Steven Kay trusted his therapist with his most intimate thoughts, fears and secrets.
Kay says when his wife, Laurie, started saying she wanted a divorce in 2001, he turned to Dr. Harvey Rosenberg for help. Rosenberg presided over Kay's couples therapy. And when Kay attempted suicide later that year, Rosenberg was the one to help him through his recovery.
Now Kay is suing, accusing Rosenberg of "medical negligence" and for breach of the "applicable standard of psychiatric care," according to court documents filed in Michigan's Oakland County Circuit Court late last month.
In a interview with ABCNews.com, Kay, 62, said that the ordeal left him distraught, and that he hopes the suit will "hold [Rosenberg] accountable."
"I was absolutely devastated," said Kay. "It was the worst betrayal I've ever experienced in my life."
"I was very much in love with [Laurie], and I knew at some point she'd be dating another man," said Kay of his now ex-wife. "But never, in my wildest dreams, did I ever think it would be [Rosenberg]."
According to the lawsuit, Kay spent upward of $87,000 for treatment with Rosenberg over the eight years, including couples therapy and family therapy that included his son. Kay wants that money back, as well as attorney fees and "adequate compensation for all damages sustained," according to the documents.
Repeated calls made to Rosenberg's Farmington Hills, Mich., practice were not returned, nor were calls made and e-mails sent to his lawyer, Stephen McGraw.
A message left for what is believed to be Laurie's cell phone was not returned either.
In the lawsuit, Kay said that Rosenberg, when confronted about his relationship with Laurie, admitted it and apologized.
Rosenberg has a month from the date the complaint was filed to file a response to the allegations, and has not yet done so.
"Dr. Rosenberg apologized for hurting Mr. Kay and admitted that his actions were wrong," read the court documents. "He told Mr. Kay that he was in a loveless marriage, that his time was limited due to lung cancer, and that he wanted to experience happiness."
Rosenberg added that he would no longer treat Kay as a patient, according to the court documents.
Exactly how long Rosenberg and Laurie were allegedly dating while Kay was still in treatment is not established in the court documents, said Kay's lawyer, Stuart Feldheim, who said an accurate timeline is one of many details that will likely come out during the discovery process of the trial.
"I have asked [Rosenberg] to tell me the date, the month and the year where the contact with Kay's ex-wife first occurred in his opinion, and that you believed you had a duty to terminate the physician-patient treatment," said Feldheim.
What the court document does detail is just how much Rosenberg counted on Kay over the years, said Feldheim. He described Kay as "destroyed" after learning that his ex-wife was dating his therapist.
The court documents allege that Rosenberg, after encouraging couples therapy during which Laurie and Kay would visit his office, "advised" Kay to accept the divorce with his wife and to agree to a divorce settlement "that was contrary to recommendations of Kay's own attorney."