Posted by: Marie | May 11, 2009

(66) Conflict from different spiritual paths

Post #66
[Email from the president of the Colorado Association of Psychotherapists received on Saturday, August 9, 2008]

Hi Marie,

Thank you for your letter to CAP.

We on the CAP Board are not attorneys nor have any legal training. We do our best to practice in the most ethical, honest and caring way that we can.

Most professional organizations have codes of ethics that their members are expected to adhere to. CAP’s code is posted on our web site, as most organizations do. I don’t believe they get down to the level of detail having to do with such things as record-keeping, taking of notes, etc. CAP does not. My belief is that most speak in general terms having to do with being ethical, honest, and practicing within the scope of one’s training and education. The organizations of licensed fields, for example, psychology, social work, marriage and family counseling, addiction counselors, may have more specific requirements than organizations of unlicensed fields. You should have a disclosure statement from your therapist that explains his education and training. You can search the web for professional organizations appropriate to his background and look at their codes of ethics to see what they include.

I searched the Colorado Mental Health Statute and did not find any specific reference to what records a therapist is required to maintain nor anything having to do with what a session may cover. Therapy can go in 1000 different directions and isn’t something that can be legislated. There may be specific record-keeping requirements mandated by HIPPA, though they may not apply to all therapists.

The therapist plans the session based on what they, in their judgment, think is best for the client. Their education and experience plays a major role in designing a session plan.

It sounds like the gap between your expectations and what your therapist is providing is a large one. Religious beliefs and political beliefs, in particular, can frequently be a source of discord between people. That you and your therapist are on very different spiritual/religious paths probably makes it difficult for both of you.

Because you are not receiving the level of therapy you expected you may want to consider whether you want to continue therapy or not. This is a decision you will have to make on your own based on what’s in your heart and mind. I’m afraid I can’t advise you on what to do. Your confidence and trust in your therapist is probably long gone and you could be putting up a barrier that minimizes the benefits of the therapy.

Therapy is as much an art as it is a science and what a therapist does is a judgment call. If you believe your therapist has done something unethical, immoral, or illegal, you may want to consult an attorney who specializes in issues having to do with mental health practitioners. They would be in a better position to advise you about what is mandated by law for level of service.

I’m sorry I can’t provide you more specific guidance.
– Ed


  1. Marie,

    I look forward to what happens with every post you give. I’m sorry you had so much trouble with this therapist.

    From nearly the beginning of my therapy, my T shared with me that he had gone to HIS T with questions about me because he had so much trouble “structuring” my sessions. Finally, he and his T decided that my sessions couldn’t be structured like they usually are with clients. That actually was easier for me. If an alter is close, there is usually a reason and we go off in a different direction. Or sometimes, we go off in several directions during the same session, it just depends on who wants to get help or attention from T.

    Can’t wait for the next installment!

    • Hi, Ivory –

      I’m glad you are finding my blog so interesting, LOL! That’s nice to hear!

      It sounds like you have a really cool T . . . . that’s such a rare find . . . I’m glad for you!

      – Marie

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