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Ask Dr. Dombeck
Psychotherapy and Mental Health Questions

Unethical Counselor

Hello Dr Dombeck, my wife is an alcoholic (sober now for a few years) and suffers from depression, which I know is not uncommon however I am faced with a fairly unique situation. On entering her treatment program her counselor became emotionally involved with her, he had her living with him a few days after entering the centre. This relationship went on for about two years, there was nothing I could do to stop it or reason with her. We recently had the opportunity to rebuild our family of five, obviously we have three young children, after their relationship ended. I am now "blown away" (after about two years together) to hear that, as much a she loves me, she cannot live without him even though she would dearly have loved to keep our family together. We had a wonderful time together, sharing in the children's fun and enjoying some long overdue intimacy and she tells me that she loves me, however she feels she needs to be in a "safe place" and that is what he offers. She has an incredible fear of relapse, she never completed her recovery steps whilst living with him. You can imagine how angry I am with him as I feel he certainly breached every rule in the book and, in my mind, has created a dependency rather than a loving relationship. For the record, this is his third relationship formed with patients in AA recovery. I realize you wont have all the answers but it would be helpful at least to get a professional opinion on her state of mind, and his likely motives, as I need now to decide if he has "ruined" her for life and she will be unlikely to break the dependency of the "safe place" in order to love again.

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