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Re: Love with therapist » Aastra

Posted by Tamar on June 15, 2005, at 4:59:00

In reply to Re: Love with therapist, posted by Aastra on June 14, 2005, at 20:47:11

> I am so confused about therapy and what is right and wrong. I have been in psychotherapy for aprox. 2 years. My therapist is and has been very nice since the beginning.
> But over the 2 years my therapist has disclosed there personal life. I know the names of my therapist's children, spouse & dog. City my therapist lives in and other likes and dislikes and different situations, mostly that fit what we're talking about. My therapist told me from the beginning that my therapist has very good boundaries. I have been through much abuse and I'm trying to work through that with my therapist.

Some therapists disclose more than others. Some of them might tell you the names of their partners and children; others won’t. If most of the information is relevant to what you’re talking about, it sounds acceptable. Serious problems arise when therapists tell clients things that have nothing to do with the client’s therapy (like if he told you his wife didn’t understand him or something like that).

On the other hand, it can be confusing to feel that your therapist’s boundaries are not precisely in the same place as other people’s therapists – it can make you wonder if he’s doing it right, and whether you’re at risk. If it’s making you feel uncomfortable I think it’s best to say that you feel uneasy when he tells you things about his life, or what he likes and dislikes.

> I get confused on how he feels about me. He has experienced counter-transference in a session with me. Sometimes I will say something and then I retract it because I'm not sure and he will say "I love when you do that."

I find this the most problematic of all the things you mention. The word ‘love’ is a particularly difficult one in therapy. It has so many possible meanings. I don’t think the word ‘love’ should leave his lips unless it’s very clear what he means by it. Perhaps he’s encouraging you to feel loved and trusted in the therapeutic relationship – but in what way? I hope he means to imply the simple platonic love that one person can feel for any other person. But that’s not necessarily how you’re hearing it. He should have explained what he meant.

> Then he will go on to mimic what I just did. He also tells me when laughing "You're so funny, you really are." I'm not sure how to take all this. I'm just feeling so confused! Can someone help or shed some light. Should I be worried or is this normal?

I think you are right to be a little worried, because there are things going on in your relationship with your therapist that you don’t understand. It may be perfectly innocent, but if you’re not sure what to make of some of his comments, then naturally you’re worried about it.

I’m aware that you haven’t said how you feel about him. And maybe you aren’t ready to talk about that, either here or with your therapist. But I think it would be a good thing to begin to talk to him about your relationship, even if you don’t want to talk about your feelings. You could begin, perhaps, by asking him to explain to you how he maintains his boundaries. If he asks you why you want to know, you can tell him you find it confusing. His answers should put your mind at rest, but if not then you are right to be worried.

Most therapists do not exploit their clients. But a very small percentage do. If you ever feel that you are at risk, trust your instincts.





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