Duped and Recouped

Duped and Recouped

by Nancy Fishman, PhD and Jeffrey Kottler, PhD

Empathy and compassion generally serve us well with our clients, but aren't necessarily the skills we need to navigate the world of running a practice. This story, excerpted from Duped: Lies and Deception in Psychotherapy serves as a cautionary tale.
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A Business Venture

As a young therapist in a solo practice, I routinely met a colleague for breakfast and peer supervision. I arrived at the neighborhood deli to find my former group therapy instructor waiting for me; his broad, toothy grin and Pacific-blue eyes were electric with anticipation. We had met during my doctoral studies.
I laughed. “What’s up?” “I thought you’d never ask!” blurted a very excited Jeffrey Kottler.
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Copyright © 2010 Routledge. Reprinted with permission.
Nancy Fishman, PhD has a solo (no surprise) private psychotherapy practice in Birmingham, Michigan, and specializes in marriage and family counseling and collaborative divorce.

Jeffrey A. Kottler, PhD is Professor of the Department of Counseling at California State University, Fullerton. Dr. Kottler has been a Fulbright Scholar in Iceland and Peru, as well as having lectured extensively around the world. He is also President and Co-Founder of the Empower Nepali Girls Foundation which provides educational scholarships for lower caste girls in rural Nepal who would otherwise be unable to attend school. Dr. Kottler has authored 80 books in psychology, education, and counseling, including On Being a Therapist, The Imperfect Therapist: Learning From Failure in Therapeutic Practice, Compassionate Therapy: Working With Difficult Clients, and The Assassin and the Therapist: An exploration of Truth in Psychotherapy and in Life. He co-edited Duped: Lies and Deception in Psychotherapy, from which this story was excerpted.
In the event that anyone reading this article thinks its hyperbole, I can vouch for truthfulness and accuracy of those events that I had personal knowledge; I was a therapist at the clinic for ten years.
Joe D.
Thank you for the honesty of a shared disaster. Many years ago I found myself as a newly licensed MFT in a group practice where one colleague was having an affair with a client, and several other therapists in the group was selling real estate investment stocks to clients. The office manager and owner of the practice, instead of dealing head on with these improprieties one weekend abruptly closed the clinic and told all of us(Six in number) to get out and find our own new locations. I was in charge of the office books at that time, and when all of the overhead expenses plus FICA stuff was all paid off, one of the therapists demanded to see the ledger books. I happily pointed to a trash truck moving down the street and told him the location of the dumpster bin where I had deposited the ledgers. Another therapist in that group, we discovered later, was attempting to intercept answering service messages directed to other therapists and direct those phone messages to himself. This was a conservative, fundamentalist group of therapists.
William Jack Treguboff, MFT, Ph.D.
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