Richard Gottlieb, a clinical social worker, had his license to practice therapy suspended by the Michigan Dept. of Licensing on grounds of negligence and incompetence. After 32 years of practicing marriage and family therapy, he surrendered his license in July.
In the case of Crowley & Crowley vs. Gottlieb & Therapeutic Services, the court has ordered—
• 1/14/2013 Order of Default Judgment against Therapeutic Services PC, sum to be determined.
• 3/17/2014 Stipulation and Order for Dismissal of plaintiff’s action against defendant Richard Gottlieb individually (with prejudice and without taxation of casts).
• 3/17/2014 Default Judgment against Therapeutic Services PC.
March 17 was the day that the trial was scheduled to start, so I am guessing that Crowley & Crowley got an acceptable out-of-court settlement, although I do not know this for a fact.
I reported this story in my blogs—
Now here’s the back-story, to the best of my knowledge and ability to connect the dots. I could be wrong but it is unlikely.
Richard Gottlieb, a licensed clinical social worker, started teaching at university several decades ago. An undergraduate woman charged him with sexual assault. He thereafter left the university. Give what happened later, this appears to be cause-and-effect.
Gottlieb opened a private practice in which there is reason to believe that Gottlieb compelled about twenty female patients to submit to oral sex.
One victim is known to have sought out a lawyer and received a substantial settlement from Gottlieb without going to trial. Around the same time, Gottlieb sold the private airplane he owned. A single-engine plane sells for anywhere from $100,000 to $1,000,000.
I met Richard at Peter Breggin’s Empathic Therapy Conference in 2011 in Syracuse, NY. Thereafter, Richard identified himself to me variously as a friend, a colleague and a lover. He denied that he was acting as my therapist, but it certainly felt like he was. Gottlieb had no boundaries and I didn’t understand what our relationship was. My daily prayer was “God, keep me safe and on the straight path.”
Dick and I exchanged phone calls on average about three times a week for about an hour. Later, I learned that another person had been Dick’s primary patient, also receiving multiple phone calls every week from Dick’s hospital office. The phone calls to me started about the time the other patient terminated with prejudice.
In a year, there were only two weeks when Dick and I didn’t speak: one was when he was diagnosed with a serious heart condition and immediate surgery was recommended, and another time was when he found out that he was being sued.
Dick, who always was upbeat, positive and optimistic, told me that he was going to lose his license, be unable to practice, and lose his income. There was no “if” in the statement—if I lose the lawsuit—there was just a blanket statement that he was going to lose everything.
About the time that Dick suddenly stopped calling me, I began to get cryptic comments on my blog. I hate cryptic; if you’ve got something to say to me, say it. Then one day it hit me between the eyes: the cryptic commenter was the guy who was suing Dick Gottlieb. I did major research, found the guy, and we began to talk.
There was no doubt in my mind that Dick Gottlieb was a fine fellow and anybody who was suing him had to be a nut-job. In fact, Dick had told me that the man had been a patient but now was a friend. Dick made it sound as if there originally had been short-term therapy and after that this guy—call him “the plaintiff”–would just come over to the house and hang out on the patio drinking beer and getting free advice. Now the guy was suing him. Dick was deeply hurt by what he called this betrayal; he was only trying to help.
What the plaintiff told me was a different story: he’d paid for every single minute he’d spent with Gottlieb; he had canceled checks to prove it.
Decades ago, Gottlieb set up a therapy group wherein the plaintiff met a woman whom he consequently married. Gottlieb was the best man—then went right on counseling both partners. This is an absolute no-no. Therapy is terminated forever once a social relationship develops. The plaintiff had no idea, and Gottlieb told him it was okay.
Then Gottlieb starting sexually abusing the plaintiff’s wife while in therapy.
Somehow that came to an end but later family stresses led the couple back into therapy with Gottlieb. Pretty soon he was seeing them separately again, and again the sexual abuse started. Somehow the wife gets out of this, and more time goes by. She is feeling all kinds of guilt and shame, not to mention feeling like it’s her fault, so she can’t talk about it to anyone.
Then the plaintiff gets ill. Gottlieb says not to worry, he’ll see the plaintiff at his home. The plaintiff’s wife says ABSOLUTELY NO WAY! They are on the verge of divorce before she finally breaks down and tells him what happened. Sick and outraged, the plaintiff calls Gottlieb and Gottlieb admits it—then backs off his admission and starts to cover up what happened.
Over a period of decades, Gottlieb had made himself the center of the plaintiff’s world: he said they were brothers. Nah, nah, nah—it is never, ever right for a therapist to tell a patient that he loves him like a brother. The therapist is there to be objective and distant enough to see things clearly, not to become subjective and use his clients to meet his own emotional needs.
So Gottlieb, from his hospital office, had been intensely involved with the plaintiff and had been having lengthy phone calls with the plaintiff several times a week. When the plaintiff—unbelievably hurt and angry at this “brother” who’d been having coerced sex with his wife—stopped having anything to do with Gottlieb, then Gottlieb turned his full attentions on me. I got the frequent hour-long phone calls. Gottlieb and I lived a thousand miles apart so it never went beyond phone calls. My prayers to God to keep me safe were answered.