starry3yedgrl (starry3yedgrl) wrote in _survivors_,

Do therapists have to report physical abuse?

I'm hoping someone can help me with a question I have.  My boyfriend and I have been seeing a couples counselor for almost a year now for our issues.  He has a  bad temper and gets angry very easily, short fuse, can go from happy and loving to angry and frustrated in a matter of minutes and he has gotten physical with me (ie throwing things near me like a small empty tin or bottle caps, and typically shoves me when we get into bad fights, if it matters he has never slapped me or punched me or anything like that....not trying to make light of it, just trying to paint an accurate picture).  In some ways the counseling has helped, but it all seems to be a temporary band aid and he falls off the wagon a lot (in his attempt to change, he isn't an addict of anything).  We have had issues with our therapist for a while, not agreeing with stuff she says or her approach to things.

Her main theme seems to be harping on the fact that he is like a little kid and I have to treat him as such and that he is not at my maturity level to think and behave in the same way I do.  We've asked her repeatedly for some tools or resources or some tips on how to diffuse his anger, but she constantly seems to stick to the fact that he isn't ready for that yet, that once we can get his maturity level to where it should be, then we can work on the tools for anger management.  She also focuses on what I can do to diffuse his anger, which I admit can be helpful.  But, his anger isn't just with me, and he needs to learn to diffuse it on his own because not everyone he comes across will know he has anger issues and that they have to be the one to keep from escalting the situation.  I feel like she is just enabling him to continue acting the way he is by reinforcing his belief that he cannot help it or has no control over it.  She also says a lot that I signed up for this and I accept this since I choose to stay in the relationship.  I understand that to a one if forcing me to stay in this relationship, but I want to focus on getting him better and getting us better, rather than telling me I just have to deal with it because I chose it.  He wants to change also, last night he said he is tired of hurting me and tired of not treating me right.  He said he doesn't know why he does the things he does, and he wants help to stop doing them.

I also feel at this point that she feels like we're hopless so she isn't really trying anymore.  Like last week I had to go somewhere so he went to the session alone and she let him manipulate the session and talk about bullcrap the entire time rather than steering him back to more relevant conversation.  We're not paying her to sit and chit chat about work and who knows what else the entire time.  I found a church nearby that offers anger management counseling and I am going to call the guy today to see what he can do for us, and if it works out I would like to stop going to her and try this (or something else if this doesn't work out, I just don't want to see her anymore).  The problem is, we never told our current therapist that he gets physical.  I think she senses it, and she has told him before that given the way he gets mad that she predicts he will become a hitter one day...but other than that we have never come out and said that he gets physical with me.  I think it is a vital thing for the therapist to know that, so if we start seeing someone new I would like to tell them, but I am scared.

Does anyone know if the law requires a therapist to press charges or take some kind of legal action if they know there is physical abuse(we live in Michigan by the way, if each state is different).  I'm not saying this to defend my boyfriend or his actions, but I really don't see how pressing charges (especially after the fact) will help our situation at all.  If he has a record he is never going to be able to get a better job, if he can keep the one he has now, and I just cannot imagine all the additonal problems this would cause.  Of course it is not right that he gets physical with me, but I have never felt that my life was in danger or that I needed to call the police, and he is 100% on board with trying to get help, so we're just trying to save our relationship and, well his life as well.  Because not surprisingly I am not his first girlfriend that he has had these problems with, and his anger affects everything from his family members to his job, so he obviously wants to get help for more reasons than just our relationship.  If anyone has any knowledge of what the law is, I would really appreciate the input.
Tags: anger management, relationships, seeking opinions, therapy

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