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A confession of malpractice? The Yuval Carmi case – comment

CM 04/02/2021


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A psychologist who has sexual relations with his patient is breaking the code of conduct he agreed to when he signed on as a therapist. Israel Police announced earlier this week that a psychologist in Jerusalem was reported as having engaged in sexual misconduct with a patient. The moment his name, Yuval Carmi, was published, two more patients came forward and reported him, as well.People who experience a trauma, from mild to severe, are encouraged to seek medical assistance. This could include medication prescribed by a psychiatrist or therapy provided by a psychologist – or a combination.In therapy, the goal is for the patient to trust his or her therapist, someone who they did not know before, and open themselves up to help. They are vulnerable when they release their feelings to the person sitting across from them and ask how to place these broken pieces back together in a way that is easier to cope with.The power held in the seat of the listener is immense.

Becoming a psychologist involves a massive amount of learning and training. In Israel, to become a licensed therapist, one needs to have a master’s degree in clinical psychology, a full-time internship under instruction of a clinical psychologist for at least two years – some do four years part-time, instead – and a practicum that includes an exam upon completion.During the practicum, the psychologists-to-be are witnessed by professionals as they handle would-be professional circumstances. They may be tested on behavioral patterns. If something is “off” about them, it may be investigated, or they may simply receive a failing grade. Those testing them may search for faults in their mannerisms. After all, who psychoanalyzes the psychoanalysts? But beyond that, there is not much to say for integrity evaluation of psychologists. It would be unethical for a board of high-ranking people in the field to watch as a psychologist conducts a session with a patient. It would be inappropriate to videotape one. Beyond the examinations, as can be the case in other sensitive medical professionals, there is not much beyond trust keeping psychologists in the positions they hold.So how would a man like Carmi, who claimed that the sexual interactions with his patient were consensual, be spotted?In this specific case, he was reported by one of his patients. In an interview with N12, the patient explained that Carmi had collected a vast knowledge – as psychologists are expected to – about her past, her history, and her personal behavioral tendencies. He then took allegedly advantage of that to engage in sexual misconduct.Someone who, over the course of years and years of regularized conversation, has collected a vast array of knowledge about a person’s deepest inhibitions is quite easily capable of exploiting them. Nothing was there to stop him, especially not the victims of his assault. Because he has such knowledge about her, and as her psychologist who is seen as an authoritative figure in her life, there is no way his actions could be considered consensual.There is a long way to go for sexual assault to be eradicated in Israel. This is especially true during this pandemic, when people are cooped up, unemployed and tensions are high. But Carmi’s alleged type of malpractice, conducted in a professional environment, is not the same as what we are seeing with the increase of sexual violence during the pandemic. Perhaps the fault may be blamed on training; after all, if he honestly believed his actions were consensual, he seriously misunderstood some of the most basic teachings of psychology.Patients in these circumstances must be encouraged, despite their hardships, to come forward with their complaints and not keep their struggle internalized. Such actions are oftentimes difficult. They develop a personal relationship with their therapists and may feel that acting is a betrayal of a mutual trust – despite the psychologist being the initial violator. There is also the fear of victim-blaming. Indeed, many respond that the psychologist is innocent until proven guilty. But isn’t his confession of sexual relations with a patient already a confession of malpractice?And so, victims must come forward. In order to allow for that, they must be offered a safe environment within which they may do so. Israel must learn to create points of contact in every industry, organization, society, and sector that offer a comfortable place to open up. And even more so, victims must be listened to so that they can cope and heal.
Source: Jerusalem Post

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CM

The host of Coffee Mouth Scare Crow Show and CEO of 452 Impact, Inc. Here is food for thought. Romans 6:23 "For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord." John 3:16 "For God so love ed the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him shall be saved."

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