Case Study: “The Shrink Next Door”

How do clinical treatment and therapists’ personal and professional decisions intersect? How do a therapist’s own stresses and biases interfere with treatment decisions and the maintenance of clinical boundaries? How were blurrings of boundaries rationalized clinically (e.g. playing basketball with a client) and would they ever be acceptable in any other circumstances?

“The Shrink Next Door” is a podcast and television series based on the true story of psychiatrist Isaac “Ike” Herschkopf’s thirty-year-long relationship with one of his clients. In 2021, New York’s Department of Health determined that the doctor violated “minimal acceptable standards of care in the psychotherapeutic relationship” and revoked his license to practice. While an egregious example of exploitation, this true story also provides an opportunity to explore the complex intersection of the therapeutic alliance, transference and countertransference, treatment interventions, and clinical ethics (in particular conflicts of interest, dual relationships, fraud, and incompetence).

Prior to each session, participants review assigned episodes of the television series “The Shrink Next Door” (available on Apple+ TV).
(Particularly interested participants can also listen to the podcast, but discussion will be based on the television series.)

By the end of the two-part webinar, participants will:

  1. Review definitions of transference and countertransference, their potential interference with clinically appropriate boundaries, and their relevance to this case study;
  2. Identify clinical practices that are clearly violations as well as those practices that are plausibly correct but contraindicated;
  3. Define and update their thinking about dual relationships and conflicts of interest;
  4. Explore the checks and balances that mitigate against these kinds of professional hazards. What happened and didn’t happen in this case study?

Six Continuing Education units (ethics) through the National Association of Social Workers (Oregon).

BIPOC REPARATIONS DISCOUNT: If you identify as a BIPOC, you are entitled to a 25% discount.

GRADUATE STUDENT DISCOUNT: If you are currently in graduate school in a clinical discipline, there is a 25% discount.Contact Wayne for discount codes.

Nearby is the country they call life. You will know it by its seriousness. Give me your hand.

RAINER MARIA RILKE