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Re: Crush on psychologist in training sunnydays

Posted by estrellita on March 13, 2008, at 18:25:22

In reply to Re: Crush on psychologist in training estrellita, posted by sunnydays on March 2, 2008, at 21:09:14

> > Thanks for your suggestion about how to change my perspective on the relationship. I have tried to think about it that way, but it hasn't worked. I just think I'm not in a place where I'm able to accept that those boundaries aren't going to change.
> **** Then you need to bring it up with your T. His supervisor is there to talk about the techniques he is using with you - not to analyze you as a person. At least try to bring up that there are things you would like to say but that knowing his supervisor sees it makes you feel awkward. And I think that no matter the therapy modality, there is at least some recognition that having a positive therapeutic relationship is beneficial and necessary to the therapy - CBT isn't going to work if the patient feels like the therapist doesn't care about them or feels hostile to the therapist.
> I still have this hope, and it seems very real, that at some point I'll be able to start a friendship with him. And the fact that all our sessions are videotaped for him and his supervisor to review later on means I am very unlikely to start any kind of conversation with him again related to my feelings for him, or for my desire for a romantic relationship with an intelligent, handsome, funny, and considerate man.
> **** Again, you'll never meet his supervisor (most likely) and his supervisor and he don't discuss you as a person, they discuss the therapy and the techniques. I've been in taped group sessions, and I get that awkwardness a little bit, but I wonder if you really might be having some transference. It doesn't sound like you trust your therapist enough to be able to tell him your feelings and trust that he will respect them, even when not in the room with you, which doesn't sound like the basis for a strong romantic relationship to me. You may want to think about this. It might be that although the feelings FEEL real, they might be a little exaggerated for what you actually know about him. I know that feeling - it's kind of the key idea behind transference - it feels so real that it really is hard to recognize it as anything except reality.
> At the time we discussed the letter I wrote him, I definitely got the feeling that he was relieved that the conversation was over.
> **** Can you ask him about that? You could be right, or maybe there was something else going on for him.
> And there are little things here and there that make me think that in other circumstances he'd be interested in me, too. I think he has his own reasons for not bringing up the therapeutic relationship very often.
> **** Yes, probably because he is CBT-oriented, and those therapists are not trained to bring up or work with the relationship. That would be my best guess as to why he wouldn't want to bring it up - I gather that is a strong belief in CBT.

Thank you for your responses - some of them really got me thinking about things in ways I hadn't previously done.

I think you're right that there is some amount of transference going on with my thoughts/feelings about him. Really, how could there not be? I don't know that much about him outside of the therapist role that I see him in each week. So when I imagine him as a friend or boyfriend, and what he would be like in those roles instead, part of what I imagine is my needs pasted onto him as I currently know him.

I don't, at all, want to be involved with him in any way right now, while I'm still doing CBT with him. The idea is not at all appealing. I wouldn't even want to go have a cup of coffee with him (or something similarly innocuous) at this point, much less anything else. I am very clear on how any kind of dual relationship would be a bad thing for me (not to mention him), and I don't want to go there. It would confuse and complicate things to the point where I don't think we could ever have any kind of healthy relationship as therapist/client, friends, or lovers. I am only interested in having healthy relationships (of whatever kind) with people.

What I want (at least I can say it here) is, AFTER therapy ends, and maybe with some time in between, to spend some time with him once or twice to find out if a friendship/intimate relationship would make sense for us both. Basically, I want to ask him out on a date and just get to know him better. Just like I would any other grad student who seemed interesting to me.

This is part of why I think this situation is different from a lot of the ones I've read about here, where there are spouses/partners/children/etc. involved. I'm single, working on a doctorate related to mental health (though not in psychology), and have certain things I'm interested in. He may or may not be single (no wedding ring), is around my age, is working on a doctorate in mental health, and seems to share some of the same interests I do (based on things he's mentioned from time to time). There's no doubt in my mind that no matter where I had met this person, I would be interested in getting to know him romantically.

The fact that the therapy I'm doing is CBT makes it seem more realistic that I could get to know him after the therapy is over. I don't see him as an authority figure in any way, and I don't feel like he has any kind of power over me. It's more like we're collaborators, but the collaboration is on me learning strategies for living a better life post-depression than on research or something like that. So yes, that is the part that makes this a little bit strange, but it's never like he's telling me what to do. He makes suggestions based on his knowledge, and I'm free to take them or leave them.

I understand that there is no way I could get to know him "as an equal" later on and pretend that this is not an experience we've shared. But I think that the fact that he's not someone who's been doing this for decades does make it different from someone who has. I see us as being in very similar positions in life right now, with the difference being that he's studying clinical mental health and I'm more focused on research. Yes, he's a clinician TO ME, but I definitely see us as equals more than anything else.

In my last session I again got the feeling that he'd be interested in me, too. It's nothing that he says directly, just the way he comments on things I say about myself, and how we have similar interests both in our research and apart from that, too. I don't want to say too much more about what makes me believe he'd be interested (even on an anonymous website).

I keep thinking the only thing I can do is wait until the last session and ask him if we can talk after it has ended? Or give him a note (but that seems kind of childish)? I have no idea if he would be willing to pursue something later on. For me, I know why the rules/laws are in place, and I understand now how boundaries work and why they're so important. But I'm not the kind of person who follows rules just because they're there. If they make sense, fine. But in this case, I think taking a careful approach could work out alright in the end. I just don't know how he would feel about doing that. I don't want to put him in a bad position, but I also don't want to have to wonder what would have happened if I'd let him know that I'm interested in him not as a therapist, but as a person. I think that just letting him know that once therapy's over would be okay, and then he's free to ignore it or to get back in touch with me. I kind of doubt that he would get back in touch even if he wanted to, but I feel like I at least have to try.




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