Does marriage counseling actually work? That's a subject that's long been debated. One thing seems certain, though: It doesn't help if one of the spouses has an affair with the therapist.
Sex with your therapist probably won't strengthen your marriage.
That's exactly what happened when one couple went to see a mental health counselor named David E. Weed, according to state Department of Health (DOH) documents. The department announced last week that he is being suspended for at least a year.
The saga is the kind of soap opera that has the makings of a Desperate Housewives episode, complete with betrayals of just about everybody concerned--including, it seems, Weed's own wife, who appears to be a therapist herself, co-running a Bellevue clinic with him called the Cascade Center for Counseling.The center's Website refers to David and Lara Weed as a married couple specializing in "couples' issues," parenting and depression, among other problems. He received a counseling degree from Bastyr University, an institution devoted to naturopathic medicine and related disciplines, according to the Weeds' Website, which also describes his technique as focusing on "the value of emotional discharge work to access, feel and discharge emotions and increase clarity in the moment."
For a then 44-year-old woman identified in DOH documents only as Client A, it took about seven months of sessions with Weed to achieve some measure of clarity. She quit seeing him as a patient and disclosed that she was attracted to him. Five months after that, they started an affair that ultimately lasted for about a year, ending in October 2008.
Among the many ethical problems: Weed then continued to treat his lover's husband, who by that time had switched from couples to individual therapy. Weed also provided counseling to the couple's teenage daughter.
Neither the husband nor the daughter knew about Weed's special interest in one member of the family, according to DOH documents. Nor did his lover know that Weed was continuing to see her husband and daughter; Weed lied about the fact, the documents say.
Weed and his wife could not be reached for comment. His Website and work voice mail say that he is "on sabbatical."
Before resuming practice, Weed is required to undergo a psychosexual examination, pay a fine of $5,000 and reimburse his former lover and her family for all the money they spent on counseling with him.