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Re: I'm in love with my pdoc. Cass

Posted by Noa on June 3, 2000, at 12:24:06

In reply to I'm in love with my pdoc., posted by Cass on June 2, 2000, at 23:49:50

It is not so unusual to have romantic feelings for your therapist or pdoc.

The word "Transference" can be used in several ways. One is a general reference to feelings the client has toward the therapist. The second way it is used, and more true to the original use of the term in psychoanalytic work, refers to the feelings a client develops toward the therapist that are projections of feelings they might have had toward other important figures in their lives, like parents, etc. The transference feelings can be helpful either way, if addressed appropriately by the therapist, to help understand how the client relates to people in close relationships, what needs they have, etc.

The thing that is so confusing about this phenomenon is that it is both "real" in the sense that you have real feelings for a real human being who is attending to your needs in an intimate and consistent way, and it is also "unreal" in some ways, in that you (and the therapist for that matter) are not free to act upon the feelings to develop a more multi-faceted relationship.

Boundaries are important. It can be a tricky thing to explore the feelings that come up toward the therapist in a useful way that leads to growth and healing, without stepping over the line. This is because there is a very real power differential in this relationship, and it would be tantamount to abuse if the therapist does not maintain appropriate boundaries.

Which brings me to a nagging question: Did he actually tell you that you were sexy, in that he finds you sexy? It is hard to assess how appropriate or inappropriate this would be, without knowing more about the context of the dialogue and the tone, etc. I can envision some instances where this would not be a violation of boundaries, such as if the client is sending sexual signals through the way she dresses, body language, etc, and has very little awareness of these signals, it might help to bring that to the client's awareness so she can "own" that part of herself, rather than send out messages that she is rather disconnected from.

On the other hand, I can imagine that having the therapist say that you are sexy is really unfair, because of the power such a statement packs, and its impact upon your feelings for him, given your vulnerability in this dynamic.

If the feelings feel good, enjoy them. Experiencing feelings might help you learn a lot about yourself, insight that might be helpful to you in your healing process. But take care of yourself, too.


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