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Re: Love with therapist widget

Posted by Attachment Girl on March 19, 2008, at 17:20:09

In reply to Re: Love with therapist Attachment Girl, posted by widget on March 19, 2008, at 16:38:47

> Dear Attachment Girl, I read your post with great interest as I am, as so many, in a similar situation. My question to you (or anyone who has an answer) is why a more intimate relationship with a therapist is so inherently damaging? I have heard that repeated many times but I have not heard the reason it is so unacceptable. Any ideas? Sincerely, Widget>

Hi Widget,
Great question! From my experience and the reading I've done, it mainly has to do with the power imbalance. We imbibe our therapists with a huge amount of respect, admiration and trust. In some ways our healing is advanced by the belief that our therapist CAN help us. But a romantic relationship or friendship is one of peers. So in some sense to enter into that type of relationship with a therapist will (almost) always leave you at a disadvantage. The other reason is that part of why therapy works is that we cannot know ourselves, especially our unconscious, except in relationship. Therapy focuses the relationship only on the patient and constructs a safe place for you to express everything, even the painful, shameful, or embarrassing stuff. Since the therapist conceals much of theirselves and expects nothing from the relationship, they are able to maintain a certain "distance" or detachment that allows them to see the patterns in what we do so that we can change them. And since they do not have much at stake its easier for them NOT to be threatened by our emotions the way a spouse or friend would be. Once a personal relationship begins, the therapy is over. In my case, my background involves long term sexual abuse by my father followed by complete abandonment, so you won't be surprised that I have trust and relationship issues with men. As a matter of fact, my therapist is probably the first man I've completely trusted, and that includes a really wonderful husband. So from a very young age, a relationship that should never have included sex, did, so it is important for me that my relationship with my therapist doesn't include sex so I can 1)learn that I can have a relationship with a man that doesn't include sex (NOT as obvious as it sounds for someone from my background 2)learn that a relationship with a man can be about meeting my needs instead of his at my expense. One of the reasons I feel so safe with my therapist is that despite my sharing sometimes quite painful feelings about desiring more from him and his completely accepting those feelings, he's also made it extremely clear that he will not allow anything to happen that shouldn't. Its not a real rational thing, both wanting and dreading the same thing. And add into that the fact that I have been married for 22 years and have two teen age daughters and my therapist is married, kinda puts a crimp in things right there. Oh yeah, and I don't think he has any of those types of feelings for me and you have a pretty unworkable situation. Funny how none of that stops the feelings though. : ) Sorry this was so long, I have a tendency to babble. Hope that helped! And thanks for asking, I'm having a really difficult day today coping with this issue and all the good stuff that has happened with him has felt really far away. Writing all this out brought it alot closer.




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