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  1. #1
    Sparrow's Avatar
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    Therapist / Patient Relationship

    Has anyone seen a therapist for some time and start to have feelings for he/she? Or, have you ever thought the therapist was attracted to you?

    I'm curious because I rarely talk to anyone, and when I do, it's not about personal things. I dont have a support system, no one to ask for advice or tell my problems to. I was also very neglected as a child. So...my therapist laughs at my jokes, consoles me, tells me I'm attractive...things to help me, I think. But, I guess since I'm not around people much, i have this idea that he's into me. I'm sure it's because I'm so lonely , and he gives me attention. Anyway,I've felt awkward because of these intrusive thoughts that are just my imagination, I think. It's so distracting, and I can't get them out of my head. It's annoying that I would even think this. Like, who do I think I am to even think someone is attracted to me first of all.

    Thoughts? Is this normal?
    “Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.” - Rumi

  2. #2
    Coffee's Avatar
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    Yes, it's normal and I've developed 'feelings' for one of my ex-therapists before. And the reason why i wrote 'feelings' instead of feelings, is because i knew they were based on transference.

    In a therapy context, transference refers to redirection of a patient's feelings for a significant person to the therapist. Transference is often manifested as an erotic attraction towards a therapist, but can be seen in many other forms such as rage, hatred, mistrust, parentification, extreme dependence, or even placing the therapist in a god-like or guru status. When Freud initially encountered transference in his therapy with patients, he felt it was an obstacle to treatment success. But what he learned was that the analysis of the transference was actually the work that needed to be done.
    See, when my feelings for my therapist surfaced, I had just gotten out of a really bad relationship. And then there she was, all supportive and caring and funny. I never spoke to her about it but I did mention it to my next therapist. As soon as the therapist I was crushing on got engaged, that crush disappeared. I'm telling you this because it's very normal, and a lot of people experience it. But it's so important to figure out why its happening, and it sounds like you're on the right track here. Do you think you could mention it in passing to your therapist? You don't have to go into depth obviously, but you could just mention that you think there's a little transference going on and you want to understand why its happening.... I'm thinking that he has experienced this with a client before and it wont freak him out or anything.

    On a side note, try not to beat yourself up for thinking that he's into you, but know that he cannot act on it even if there was something there.

  3. #3
    Sparrow's Avatar
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    Quote Coffee View Post
    Yes, it's normal and I've developed 'feelings' for one of my ex-therapists before. And the reason why i wrote 'feelings' instead of feelings, is because i knew they were based on transference.



    See, when my feelings for my therapist surfaced, I had just gotten out of a really bad relationship. And then there she was, all supportive and caring and funny. I never spoke to her about it but I did mention it to my next therapist. As soon as the therapist I was crushing on got engaged, that crush disappeared. I'm telling you this because it's very normal, and a lot of people experience it. But it's so important to figure out why its happening, and it sounds like you're on the right track here. Do you think you could mention it in passing to your therapist? You don't have to go into depth obviously, but you could just mention that you think there's a little transference going on and you want to understand why its happening.... I'm thinking that he has experienced this with a client before and it wont freak him out or anything.

    On a side note, try not to beat yourself up for thinking that he's into you, but know that he cannot act on it even if there was something there.
    Ah, okay, that makes complete sense. Thanks so much...very helpful, and I do believe this is whats going on. I've done this so many times in the past with different people. It's awful and has given me more reason to cut myself off from people. I think I do need to say something to him, so I can improve. I have a feeling he knows bc of things he's said now that I think back on them. Hopefully, he knows how to handle it :/.
    “Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.” - Rumi

  4. #4
    takethebiscuit's Avatar
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    Quote Sparrow View Post
    Ah, okay, that makes complete sense. Thanks so much...very helpful, and I do believe this is whats going on. I've done this so many times in the past with different people. It's awful and has given me more reason to cut myself off from people. I think I do need to say something to him, so I can improve. I have a feeling he knows bc of things he's said now that I think back on them. Hopefully, he knows how to handle it :/.
    Pretty much all therapists will have had some sort of training in how to deal with "transference". Freud was smoking some serious stuff when he was writing about transference but some of what he said was right. I'm not an expert in all therapy disciplines so I don't want you to accept what I say just because I say it. Take it apart, judge it against your own experience and discover the validity of my words for yourself:

    In order for therapy to "work", there needs to be a good amount of rapport between the client and the therapist. Rapport is not just about people liking each other. It's a connection. Like fibre optic broadband. Any emotion can go back and forth along those fibres...back and forth between the therapist and the client. Trust is one of those emotions. Without trust between the therapist and client nothing is getting done. And sometimes, "transference" travels down the fibre optics. It happens.

    It's absolutely fine to discuss feelings of transference with your therapist. They've been trained to handle and deal with many forms of feedback.

    Have a look at the language you used to describe this situation: "I've done this so many times in the past with different people. It's awful and has given me more reason to cut myself off from people. I think I do need to say something to him, so I can improve. "

    You've done this so far many times in the past with different people, It's awful and has given you more reason to cut yourself off from people. You think you need to say something to him so you can improve.

    Improve? How did this get from something that happens to something that you've done to someone?

    You experienced feelings of transference and wondered about saying anything about them. Is that really "doing something" to someone else?

    I can't ask you to see yourself or your therapy in any other way to how you already see them. I'll just say that blaming yourself for this happening gives power to any negative stuff you've had going on. Anxiety and depression feed off attacks against the self. A weakened self is not a healing self. Sometimes these things just happen.

  5. #5
    Sparrow's Avatar
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    Quote takethebiscuit View Post
    Have a look at the language you used to describe this situation: "I've done this so many times in the past with different people. It's awful and has given me more reason to cut myself off from people. I think I do need to say something to him, so I can improve. "

    You've done this so far many times in the past with different people, It's awful and has given you more reason to cut yourself off from people. You think you need to say something to him so you can improve.

    Improve? How did this get from something that happens to something that you've done to someone?

    You experienced feelings of transference and wondered about saying anything about them. Is that really "doing something" to someone else?

    I can't ask you to see yourself or your therapy in any other way to how you already see them. I'll just say that blaming yourself for this happening gives power to any negative stuff you've had going on. Anxiety and depression feed off attacks against the self. A weakened self is not a healing self. Sometimes these things just happen.
    I'm not sure I know what you mean regarding the bolded part. However, this is all a bit new to me and hard to understand so that's not surprising. But, what you said in the last paragraph is exactly what my therapist tells me.

    I definitely trust him since I've told him things I've never told. And, I do have that connection with him, which I guess is apparent here. It's all very scary, and I am constantly obsessing over it.
    “Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.” - Rumi

  6. #6
    Coffee's Avatar
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    ^ i think what takethebiscuit means is that you aren't actually doing anything wrong. This just happens sometimes, and it's okay. But it's nothing you can or need to 'improve' on, and you haven't done anything. Unless you are referring to cutting people off and that's something you want to improve on?

  7. #7
    takethebiscuit's Avatar
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    Yes, that is what I meant.

  8. #8
    Sparrow's Avatar
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    Oh okay .

    I'd like to improve in a way that I'd like to stop obsessing about people that I don't have real feelings for (but dont realize). It's all consuming. And, it's really bad when it's someone that becomes interested in me because that's usually when I cut them off.
    “Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.” - Rumi

  9. #9
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    Quote Sparrow View Post
    Oh okay .

    I'd like to improve in a way that I'd like to stop obsessing about people that I don't have real feelings for (but dont realize). It's all consuming. And, it's really bad when it's someone that becomes interested in me because that's usually when I cut them off.
    I think this is something your therapist could really help you with. Once you tell him about the transference, you can tell him why its something you want to resolve and then how it influences your everyday life and relationships.

    i'm wary about giving suggestions because I'm definitely not the best person to talk to about withdrawing from friendships and cutting people off haha. I do it way too often. Hopefully someone else can chime in. Good luck and let us know how the conversation with your therapist goes.

  10. #10
    JaneDoe's Avatar My So-Called Self
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    I have never been attracted to a therapist before, but all except one of my therapists have been much older than me (like old enough to be my parent, at least), and the one who was closer to my age was a *itch and I didn't see her for very long. I did think I may be developing feelings for my vocational specialist though. She was only one year older and was like a therapist, only she was helping me look for a job or some place to volunteer before she realized I wasn't able to do either at this point. I don't think I actually had feelings for her, but I felt as if I did because she was the closest thing I had to a friend and I felt close to her.
    I never felt any of them had feelings for me because they were all straight women.
    I think it's fairly common for those in vulnerable mental states to start having inappropriate feelings or thoughts for therapists, doctors, etc.

  11. #11
    Sabrina's Avatar
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    Yeah I felt feelings for my therapist too, I guess it is because you can really open up to them and possibly because I felt alone. I was a bit freaked out though because my therapist was a woman

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