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Wednesday, July 3, 2024

Dr. Backs Email

 Dear Dr.  Backs, 


I hope this letter finds you well. I've copied my father on this email so he understands how I feel to avoid any misinformation. In my previous letter dated December 5, 2023, I expressed concerns that during the sessions, you and my father repeatedly put me in the middle of grown up problems, discuss past and ongoing legal stuff, use court orders to intimidate me, sharing information that isn’t true or twisting the law to put pressure on me.  Regrettably, these concerns persist, prompting me to write this letter.


During our December 6, 2023 session, you gave me a printout about the “Goals of Reunification Therapy” which also included “What does not happen in reunification therapy”.   It was the first time I saw this list.  One of the main goals was to “repair” issues related to “resistance and refusal” between me and my father.  Some of those issues include:  trust, emotional and psychological abuse, coercive control, constant chaos, pitting family members against each other, and putting me or siblings in the middle.

Trust is a crucial element in any therapeutic relationship.  There is a clear lack of trust between us on both sides.  Recent incidents have further eroded the foundation of trust necessary for effective therapy.   During our sessions, I have experienced distress and anxiety stemming from what I perceive as manipulative and emotionally abusive behavior by you as the reunification therapist.  I continue to follow court orders and attend the reunification sessions but my participation is not voluntary.  I want to bring specific instances to your attention:


Misrepresentation of Feelings: On December 6th, 2023 I attended reunification therapy with you and my father.   In response to the email/letter I sent you the day before expressing the distress and anxiety that stemmed from the sessions and that I felt unsafe in these sessions due to you and my father’s behaviors, you attempted to twist my words and create confusion by responding in two ways.  First, you deflected my concerns about emotional/therapeutic abuse by focusing on an issue I did not bring up and stating you did not feel my physical safety was an issue during the sessions.  Second, my feelings about your specific behaviors were dismissed as normal reactions to individuals participating in reunification therapy.  This response deflected from addressing the specific behaviors of your actions and how you were implementing the process that was causing my distress.  You essentially blamed me for the distress that you caused by not following your own rules and engaging in behaviors that do not follow the rules and guidelines mandated by Texas counselors.


Intimidation Tactics: Instances where I felt coerced, such as the suggestion that my mother could be held in contempt or the misinformation about HIPAA, created an atmosphere of intimidation.


The Coercive Involvement of Family Members in Therapy Sessions: I feel the involvement of my sister being put in the middle and used in a way that seemed coercive to get me to do things I would not otherwise do is inappropriate and counterproductive.  The session ended in disaster with my sister crying and then punished for her behavior that had a negative impact on our relationship.


During a session on December 7th, 2023 you suggested including my 9 year old sister, Cecilia, in therapy.  I expressed I was uncomfortable with putting her in the middle of this. I conveyed that involving her was neither a good idea nor in her best interest. Despite telling you I would not participate in sessions that unnecessarily put Cecilia in the middle, you insisted she would come to the office to participate in a session.  On December 13th, 2023 my sister came for the session and I remained in the waiting room.   Cecilia repeatedly left your room to be with me and expressed wanting to stay with me, leading to you asking me to leave the waiting room and to wait outside by the building’s front door.  Cecilia continued seeking my company, and I could hear her crying and getting upset shortly after you came out to let me know I could leave to go home. When I asked to say goodbye to Cecilia, you denied the request, displaying a disregard for my feelings and concerns about involving her.  I feel this incident underscores a lack of consideration for my and my little sister’s well being, introducing my 9 year old sister into the complexities of my relationship with my father at a stage where civil conversation between us are unattainable.  Additionally, bringing my sister to a session was irrelevant to your stated goal of repairing issues related to “resistance and refusal” between my father and me.


Attempted Manipulation and Bias Toward my Mom:   I feel you tried to turn me against my mom and family by googling them during our sessions and only talking about negative stuff as if it’s true.   This act modeled that I should see the worst in my family versus focusing on anything positive.


Breaking the Rules / Violations of Trust:


·  Your attempts to turn me against my mother, using online searches during sessions, contradict your written goal of not addressing individual issues about a parent.

·  Reading negative information, as if fact, found on Google aloud to me resulted in the formation of "faulty beliefs" and "negative narratives" about my mom and family. This directly contradicts your stated goal of addressing and resolving such beliefs and narratives.  It appears that you contributed to the very issues you were allegedly aiming to treat.

·  Video Recording Session, Violating Your Own Rule of No Recording:


In a prior session, I feel you were intimidating me when you led me to believe in clear and direct language that if I recorded our sessions, I would be in violation of HIPPA.  Yet, on January 10, 2024 session, you decided to use your cell phone to video the session between you, me and my father in violation of your own contract and according to you, in violation of HIPPA.  You stated that you were recording me for your own safety.  I don’t trust you and have serious concerns about my safety.  You clearly don’t trust me and have concerns about your safety.  There is no way the therapeutic relationship can continue when there is no trust and concern of safety on both sides.  I expressed my discomfort being video taped and having a video camera on my face.  I left the session and sat in the waiting room until 8pm.  This was another session that did nothing to facilitate trust in our therapeutic relationship.  The session did nothing to work toward repairing my specific issues of trust with my father related to “resistance and refusal”.  Licensed counselors have a duty to protect clients from harm in group settings.   I feel that using techniques such as videotaping me were meant to intimidate, harass, and shame me

Reunification Therapy