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Crush on psychologist in training

Posted by estrellita on November 26, 2007, at 19:49:40

I've been reading this site for a couple of weeks, but just registered so I can have someplace to ask my question.

I recently started CBT with a new therapist, to get help with continuing to manage my (in the past, severe) depression as well as to achieve other goals. Prior to seeing him, I had a break from therapy, saw a couple of people briefly, and before that saw the same person for a couple of years.

With my last therapist (the one I saw for a couple of years), the style of therapy was much different. Mostly it was psychodynamic, and the relationship with her was a big part of the therapy. I had a little bit of a crush on her, but I think it was more in the way that you'd look up to and admire your big sister when you're a kid. (I don't have any sisters or older siblings, by the way, so that was a new experience for me.)

Now I've started seeing a new person, and this is cut-and-dried CBT. Pretty different from the therapy I've had in the past (I don't think I would have been ready for this until now.)

During the past couple of weeks I realized I'm feeling the beginnings of a crush on this new therapist, and I realize that it's normal and not at all unusual. I think what I would ideally do is bring it up with him and then we could handle it in the context of the therapeutic relationship. However, this guy is still in training, and I'm not sure how to address the issue because of that. All of our sessions are videotaped and later reviewed by the therapist and his supervisor. While that may not make a difference for him in how he would address this (and would probably be useful for him as part of his training), I am not comfortable bringing it up while I'm being recorded. So I'm not sure what to do. I have thought about asking to be assigned a different therapist, because that seems more honest (to myself as well as him) than not to bring it up but still see him. Since I noticed myself crushing on him, it's been having an effect on the assignments I do prior to session each week. I won't get into detail, but needless to say it's hard to be perfectly honest about how I spent my time or how I reacted to a certain situation when I know I'm going to be reporting back to this guy I want to think well of me.

I have the feeling he wouldn't be comfortable addressing this, but I don't know. When I have mentioned (once or twice) something having to do with romantic relationships, he has seemed uncomfortable and steered the topic elsewhere. I think this may be due to the fact that he is young and possibly inexperienced with this sort of thing. There is also the possibility that he has a crush on me - a couple of things have given me that feeling, but this could just as easily be wishful thinking on my part. I don't want to discount that as a possibility, though.

If I had met him in other circumstances, I would be thinking about asking him out right now (I'm not too shy about doing that when I really like someone). Obviously, that would be hugely inappropriate in this case.

I've done some reading on transference and so forth, and I don't think it's the fact that he's my therapist that is the reason behind the crush. I really don't see him as much of an authority figure, and the style of therapy (CBT) doesn't seem to have very much to do with the relationship between us (as it would in psychodynamic therapy). Of course I can't separate the therapy from the relationship, because our interactions are all within the context of therapy. However, I definitely see him as an interesting, intelligent, and good-looking guy who would catch my eye no matter where I'd met him.

(Side question: does a crush on your therapist ALWAYS have to be explained in terms of transference? Isn't it possible that sometimes it's just a crush?)

A little more detail: I'm female, single, late 20s. He's early 20s and, like I said, doing his graduate training in clinical psychology. I've seen him maybe half a dozen times so far. I have no clue if he's single.

I see my options as (1) continuing therapy with him but not saying anything about my crush (maybe it will go away, who knows); (2) asking to be re-assigned to someone else and not telling him why (this would seem kind of weird since therapy's been going quite well thus far); or (3) asking to be re-assigned and telling him why (even if I did this though, I wouldn't be able to ask him out later on, right? Or would I? If I did, could he say yes or is that out of the question since I would be a former patient (even if not for very long)?).

Thanks for any advice you can offer.




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