Psycho-Babble Psychology Thread 804141

Shown: posts 1 to 19 of 19. This is the beginning of the thread.

 

sexual element of 'transference' with therapist

Posted by widget on January 4, 2008, at 9:05:57

I have a general question for all. I have very strong positive feelings for my therapist. He calls it "transference"; I call it love. Whatever. He is great with discussing how my feeling for my father get mixed with my feelings for him (or I should say, what I wish my father had been like, not what he was like which was mean). This has been under discussion for quite awhile. Yesterday, I asked him about the sexual element in this transference. He wanted to talk about it later(it was the end of the session). I intuited his discomfort and said "I know you don't like to talk about this." He said something like "just because I don't doesn't mean we shouldn't". I was under the illusion that psychotherapists delve into EVERY area, especially the sexual. My other therapist brought up my sexual feelings all the time; of course, they weren't directed toward her. This psychiatrist is a man. They are directed toward him. Any comments please? Thanks! Widget

 

Re: sexual element of 'transference' with therapist widget

Posted by muffled on January 4, 2008, at 9:13:32

In reply to sexual element of 'transference' with therapist, posted by widget on January 4, 2008, at 9:05:57

I dunno much bout this first hand, but at least he is honest! and that would be huge for me...
Best of luck Widget.
M

 

Re: sexual element of 'transference' with therapis widget

Posted by Dinah on January 4, 2008, at 9:28:14

In reply to sexual element of 'transference' with therapist, posted by widget on January 4, 2008, at 9:05:57

Well, he realized that even if it's uncomfortable for him, it's something you should talk about. I don't think it's wrong of him to admit that it's uncomfortable for him. It's something you'd likely pick up on anyway. They're just human, despite their training and experience.

 

Re: sexual element of 'transference' with therapis widget

Posted by Bodhisattva on January 4, 2008, at 9:42:52

In reply to sexual element of 'transference' with therapist, posted by widget on January 4, 2008, at 9:05:57

From a basic perspective, sexual feelings have one reason for their existence. That being perpetuating the species......making babies.

Being a female, your attraction would be easier triggered by someone that would be good at taking care of you. Therapists methods often resemble what from another person would just be tender loving care. So it is only natural that someone that has intimate knowledge of your feelings and has been helping you through some difficult issues would cause some strong feelings of attraction (especially if they aren't bad looking either).

Of course, there are many more aspects to this than just that. There wouldn't be if people had just 2-dimensional black and white personalities. But we don't.

It sounds like he is completely aware of the delicate feelings involved with this, and is very willing to discuss the subject despite his own aversion to that particular subject. You should take full advantage to explore it, and in so doing learn even more about yourself than if you were to do so alone.

 

Re: sexual element of 'transference' with therapis

Posted by widget on January 4, 2008, at 10:45:01

In reply to Re: sexual element of 'transference' with therapis widget, posted by Bodhisattva on January 4, 2008, at 9:42:52

Thank you for your insight. I was thinking I might need another therapist, more adept at discussing the full-range of the human experience. There has been no other are that he has not easily delved into or brought up. In all of this time, he has seemed to avoid the sexual. Well, of course, the sexual is involved. And, I thought psychotherapists were trained to expect and even welcome this! Yes, I am quite attracted to him.

At times, he has said, in relation to the "transference", "I'm not your father." To which I reply, "I don't want you to be my father." And, he nods his head, acknowledging what is beginning to feel like the unspeakable! This sex thing is just sitting there between us and I'm surprised he doesn't want to deal with it just as a matter of the analysis. And, honestly, it is NOT going away. It's just asquiring layers and layers of more meaning because it must be ignored. So, do you think I should be the one to bring in up, yet again,next time? It is scary for me, too, but that is why I am in analysis or psychotherapy. To face the scary. It was at the end of our session yesterday that he said "that's something we should deal with next time." I am tempted to just see what happens if I say no more but I'm afraid it will be nothing. Meantime, I feel cheated by the avoidance and, also, confused. And, I am just being honest, too. Have I just seen too many movies or doesn't this get discussed in therapy? Thanks so much. Widget

 

Re: sexual element of 'transference' with therapis widget

Posted by Dinah on January 4, 2008, at 10:58:37

In reply to Re: sexual element of 'transference' with therapis, posted by widget on January 4, 2008, at 10:45:01

It does get discussed and your therapist has said he knows that it needs to be discussed. I find that once my therapist acknowledges that he's having problems in any given area, he corrects himself from that point on. Perhaps having identified the problem in himself, your therapist will be willing to do the same.

I can imagine it would be difficult for most people, even therapists, to feel comfortable discussing sexual feelings directed toward themselves in a situation that is not sexual. It's their job to do it despite their discomfort.

Maybe see what happens from this point on? I do think you'll probably have to bring it up yourself. My therapist insists I bring everything up myself and makes very few exceptions.

 

Re: sexual element of 'transference' with therapis widget

Posted by Bodhisattva on January 4, 2008, at 11:13:47

In reply to Re: sexual element of 'transference' with therapis, posted by widget on January 4, 2008, at 10:45:01

As I said, use this opportunity to learn more about yourself. Despite his hang-ups on the topic he's capable of leading you through this as well. If you are thinking about it this much, then you should talk about it. Bring it up!

You should be able to discuss anything with your therapist. And through that discussion should be the therapy itself... simple concept. It IS strange that he's seemingly ducking this.

Maybe he's shy? that'd be strange...

Maybe you should try some shock therapy on him. Next time you feel like he's ducking the topic, you should comment on how particularly perky his junk looks today....

Joking aside, keep talking to him. Let him know that this IS something you want to discuss so that the feelings don't end up the wrong way.

Good luck!

 

Re: sexual element of 'transference' with therapis

Posted by widget on January 4, 2008, at 12:40:26

In reply to Re: sexual element of 'transference' with therapis widget, posted by Bodhisattva on January 4, 2008, at 11:13:47

Thanks, again. I do find it odd that he is "ducking it" but I guess that's his issue. And, yes, I have been thinking about it a lot for a long time and just assumed it would be grist for the mill. But, many subtle opportunities have been ignored or missed by him. And, yes, I thought I should talk about anything in therapy. Your shock therapy is hilarious but even I have my limits! Sincerely, Widget

 

Re: sexual element of 'transference' with therapist

Posted by raisinb on January 4, 2008, at 13:54:02

In reply to sexual element of 'transference' with therapist, posted by widget on January 4, 2008, at 9:05:57

Sexual transference is a really delicate subject, but one that definitely needs to be discussed.

I don't think you always have to be the one to bring it up. I've asked my T to help me bring up particularly sensitive topics, and she's done it. In an ideal world I'd be confident enough to do so myself, but to be honest, I'd *never* talk about sexual feelings for her if she didn't initiate sometimes. Maybe you could ask your T to do something similar? It's okay to work together sometimes to get things done, I think.

 

Re: sexual element of 'transference' with therapist widget

Posted by star008 on January 4, 2008, at 14:57:13

In reply to sexual element of 'transference' with therapist, posted by widget on January 4, 2008, at 9:05:57

I struggled with the "love" thing but never felt sexual towards my T. Now that we have been together so long i do love him but it is different.. And the thought of being sexual with him is just yuck.. kind of like feeling sexual about a parental figure or a family member.. i nver had the nerve to discuss the love part part with him, so I have to praise you for your courage. They are just people so I can see why he would be uncomfortable about the sexual part.. You can try to address it or just let it go.. It will pass in time but might take a long while.. It will probably get in the way of therapy though..

 

Re: sexual element of 'transference' with therapist star008

Posted by widget on January 4, 2008, at 15:33:21

In reply to Re: sexual element of 'transference' with therapist widget, posted by star008 on January 4, 2008, at 14:57:13

To Star, Yes, I understand that everyone is different. Unfortunately, he seems very sexy to me and I can't leave it alone. When I've tried, I've often thought I was successful, only to have it present itself again. I am wondering if he has to do this very often; maybe not? And, that could be the reason for the reluctance. I once mentioned he must have seen a lot of patients like me but he said most of his patients do not choose to go so deeply into the therapy. Hmm. Well, who knows. And, of course, that is what does drive me crazy! Widget

 

Re: sexual element of 'transference' with therapis (nm)

Posted by dancinbillie on January 4, 2008, at 16:14:49

In reply to sexual element of 'transference' with therapist, posted by widget on January 4, 2008, at 9:05:57

 

Re: sexual element of 'transference' with therapist widget

Posted by muffled on January 4, 2008, at 16:20:47

In reply to Re: sexual element of 'transference' with therapist star008, posted by widget on January 4, 2008, at 15:33:21

Widget, this is why I got a FEMALE T!!! LOL!
Actually I feel badly for you.
I can't imagine hard it must feel sitting in T with all those vibes happening...
Goto be hard :-(
Hope you guys can sort it out.
Best wishes in this sent your way.
Take care,
M

 

Re: sexual element of 'transference' with therapis

Posted by dancinbillie on January 4, 2008, at 16:23:02

In reply to sexual element of 'transference' with therapist, posted by widget on January 4, 2008, at 9:05:57

Hi Widget, hope this finds you well.

I believe you should definitely bring up the subject again, and soon, this time at the beginning of a session so your T doesn't have the time constraint excuse. Perhaps acknowledging his discomfort would ease the beginning of the discussion? I don't know . . .

I have experienced a sexual transference with one of my former therapists and, I figured out, with a psych RN with whom I got way too close (no sex of course) when I was in an outpatient psych program. I'm female, and they were both female, so I slightly freaked out because I've always identified as hetero. I've been talking with my current T about it, but we're nowhere near the "bottom" of the issue.

I have, though, realized that I'm bisexual, and talked with my hubby about it - he was great about it - he's had homosexual experiences in his life as well. I haven't been with a woman as of this point, but who knows what the future holds?

As someone else noted, maybe there's an element of caretaking involved in the attraction - I've had crushes on many women throughout my life (I'm 43) and though I wasn't interested in actually having sex with them, I did fantasize about what they looked like/sounded like when they had sex with their lovers. Shoulda tipped me off about my bisexuality, I guess! My T and I noticed a pattern of me developing crushes on women who were in caretaking roles in my life - not every woman who fulfilled such a role, but a lot of them.

I think I might know a little about how you feel when your T shows his discomfort about discussing the sexual transference. I opened up about my transference (but called it maternal because I was embarrassed) toward the previously mentioned psych RN in a cognitive group session that she was leading, this past summer, and she immediately took it as me being sexually attracted to her instead (maybe she sensed something, I don't know), freaked out TOTALLY (even though she's 57 and has been a psych nurse for about 30 years), and has been able to use her "uncomfortable" feelings about my so-called "maternal" transference to get me banned from the outpatient program completely. I denied throughout the rest of the program, during which she and I were separated by the rest of the team, that it was a sexual thing, like I said because I was so embarrassed.

It doesn't sound like your T is going to have a fit like that, though. Maybe I'm saying to go easy with him - as has been noted, Ts are just people with lots of education and training. Plus it's a hetero thing - I wonder if my psych RN was so blown away because it was a homosexual thing.

DB

 

Re: sexual element of 'transference' with therapis

Posted by widget on January 4, 2008, at 16:54:40

In reply to Re: sexual element of 'transference' with therapis, posted by dancinbillie on January 4, 2008, at 16:23:02

once again, good ideas and thanks! Somehow, I guess I was thinking of Freud who believed so much was sexual that I assumed a therapist would be trained to handle this discussion routinely. Yes, a female therapist would have been wise but none (and I mean none) were available. I do not live in a analytic-rich place. The psychiatrists mostly give meds. No training in therapy. This psychiatrist is the ONLY one in the state who deals with psychotherapy. I actually think he enjoys the process since most of his clients do not delve so deeply and he was, indeed, trained for that. I feel sorry for him because I don't think he has anyone to discuss his cases with and that's important. No one is beyond the need to discuss their "issues", or feelings that may arise during therapy. Believe me, I would want my own Psychiatrist if I were a psychiatrist doing psychotherapy. He has mentioned his job is lonely. Of course, that is his problem or concern and he could seek out some other therapists to consult with. Don't they all need that? Maybe this is why I sometimes feel I am way too much for him. I thoroughly enjoy the process and love to analyze, especially myself! Although, it would be fun to analyze him, too. Widget

 

Re: sexual element of 'transference' with therapis widget

Posted by DAisym on January 4, 2008, at 17:42:34

In reply to Re: sexual element of 'transference' with therapis, posted by widget on January 4, 2008, at 16:54:40

I think you've already reached the perspective I was going to suggest - not all therapist in this day and age were trained in depth therapy nor do they believe that everything should be explored. This is true especially for CBT therapist - who might acknowledge the feelings but don't think it is usually in the clients best interest to dwell on them. And even among depth therapist there is a kind of theory that says "if the transference is positive, leave it alone." The idea being that it will help you tolerate the work and sometimes painful process of looking at your "stuff."

All that said - sexual feelings for another adult with whom you've become intimate is both a biological reaction as well as a feeling state. It makes sense that if you have the chemistry, these feelings will come up. The safer you feel, the more pressing they might feel. Especially if you've felt they were forbidden in some way.

My therapist rarely picks up hints. He will help me talk about topics that are hard, if I ask him. Or I'll write stuff and bring it in and read it. But I think he doesn't want to presume something that might not be true. We talk about sex - both my feelings about him and the topic in general, fairly easily. But talking about suicidal feelings makes him tense - which he admits readily and yet insists we talk about. So I think everyone has their area.

And in given all the scandals and lawsuits, I can see why a male therapist would have a harder time with sexual transference discussions. (btw, I don't really like the transference term - it implies that your feelings are displaced or based on something else. I truely believe that you can develop "real" feelings for your therapist, but the reciprocation is different and how we think about our feelings - our own expectations, is different too.)

What I discovered by talking about my feelings, which were all mixed up and still are, is that what I really wanted was to feel safe having sex and to have someone I trusted to "teach" me. I wanted to participate in a grown-up activity as a grown up, and not immediately either dissociate or feel small. Now he can't do that for me, but it helps to know that when I do have another sexual partner, I'll need someone to go slow and I'll need a level of psychological safety. Without talking about it, I'd probably not know that. I tend to be a "force it" kind of a gal - you know, grit your teeth and learn to like it.

So this is my long-winded way of saying, "yes, bring it up." It is important.

 

Re: sexual element of 'transference' with therapis DAisym

Posted by widget on January 5, 2008, at 3:56:16

In reply to Re: sexual element of 'transference' with therapis widget, posted by DAisym on January 4, 2008, at 17:42:34

Dear DAisym, Thank you for your insight. I wonder about his training. He is not interested in Cognitive Behahior Modification. However, I do know he believes that "transference" is a generally good thing and seems to leave it there. Gee, that helps. Its good to not be feeling a sense of anger toward him. Its been as if he had something he wouldn't give to me (aside from the obvious). Maybe, he's at his limit with me. Just a human, hmmmm. I've been trying to get at this by asking if he has had other cases like me etc. but he is well guarded. Thanks, Widget

 

Re: sexual element of 'transference' with therapis DAisym

Posted by dancinbillie on January 5, 2008, at 9:59:26

In reply to Re: sexual element of 'transference' with therapis widget, posted by DAisym on January 4, 2008, at 17:42:34

DAisym, I just have to thank you very much for your post - the part about wanting to feel safe having sex and wanting someone I trusted to "teach" me. It's a perspective I've never thought about, and it really, really resonated with me. I know that my adoptive mom hated having sex, and talked about her father forcing her mother, and I knew she obviously didn't have sex to produce me - this is all mixed up, but thank you again. Have a wonderful weekend.

DB

 

Re: sexual element of 'transference' with therapist widget

Posted by RealMe on January 5, 2008, at 13:55:05

In reply to sexual element of 'transference' with therapist, posted by widget on January 4, 2008, at 9:05:57

He is human, AND he said you should talk about it.


This is the end of the thread.


Show another thread

URL of post in thread:


Psycho-Babble Psychology | Extras | FAQ


[dr. bob] Dr. Bob is Robert Hsiung, MD, bob@dr-bob.org

Script revised: February 4, 2008
URL: http://www.dr-bob.org/cgi-bin/pb/mget.pl
Copyright 2006-17 Robert Hsiung.
Owned and operated by Dr. Bob LLC and not the University of Chicago.