmail: When People in your Life use Fear, Obligation, and Guilt to Manipulate You. Harper Paperback, NY, 1998.
This straight-talking book offers a clear picture of what emotional blackmailers are like, how they operate, and gives concrete strategies for dealing with manipulative people.

Friedman, J. and Boumil, MM., Betrayal of Trust: Sex and Power in Professional Relationships. Praeger Trade, Westport, CT., 1995.
Written by a lawyer and a psychologist for a professional audience, this book explores the abuse of power by health care professionals from those perspectives.

Gabbard, GO. ed., Sexual Exploitation in Professional Relationships. American Psychiatric Press, Inc., Washington, D.C., 1989.
A wide-ranging selection of short essays by some of the leading authorities in the field, this book gives a useful and interesting historical overview of the problem, how it happens, suggestions for treatment, and suggest approaches for rehabilitation of offenders.

Gabbard, GO. and Lester, EP., Boundaries and Boundary Violations in Psychoanalysis. Basic Books, New York, 1995.
This book opens with a forward that suggests that boundary violations occur less frequently in psychoanalysis than in other areas of psychotherapy, a suggestion absolutely not borne out by our experience.  Beyond that, the book attempts to present a difficult topic in a frank and honest manner.

Godley, W., Saving Masud Khan. London Review of Books, 23:4, 3-7, 2/22/01. (
In a classic essay, the writer describes what he characterizes as a "disastrous encounter with psychoanalysis which severely blemished my middle years."

Gonsiorek, JC., ed., Breach of Trust: Sexual Exploitation by Health Care Professionals and Clergy. Sage Publications, Thousand Oaks, CA., 1995.
This book offers a thorough exploration of nearly every aspect of the sexual abuse of clients by health professionals and members of the clergy.  Contributors include attorneys, physicians, psychologists, social workers, ministers, victims and their advocates.  The best endorsement that can be made for this essential book—published ten years ago—is its relevance now.

Hare, R.D., Without Conscience: The Disturbing World of the Psychopaths Among Us. The Guilford Press, NY, 1999.

Psychopaths are fully aware of the consequences of their actions and know the difference between right and wrong; yet they are self-centered, have no ability to feel responsible for their actions, and are unable to care about the feelings of others. To their unsuspecting targets, they generally appear not just normal but disarmingly charming. Robert Hare presents a compelling portrait of these dangerous men and women, describes their predatory behavior, the ways in which they lie and manipulate their way through life, how can they be recognized, and how can we protect ourselves from them.

For more on this subject, see:><

Herman, E., The Romance of American Psychotherapy. University of California Press, Berkeley, CA, 1995.
This book puts into perspective the ways in which psychotherapy has gained enough power in our society to have a significant impact on our political and cultural lives and has thus been allowed to define what is normal, sane, and acceptable.

Herman, J., Trauma and Recovery: The Aftermath of Violence—From Domestic Abuse to Political Power. Basic Books, New York, 1992.
Arguably the best book ever written on trauma and recovery. Herman is a clinical professor of psychiatry and practicing therapist who draws on extensive research and her own clinical practice to bridge the personal and political realities of surviving and healing from trauma.  If you are going to read only one book, this should be it.

Hirogoyen, MF., Stalking The Soul: Emotional Abuse and the Erosion of Identity, Helen Marx Books, 2004.
This book describes how emotional abuse develops between partners in relationships and in the workplace. Though this book does not talk about abuse within psychotherapy, it describes very clearly how abuse occurs when an abusive individual has power over another person: "A narcissistic abuser grows in stature at the expense of the other; (the narcissistic abuser) also avoids any inner or spiritual conflict by shifting the responsibility for what is wrong onto the other person. If the other is responsible for the problem, wrong-doing, guilt, and suffering don't exist (for the abuser). This defines emotional abuse." (p.5)

Jehu, D., Patients as Victims: Sexual Abuse in Psychotherapy and Counselling.  John Wiley & Sons, Chichester, England, 1994.
This book should be in every clinician’s library and provides a useful reference for victims/survivors as well.

Kelley, JL., Psychiatric Malpractice: Stories of Patients, Psychiatrists, and the Law. Rutgers University Press, New Jersey, 1996.
This book presents a series of first person accounts of abuse by psychiatrists.  Written for consumers and professionals, it includes an analysis of the victims’ malpractice cases, who won, and why.

Kerr, J., A Most Dangerous Method: The Story of Jung, Freud and Sabina Spielrein. Alfred A. Knopf, New York, 1993.
This book, which recounts the history of psychoanalysis and the questionable boundaries of early practitioners, may be best suited for professionals and scholars.

Levine, PA., Waking the Tiger: Healing Trauma. North Atlantic Books, 1997.
This book presents useful methods for working with trauma that has been internalized in the body.

Lifton, RJ., The Nazi Doctors: Medical Killing and the Psychology of Genocide. Basic Books, New York, 1986.
This book offers an in-depth, monumental study of the ultimate transgression of the Hippocratic Oath, a must reading for anyone who seeks to understand how trained healers can come to disregard ethical norms and develop a “double” private/public self.

Loring, MT., Emotional Abuse: The Trauma and the Treatment. Jossey-Bass, Indianapolis, 1998.
Written for subsequent-treating therapists, this book describes subtle and not-so-subtle forms of abuse of clients in psychotherapy and suggests ways to treat those clients.

Lott, DA., In Session: The Bond Between Women and Their Therapists. W.H. Freeman & Co., New York, 1999.
As a medical writer and journalist, Lott explores the dynamics that tie patients to their therapists and make them vulnerable.  A must read for anyone who has asked, “How could I have been so stupid?”

Martinez-Lewi, L., Freeing Yourself from the Narcissist in Your Life. Penguin Group, New York, 2008.     
Written by a psychotherapist, this book explores narcissistic behavior including the narcissist's willingness to exploit others, the devastating impact of such behavior, and how one can recover from destructive relationships with narcissists.

Masson, JM., Final Analysis: The Making and Unmaking of a Psychoanalyst. Ballantine Books, New York, 2003.
This book presents a biting critique of analytic training and practice by an insider, including a look at transference from the analyst’s perspective.

Matsakis, A, I Can't Get Over It: A Handbook for Trauma Survivors. New Harbinger Publications, Inc., Oakland, CA, 1996.
This book gives basic information about the symptoms and biochemistry of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Three levels of victimization are spelled out: the primary trauma; the negative responses from family, friends, colleagues, etc. that comprise secondary victimization; and the tertiary form of "victim thinking." The author explores coping with triggers and triggering situations and makes many practical suggestions for healing. Although abuse by a health care professional is not specifically addressed, many have found this book helpful and informative.

McNamara, E., Sex, Suicide, and the Harvard Psychiatrist. Pocket Books, New York, 1995.
The author, a Boston Globe reporter, presents the story of Harvard Medical School student Paul Lozano and his relationship with his Harvard psychiatrist, Margaret Bean-Bayog, who has been blamed by many for his suicide.

Myers, WA., Shrink Dreams: Tales from the Hidden Side of Psychiatry, Simon & Schuster, New York, 1992.
This is a gutsy book by a psychiatrist who has been damned by his colleagues for exploring and exposing both his own sexual and abusive fantasies and those of his colleagues. He warns of what can happen when a therapist changes the focus of therapy from the patient’s needs to his/her own.

Naparstek, B., Invisible Heroes: Survivors of Trauma and How They Heal. Bantam Dell, New York, 2006.
While this self-help book does not deal specifically with abuse by psychotherapists, it suggests methods, such as guided imagery and meditation, that can prove useful to victims for healing and in their work with subsequent therapists. The author also offers a very good and down-to-earth review of PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder) that may be helpful to victims, especially at the start of their struggle, to understand what they are experiencing. This book may also be of use to subsequent treaters.

Noel, B., You Must Be Dreaming. Simon & Schuster, New York 1992.
Noel describes being drugged with sodium amytal and raped over an eighteen-year period by Dr. Jules Masserman, past president of the Illinois Psychiatric Society.

Penfold, PS., Sexual Abuse by Health Professionals: A Personal Search for Meaning and Healing. University of Toronto Press, Toronto, 1998.
This book offers an amazing combination of the personal and the professional. Not only does Dr. Penfold have the courage to come forward and describe her abuse in great detail under her own name, she also provides a professional framework for this type of abuse, including an explanation of the problem, the process, and the effects of professional sexual exploitation.

Peterson, MR., At Personal Risk: Boundary Violations in Professional-Client Relationships.  WW Norton & Co., New York, 1992.
Peterson explores the ethical basis for boundaries, the ways in which our society elevates professionals to positions of power, and the psychological impact of violations on patients/clients.

Plaisal, E., Therapist: The Shocking Autobiography of a Woman Sexually Exploited by her Analyst. St. Martin’s Press, New York 1985.
One of the few and earliest of the autobiographies of victims, this book reflects the anger and sadness that such abuse engenders.

Pope, KS. and Bouhoutsos, JC., Sexual Intimacy Between Therapists and Patients. Praeger, New York, 1986.
This is one of the early books that attempts to pull together the results of the available clinical studies of the time.  It is addressed largely to professionals.

Richardson, S., Cunningham, M., et al, Broken Boundaries: Stories of Betrayal in Relationships of Care., UK, 2008.
This book, compiled and published by Witness in the UK (, is a collection of compelling autobiographical stories by seven victims of sexual and emotional abuse by health professionals. The stories illustrate each victim’s pain, suffering and repeated losses as well as the professionals' callous self-interest and absence of care and compassion. The book will help victims move beyond their shame and self-blame, and help families, friends and  colleagues avoid re-victimizing the sufferer. It should be required reading for student health professionals and those who serve on disciplinary bodies.

Rogers, AG., A Shining Affliction: A Story of Harm and Healing in Psychotherapy. Viking Penguin,  NY, 1995.                                                                                                                       Recommended by several TELL Responders, A Shining Affliction is the true story of a psychotherapist in training who was greatly harmed by the broken boundaries of her much loved first therapist.  She recovers in the care of an excellent subsequent therapist.  Her personal story is interwoven with the story of the therapy she is providing to a five year old boy whose life parallels her own childhood traumas.  This is a beautifully written book that gives a complex view of both bad and good therapy.

Rutter, P., Sex in the Forbidden Zone: When Men in Power—Therapists, Doctors, teachers and Others—Betray Women’s Trust. Fawcett, Greenwich, CT, 1991.
This book has become a classic.  It combines a useful set of “war stories” with intelligent observations, analyses and thinking about the abuse of power by men.

Sands, A., Falling for Therapy: Psychotherapy from a Client’s Point of View.  Palgrave MacMillan, London, 2000.
“If the aim pf psychotherapy is to alleviate suffering, then the measure of its validity must be the extent to which it does or does not achieve that goal.  But who decides whether suffering has been alleviated, whether the well-being of the client has been promoted….” This book contains an extensive bibliography.

Schoener, GR. Et al., Psychotherapists’ Sexual Involvement with Clients: Intervention and Prevention. Walk-In Counseling Center, Minneapolis, 1990.
After a decade and a half, this is still the reigning “bible” of anyone who wants to understand the complexities and range of emotional and sexual abuse by psychotherapists.  It is more than 800 pages long and is available only through the Walk-In Counseling Center (if it is still in print).

Schouten, R. and Silver, J., Almost a Psychopath: Do I (or Does Someone I know) Have a Problem with Manipulation and Lack of Empathy? Hazelden Publishing/Harvard Health Publications,  Center City, MN, 2012.   If you have been wondering how your abusive therapist could have done the things he/she did to  you, despite his/her charm, intelligence, and professions of love, this book may hold some of the answers.  Written by two authors, one who holds both MD and law degrees and the other a former federal prosecutor and practicing criminal attorney, the book describes the confusing behavior of psychopaths and ‘almost-psychopaths’ and suggests that we cannot understand psychopathic behavior because we try to interpret it within the bounds of normalcy.  For more information on psychopathic behavior, see:>< & ><

Sennett, R., Authority. WW Norton & Co., New York, 1993.This book is useful to anyone seeking to understand the pathology of false forms of authority such as professionals who exploit patients/clients. Sennett characterizes such authorities as “seducers” who replace liberty with a false sense of security.

Shepherd, A., Mending the Shattered Mirror: A Journey of Recovery from Abuse in Therapy. Lexington, KY, 2016.

Professor Deborah Needleman Armintor of The University of North Texas writes of this book: Mending the Shattered Mirror is a beautifully written account of the healing and self-empowerment that can come from TELL peer advocacy in the wake of emotional abuse by a bad therapist. This book is required reading for all practicing therapists, therapists in training, victims of emotionally abusive therapists, their friends and family, TELL responders and advocates, and anyone who knows someone with DID. I am in awe of the author's wisdom, grace, strength, and intuition as both a writer and survivor. 

Smail, D., Power Interest and Psychology. PCCS Books, Ross-on-Wye, England, 2005.
A candid and reflective critique of psychology’s role in shaping the modern world of consumerism and propaganda, and its failures to demystify the human mind, but rather adding to the confusion, and too often focus on the mental, while denying the powerful roles of social structure and the physical world in shaping lives, by retired English clinical psychologist, professor and author.

Stout, M., The Sociopath Next Door. Broadway Books, New York, 2005.
Difficulties encountered in believing all people – including those we are most intimately involved with, are operating from the same motives and feelings of empathy as people tend to believe are common to all human beings. She describes signs to watch for, and what they indicate.

Strean, HS., Therapists who have Sex with their Patients: Treatment and Recovery. Brunner/Mazel, New York, 1993.
Strean attempts to present abusive therapists in a humane light, suggesting that, with time and patience, they can be “cured.” What he fails to deal with is the question of who is protecting the abusers’ patients while they are being treated over prolonged periods.

Subotsky, F, Bewley, S, Crowe, M., Abuse of the Doctor-Patient Relationship. RCPsych Publications, London, UK, 2010.
Written largely for medical professionals but fully accessible to lay readers, this book covers ethical issues through a series of case studies and chapters authored by UK experts on boundaries and boundary maintenance within various medical specialties. Appendices include codes of conduct and web-based resources.

Tower, G., Fish in a Barrel. Millenial Mind Publishing, Utah, 2004.
While the circumstances of this author's emotional and sexual abuse by a psychotherapist are unique to her, this book also gives useful insights into the vulnerabilities, sense of isolation and abandonment, and struggle to heal that are experienced by virtually all of us who have been exploited in similar settings. The rawness of this story may be triggering for some victims.

Trumpi, P., Doctors Who Rape: Malpractice and Misogyny. Schenkman Books, Inc., Rochester, Vermont, 1997.
A personal account by a patient who was drugged and raped by a psychiatrist and the path she takes to heal. The book also covers the medical, legal and social issues of this type of sexual abuse.

Tschan, W., Professional Sexual Misconduct in Institutions: Causes and Consequences,  Prevention and Intervention. Hogrefe, Germany, 2013.

In clear and accessible language, and through the use of actual cases, Tschan describes the impact of professional sexual misconduct (PSM) on individuals, organizations, and society.  He suggests practical ways to prevent it, considers effective treatments for victims, and suggests ways to rehabilitate offenders.  

The foreword to this book was written by TELL Responder Ann Van Regan.

Walker, E. and Young, PD., A Killing Cure. Henry Holt & Co., 1986.
This first person account is by a patient who was drugged and emotionally and sexually abused by her psychiatrist, attempted to commit suicide, lost her family, and ultimately rebuilt her life.

Walsh, Giorgia, Psicoanalisi in rosso (Psychoanalysis in Red). Sedizioni Edizioni, Mergozzo, Italy, 2014.  In Italian only.  See: 


This personal narrative of the author’s experience of sexual abuse by a psychotherapist belonging to the "Società Psicoanalitica Italiana" (Italian Psychoanalytical Society) of Pavia is one of the few books on this topic in Italy.  

Welt, SR & Herron, WG., Narcissism and the Psychotherapist, The Guilford Press, New York, 1990.

Written for professionals, this book explores narcissism in psychotherapists and the impact that narcissism has, both positive and negative, on their work with patients. The authors suggest that there may well be higher levels of narcissism among those who become psychotherapists than in the public at large.

To return to the Resources list, click here.

Home | About Us |Topics | Papers | Resources | Contact Us
© Copyright 2008-2011 Therapy Exploitation Link Line