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Love as the agent of change -- kind of long

Posted by red house on March 15, 2008, at 10:58:21

Hi there -- I haven't posted in quite some time but I've been thinking about some issues in therapy lately and I wanted to see if any of you all have had similar struggles/what your thoughts might be on this topic.

I know that many of us struggle with our feelings of love for our therapist, but have others ever struggled to accept the "love" our therapist has for us? And by this I mean a kind of human-to-human connection type love, a sense of "warm personal attachment," as opposed to any kind of sexual feelings. (I think of this in a way that the therapist, Paul, on _In Session_ (for those of you watching), meant when he talked about Sophie "testing" his love, and he purposefully said that he can't treat someone he doesn't "love." Certainly he meant something different than the "love" he feels for Laura, Monday's patient with whom he's said he's "in love.")

Anyway, I've done some looking back at other posts and many of you were relatively emphatic about not getting "love" from your therapists. But isn't what we get in a sense of kind of therapy love -- that presence, care, empathy, encouragement, and limit-setting that is really a part of any healthy parent-child relationship?

In what is probably a big step for me I am sensing/feeling this kind of "love" from my T, for the first time in our about a year and a half together at twice a week. I've talked about it cagily and she's yet to say what I've been expecting to hear: "There are ways in which this may feel like love for you, that kind of love you were looking for when you were younger, but what's more important is for us to focus on where the need comes from." In other words she's yet to sort of reject the idea that part of what makes the therapy relationship is about love, in a benign, willing the best for the other kind of way. I asked basically if it was alright for me to feel that there was love sometimes, and she said it was, absolutely. But I think that was as much about the fact that all feelings are valid, not that it was necessarily true.

I feel like she's not getting me to look at the limits of that -- like she's letting me believe there's love there without actually acknowledging that that's not the way this works or really how she feels about any patients, a la Paul. I vascillate between believing that what I experience from her is real and knowing for sure that I'm projecting my desire to be loved and really cared for onto her.

I hope this isn't too out there/abstract. Just wondering if anyone has had experience dealing with handling the positive (and non-sexual) feelings you feel from your therapist?





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