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I'm 19 And I Was Raped By My Father - Will A Psychologist Have To Report This?

Published: October 09, 2015
Dear I'm 19 And I Was Raped By My Father - Will A Psychologist Have To Report This?,

Dear FX, My father raped me and I was pregnant with his child. I decided to have an abortion without telling anyone about it. I am 19 year old. If I tell my psychologist, does she have to report what happened? I am not ready to go to court (or report it). Is my psychologist obliged to report it. I do not live with him anymore. Thank you so much,


Dear I'm 19 And I Was Raped By My Father - Will A Psychologist Have To Report This?,

TeenHealthFX is very sorry to hear what you have been through. Dealing with the anger, fear and pain that can be associated with rape (especially if you have been dealing with this all on your own) is an extremely hard thing to do. So FX fully supports your decision to seek out therapy for yourself.

 

As for your question about confidentiality, the privilege between an adult victim and their therapist is held by the victim, not the therapist. The therapist may ask if the rape has been reported and may ask some questions so that he/she can better understand why or why not. However, the therapist cannot disclose what was shared without violating their own professional code of conduct. The main reason for this is that if mental health professionals could disclose these conversations to law enforcement, it might discourage victims from seeking out help.

 

As we said above, FX definitely agrees that it is very important for you to meet with a reputable mental health professional, such as a clinical social worker or clinical psychologist, to help you deal with what you have been through. During your first meeting you can start by asking the therapist what his/her policies are regarding confidentiality. If you have any concerns about that therapist’s particular policy, or don’t find the therapist to be warm, non-judgmental or competent, then it is completely fine to try someone else until you find someone who is a good fit for you.

 

If you live in northern New Jersey and need help finding a therapist you can call the Access Center from Atlantic Behavioral Health at 888-247-1400. Outside of this area you can log onto the US Department of Health and Human Services Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration website for referrals in your area. You can also contact your insurance company to get a list of in-network mental health providers or check with your school social worker or psychologist to get a list of referrals in your area.

FX also recommends that you take a look at the RAINN (Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network) website. There is a tremendous amount of valuable information, including information about the impact of rape, as well as hotlines, online hotlines, and information for finding local therapists who specialize in treating victims of rape.

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