Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Honoring Jan Wohlberg

April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month

Honoring Jan Wohlberg

For nearly twenty-five years Jan Wohlberg has dedicated a great portion of her life to helping others who have been sexually exploited by mental health professionals.

Back in 1989, the Boston Globe publicized two cases in which two prominent psychiatrists in the Boston area were allegedly sexually exploiting their patients.  After the exposé was published the survivors along with three other women who were also abused by therapists joined forces and formed the organization TELL (Therapy Exploitation Link Line).  Jan Wohlberg was one of these five brave women.


Sex With Therapist: Silence is Broken
Associated Press - April 27 1992

BOSTON (AP) Jan Wohlberg said she was vulnerable after her husband was killed in 1973, and turned to a psychiatrist who later lured her into a 10-month sexual relationship.  As word spreads about such cases, more patients are going public with stories of having been coerced into affairs by therapists.

The man had impressive credentials and Wohlberg's husband, a Boston psychiatrist, had spoken highly of him.

Eventually she fought back by drawing attention to her case and to an issue that has dogged the medical community ever since, most recently with allegations that a Harvard psychiatrist had sex with a patient who later killed himself.

No one knows how widespread the problem is.  But a nationwide survey conducted by psychiatrist Nanette Gartrell in 1986 found 7 percent of male psychiatrists and 3 percent of female psychiatrists admitted having sexual relationships with their patients.  Other studies have found similar results.  

Since some psychiatrists refused to fill out the annoymous survey, fearing they would somehow be identified, Gartrell, a psychiatry professor at the University of California-San Francisco, believes there may be far more offenders.

Gartrell also found that nearly 90 percent of therapist-patient sexual encounters were between male psychiatrist ad female patients. But the latest Boston case is the reverse.

The family of Paul Lozano, a Harvard medical student, claims that Dr. Margaret Bean-Baylog had a sadomasochistic sexual relationship with him, and that he killed himself with an overdose of cocaine after she ended therapy.

Ben-Bayog flatly denied the claims.

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