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Unread 05-31-2013, 05:22 PM   #1
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Confused intense romantic feelings towards therapist

I have never posted on a forum, but I need support!! I didnt feel any attraction towards my therapist the first several sessions. I started feeling trust, support, validation from this caring, empathetic man and BAM! I left that session with the most intense sexual feelings towards him.
I was really shocked and confused because I have been completely faithful to my husband and have been very careful not to cross and inappropriate boundaries with men.
I looked up "transference" and found out that it is a fairly common thing.... So, I went into his office sat down and just told him. I was kind of scared that he would be awkward or tell me he would have to stop seeing me.
He was awesome. He told me that it was just another indicator of what a caring, "normal" person I really am. it would be healthy that feelings of safety, trust, open communication, feelings of intimacy etc. would lead to sexual feelings. He told me that he thought it was awesome that I felt I could share that with him.
We then talked about the difference between feeling attraction and acting on it. I am struggling to stop feeling this way. Typical things, cant wait to see him...
I would give him an A in being professional and empathetic, but here's the thing. Without saying it, he has given me the impression (non verbal, reaction to what I way saying) that he feels an attraction to me also. Should I just stop seeing him? Is there a therapeutic benefit to continuing sessions as long as the appropriate boundaries stay in place. I trust him, I feel vested in the therapy process and he hasnt been inappropriate in any way. I am really confused.
I would feel very upset right now to stop therapy or try to start over with someone else. I wonder if I am subconsciously avoiding the hard issues of therapy, which brings up so many painful emotions, with the totally awesome feelings of infactuation!
Any advice would be welcome, but hopeful not too harsh..... Thanks
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Unread 06-01-2013, 03:27 AM   #2
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Default Re: intense romantic feelings towards therapist

Hi and welcome! I applaud you for talking to your therapist about your feelings. Try not to read too much into his behavior, though. He cares for you as his patient, but if he acted on any actual romantic feelings, then it would be highly unethical and might cause him to lose his license to do therapy. It's wrong, wrong, wrong!

Look up "dealing with transference" on the Internet and you will find some suggestions for helping handle it. If the feelings get so strong that you aren't able to deal with the issues you came to see a therapist for, then you really will need to find another therapist. You would be wasting his time (and yours) if you don't work on your issues while there, plus wasting your money as well. All right?
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Unread 06-01-2013, 06:22 AM   #3
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Default Re: intense romantic feelings towards therapist

I told my t of my feelings 8 years ago. Transference is just a fancy word for...feelings; it is present in most all relationships in life. When we go into therapy it might be the first time someone validates us and really hears us.....those are powerful feelings and of course we feel love for anyone who treats us that way. I found a way to live...loving someone who isn't available. Feelings aren't right or wrong, they simply....are.....he is attracted to me and there isn't anything we cannot discuss...I told him that I would rather be in pain WITH him than without him.
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Unread 06-02-2013, 04:40 AM   #4
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Default Re: intense romantic feelings towards therapist

Welcome to the forum. I do think that even if there is a mutual attraction, you can still do therapy as long as the therapist is ethical and holds the boundaries of the relationship firm.

I also believe that a good, ethical therapist will help you -- I don't know a good way to say it -- get a hold of your feelings. Help you in not allowing those transference issues to overwhelm you or get in the way of your therapy. Contain the feelings. That's what I was trying to say. I think my T does a good job of helping me contain my feelings for me. He acknowledges them, and acknowledges a mutual attraction, but helps me accept the limits on the relationship, helps me keep the feelings in context, and helps me with the skills and the confidence to look for relationships outside of therapy that will support me and give me what I need in my "real life."

If your T is ethical (and it sounds like he is), he will be able to assist you even if he is attracted to you on some level.
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Unread 06-02-2013, 05:25 AM   #5
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Default Re: intense romantic feelings towards therapist

Quote:
Originally Posted by optimitic2the-end View Post
I have never posted on a forum, but I need support!! I didnt feel any attraction towards my therapist the first several sessions. I started feeling trust, support, validation from this caring, empathetic man and BAM! I left that session with the most intense sexual feelings towards him.
I was really shocked and confused because I have been completely faithful to my husband and have been very careful not to cross and inappropriate boundaries with men.
I looked up "transference" and found out that it is a fairly common thing.... So, I went into his office sat down and just told him. I was kind of scared that he would be awkward or tell me he would have to stop seeing me.
He was awesome. He told me that it was just another indicator of what a caring, "normal" person I really am. it would be healthy that feelings of safety, trust, open communication, feelings of intimacy etc. would lead to sexual feelings. He told me that he thought it was awesome that I felt I could share that with him.
We then talked about the difference between feeling attraction and acting on it. I am struggling to stop feeling this way. Typical things, cant wait to see him...
I would give him an A in being professional and empathetic, but here's the thing. Without saying it, he has given me the impression (non verbal, reaction to what I way saying) that he feels an attraction to me also. Should I just stop seeing him? Is there a therapeutic benefit to continuing sessions as long as the appropriate boundaries stay in place. I trust him, I feel vested in the therapy process and he hasnt been inappropriate in any way. I am really confused.
I would feel very upset right now to stop therapy or try to start over with someone else. I wonder if I am subconsciously avoiding the hard issues of therapy, which brings up so many painful emotions, with the totally awesome feelings of infactuation!
Any advice would be welcome, but hopeful not too harsh..... Thanks
Hello optimitic2the-end. Welcome to the forum.
I have been in love with my T for over 4 years. I also am married for over 30 years. My T and I talk about my feelings for her for at least part of most of my sessions. Sometimes it does get in the way of discussing the issues that I came to therapy for initially, which was over six years ago. But my love for her (transference?) is certainly an important issue in itself. Plus she is the first unavailable girl/woman that I have loved with whom I have had the opportunity to talk about those feelings. She has never let on as to whether she cares for me in any way except professionally. It tears me up inside.

I fear that one day, when my therapy with her ends, if we cannot be a part of each others lives in some way, I would not want to live. My feelings for her are that strong.

She is extraordinarily professional, and never allows me to cross any boundaries (damn it!).

I was not able to log in with my usual name, so please do a search for my other screen name, JeffLawrence, to read other posts and responses from other people with similar issues.

Best of luck.
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Unread 06-11-2013, 07:11 PM   #6
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Default Re: intense romantic feelings towards therapist

There is a phenomenon that I would like to call “The Marilyn Monroe Effect”. Once something or someone has been strongly and repeatedly impressed onto our psyches as a representation of something else, eg.”sex symbol”, it is almost impossible to see an image, or even hear the name, without immediately conjuring the concept which it now represents. I see the words “Marilyn Monroe”, I think “sexy”. I don't have a strong visceral connection to Marilyn Monroe, but I still jump to "sexy".

The connection doesn’t have to be one that is popular in society. It can be of our own creation. This is what I have done with my T, and why it is, and I’m afraid will continue to be, so difficult for me to separate her name and her face from “trust, caring and [especially] love”. It has become my automatic go-to. Even if I never see her again, when she comes to mind I will get a emotional pang that makes me feel love, and with the pang the pain of unrequited love. I already do this between sessions. This is going to make it extremely painful for me to separate from her, to end therapy and never again be in her presence. Since this Marilyn Monroe Effect (or MME, as I will now call it) that I am going through with my therapist is my personal creation, not some impersonal societal invention, I need to feel that I am special to her. That is not going to happen. I intensely need something from her that she cannot or will not give me. What do I do?

Last edited by JeffPowers; 06-11-2013 at 09:30 PM.
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Unread 06-12-2013, 11:17 PM   #7
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Default Re: intense romantic feelings towards therapist

I can relate to what you mean about the fierce intensity, the need to feel ""special" and that T will not/or cannot provide that to you. I find this to be extremely painful, like you. I don't understand why T will not give you what you need. Why can't she give you that special feeling or take 5 minutes of your session to give you that boost you need with words of caring and recognition of the person you are. Maybe I don't understand this therapy thing but I hear people say that T sometimes takes on the role of the "parent" you never had. If that is true, then why wouldn't the T (taking on the parent role) give you the praise, caring or love you obviously need?

You asked "what do I do?" I don't know that there is anything you can do. However, I really get how exasperating and painful it feels to receive nothing back when you've given someone your heart. I hope we get some other perspectives on your inquiry as it would be helpful to me as well.
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Unread 06-12-2013, 11:29 PM   #8
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Default Re: intense romantic feelings towards therapist

I have felt that way towards my medical doctor. He's an osteopath also, and so he helps me with my back alot, too. I really got attached to him for a while. Part of what attracted me to him was that he has a wife and kids, and obviously loves them very much, and is very proud of them.
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Unread 06-15-2013, 12:12 AM   #9
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Default Re: intense romantic feelings towards therapist

Hi SadEndings,
(That's a glum moniker.) Thanks for responding.
I'm no spring chicken. I turned 60 in April. I'm told I'm in really good shape for 60. My wife and I have been together for 30 years (yikes!). My T is an attractive woman 14 years my junior.

A few weeks ago I crossed a serious boundary: I found her Facebook page, and since she didn't realize that all her "private" info. was not limited just to her friends, I learned a fair bit about her. She has since secured her personal info. Nothing outrageous about her, just more stuff. I have been trying for years to find some way that I might fit into her life after therapy is through some day. She has made it abundantly clear that she does not want me to investigate her personal life (that makes me sound creepy, but I'm really not). She has not made it clear regarding our ever being friends one day.

A few sessions ago I admitted my misconduct, and she was livid! Angrier than I have ever seen her. When I have committed lesser transgressions in the past, looking into her car window which was parked in the clinic lot, she had been very firm, but covered her anger quite well. This time she pretty much let it loose, within reason. She told me that IF we continue with my sessions, our sessions will change.

She agreed to continue with me (I've been seeing her for about 7 years). At the very least, she will no longer allow me to divert conversations onto my favorite subject: my feelings for her, or any other tactics that I use to switch away from uncomfortable subjects. The few days between the session in which I admitted my wrong-doing and the following session were mental agony. If I were to lose her, I often feel that I could not go on with living.

I apologized, tried to explain myself, which was nothing she didn't know anyway. Our session went as well as possible.

Thanks for taking the time to read my obsessive ramblings.
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Unread 06-15-2013, 12:45 PM   #10
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Default Re: intense romantic feelings towards therapist

My new therapist is a young female. Very attractive. If I saw her on the street, I would look twice. Thankfully, I havent developed any attraction toward her, although its something I'm conscious of..or maybe I worry about happening? IDK, i'm still working on the part where I'm an older man and feeling comfortable crying in front of her....that happened the 2nd session
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