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Re: Forever therapy Dinah

Posted by allisonf on April 27, 2003, at 21:50:38

In reply to Re: Forever therapy allisonf, posted by Dinah on April 27, 2003, at 14:12:01

You know, my feelings for my therapist haven't changed all that much since I posted a year ago. But I should explain more...I actually think (and my therapist agrees) that what's going on with my feelings for her are not just about classic transference. I was diagnosed bipolar II (rapid cycling) about 1 1/2 yrs ago. That's when I started therapy again with the main focus being stabilization of my mood and then dealing with my other issues.

When I had seen her for therapy in the past, it was usually b/c I was having difficulty with a relationship--not my primary romantic interest, but other mentor-like relationships I had developed (a professor or a man I was working with...). I would start to get close to them emotionally, and then I would develop infatuation like feelings...sounds rather Freudian, huh? So, we spent a lot of time looking at where this was coming from, how to think about and handle it, etc. But what we weren't seeing at the time was this energy factor that was associated with these relationships. When I had encounters with these people, I would be unable to sleep almost all night long, doing sit-ups or running outside late at night, writing in my journal about that person, thinking over and over of what I would say to them next, replaying what had happened with them, etc.--an incredible engery that we now have a name for--hypomania.

So, this time around in therapy b/c I had to deal with being vulnerable and dependent (I thought it was interesting in your post how you talk about this happening 5 years into therapy...and having to put your therapist thru a lot to get there) in a way that I never had to before I was "sick", I developed this infatuation for her. She says that she has experienced transference issues with other clients, but that my feelings are much more intense. And her style really does sounds a lot like your therapist in that she isn't really a blank screen and often does self-disclose very casually, and sometimes about very serious things...

I do know that a lot of what is tied up in my feelings for her is also tied up in my hypomanic tendencies. When I am in the normal part of a cycle, I barely think of her at all. Even when I am depressed, I sometimes wish for her comfort, but it's not that intensity that I feel for her when I am on the upswing. So, she keeps saying, if we can get me stabilized and in remission, perhaps these feelings will quiet down too.

In the meantime, to answer your question, these feelings sometimes get in the way of other therapeutic work, but sometimes affect it positively. Clearly, that bracelet thing is getting in the way. Also, when she self discloses things, it triggers the "I am special to her" thing, which just makes me take off. But she has said things that make me react like I would to my mother, and then we get to deal with those issues. Also, she's Jewish, and I have a Jewish background, and b/c of her I started to deal with a lot of my issues re:religion. I know it may not sound like it, but when I go thru a 4-6 week period of no cycling, we do get a lot done!

What kind of therapeutic orientation is your therapist? It sounds like he was also very professional when you described that process you went thru starting to trust and depend on him. Did something happen that made you start going thru that process at that time (you had said it was 5 yrs into your therapy)?




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