You and Your Therapist: Part II. Therapy Love

Help, I think I love my therapist!
How do I know if my therapist loves me?
What do I do if I think my therapist loves me?
How do I get my therapist to love me?
Am I supposed to hate the therapist I love?

I’ve been amazed at how many questions like these bring folks to Feeling Up in Down Times. Therapy love feels real, and it is real. It’s just not real love. It’s therapy love.

Transference – all the feelings you put onto your therapist that really emanate from somewhere, someone else. You idealize your therapist, adore your therapist, and then, at some point, you see the shortcomings and the inevitable happens. He or she becomes real, flawed, and not nearly so fantastic as your perfect transference version. Sometimes, you even hate her; talk about falling off the pedestal.

Countertransference – all the feelings your therapist has about you! Some say these emanate from your therapist’s own stuff, and others say you, the patient, bring these feelings out in your therapist. Either way, your therapist has feelings about you, too. But those feelings exist in the bubble of time that is your session, in the work that goes on between you.

Therapy love exists in the intimate moments of sharing your innermost thoughts with someone who listens to you, and who, in listening for the healthiest parts of you, helps you find and grow them. Who wouldn’t fall in love with that person, just a little? And how could a therapist who really sees you and accepts you not love you, just a little?

It’s a shared space that really doesn’t exist anywhere else, a place where you can say, be, do whoever and whatever – and you are safe. Safe to be yourself in relation to another person, your therapist, who is there only for you and your best interest. Your therapist loves you. You love your therapist. But it’s a special kind of love that only exists in the rarefied bubble that is psychotherapy. Take it out of the therapy space and it really doesn’t work at all. Because it’s not the love of two people who know one another; it’s all about you.

But in the therapeutic relationship, ah, it’s love all right. It’s therapy love.

Copyright © 2009 Marlin S. Potash. All rights reserved.


172 responses to “You and Your Therapist: Part II. Therapy Love

  1. I loved to read this. Very inspirational and amazingly true. Although its so very sad too as ‘its all about you’ and not anything mutual at all. Thus the mystery of therapy love remains inside our hearts and in the therapy space.

    I have never seen it this way before which makes me slightly overwhelmed but most of all enlightened. Really I’m so glad I found your excellent post!

  2. This topic is very interesting to me. I, a female, have been meeting a Pdoc in his home outside of office hours. Our meetings run usually 3.5 to 4.5 hours and there is a lot of self disclosure by him. I know almost everything about his life as does he about mine.
    Most of the time it feels like a date to me. You know, lots of eye contact ,smiles, and laughing. There is no touching except for a handshake at the end of our meetings.
    He has helped me more than anyone ever has and I really appreciate him being in my life but it still is a little confusing. Comments, please

  3. Hi, I just wanted to add that I found your post really interesting. Thanks. Aly

  4. Hi, I really enjoyed your post. I was getting a little afraid that you were going to say, he doesnt love you and that would break my heart. I truly love my therapist and he knows that I do but he is very professional and keeps the boundries, something I’m not very good at. He is the one and only man that has ever come into my life who treats me with respect and is so loving and I believe that he cares for me with his heart. I guess that his love and care has kept me alive.

  5. It’s wonderful, isn’t it, to be treated respectfuly and lovingly? It’s wonderful in a therapist; it’s even more wonderful out in the “real” world! The relationship between therapist and patient is a wonderful touchpoint, great ballast for exploring the creation and maintenance of a mutually-loving, equal relationship. Because therapy love, delightful and nourishing as it may be, is lopsided: all the attention is – should be – on the patient. For many people, this is the first, perhaps the only time in life that they are the center of someone else’s loving attention. Crucial. But not enough. Take that feeling of being loved and respected on the road. Use it as a model for what an intimate relationship should feel like for you – and for the other person. Mutual respect, mutual concern for each person, not at the expense of the other, but for the joy of being with one another. Therapy love is good; love in the real world? Even better… Good luck! Write back, soon.

  6. Thank you so much for your response. It really helps me to put it in perspective.
    today we discussed how much I love him, didnt go the way I’d hoped, he does not love me he is my therapist, Im having a hard time grasping that.

    I know he is right but my heart is really broke. I feel so unloved I am just a patient to him and he is my world. I have to move forward to a real relationship but my heart is with him, I feel so hurt but I know that I am wrong.

  7. Please know this: You are not “wrong” nor is your therapist not “right” about your feelings. It’s not about right or wrong; it’s not about being “just a patient”. What is it about? It’s about how you feel, what that tells you about yourself (and what love is and isn’t for you) and what you can learn from really talking about all this with your therapist. You get to feel however you feel. In therapy. In life. But if your heart is broken knowing your therapist does not love you the way you had hoped, is it possible you are beginning to learn that what you really want is a love that is reciprocated? Painful, scary as it may be, keep talking about what this means about you and love, not just you and loving your therapist, but you and love. In the great big world outside (but mirrored in) the therapy world.

    And for those of you wondering if this applies to you, the answer is yes. This is not advice given to one person I have not met, let alone seen in therapy. This is advice for anyone experiencing some version of this in their therapy. Talk to your therapist about it. That’s what therapy is for: you, your feelings, and learning from it all how to make your life work better.

  8. Thank you so much for your imput. You are very gentle with the handleing of my feelings and I truley appreciate it. As it stands i did speak with my therapist today on this and how hurt I am. However, I really have learned from all of this. Yes, I now can see that what I am looking for is someone, anyone to show me love I have never felt truley loved due to my upbringing and then choosing the wrong men and i am desparate to be loved. My therapist has shown me love, care, and respect. I guess I love it so much I think I love him and maybe I still do but i have to keep the bounderies. He was very sweet in explaining to me that the connection we have is real and he does care for me but it does not go any further than therapy. Im still trying to stay in that reality and learn from all of this. I have been fortunite that he puts up with me and never abandons me dispite what I put him through.
    all my love

  9. So glad you are working it out, Lisa. This is very difficult work, work that requires courage! One last comment: you therapist isn’t “putting up” with what you “put him through” This is what therapy is about! This is where you really learn the important things about yourself, and it’s what he does as a therapist. It may be uncomfortable, but it’s exactly what you’re “supposed” to be doing to take full advantage of your therapy experience. I’ll be he is delighted you two have made such progress. It takes a lot to start to trust… all best to you!

  10. You’re really great with Lisa. I appreciate your gentleness and honesty with her. We who struggle with therapy love can feel hopeless and empty once we discover how “unique” a relationship we have with our therapists. We’ve put so much energy into believing one thing about our feelings toward our therapists, only to find out we were wrong. It is love, yes, but not the love we thought it was.

    So thanks for the kindness you expressed to Lisa and to all of us who wish for a non-existent return of affection. You give me hope!

  11. Hi thanks for lovely words of encouragement.

  12. I am a lesbian. My therapist is bi-sexual, with a woman partner and a heterosexual marriage with grown children. I fell head over heals and think she did too. She would call me at home for silly reasons, stop by my (public) place of work, ask me to make artwork for her (which she’d buy). I told her about my feelings, which she found “charming”. She told someone I know that she had a terrible crush on an artist (me?)…I once asked her what she thought of me and she replied “I’m pretty well nuts about you”. I was on cloud 9 for 5 years and then suddenly, confusingly, she “fired me”…
    I don’t know what happened, but she was angry about something that day and yelled that she “had no feelings for me”, handed me a paper with the names of 3 therapists on it, and said “I can’t help you anymore”. It’s been 10 years and I’m still crushed. I can’t even date anyone because I’m so afraid that I’m poisonous. Any thoughts?

  13. And for 10 years you paid for this “therapy”? Getting almost-enough and then having it pulled away can be very captivating. Maybe even poisonous. Certainly not helpful, not good for your mental health. Your therapist is meant to be working for your best interest. Not taking advantage of the very issues you bring into therapy (and trust her with). You may have been “head over heels,” but your therapist is meant to help you decode your feelings, not play with them and leave you more confused.

    Date a real person in the real world. Talk about all this (and more) with a real therapist, if you can manage to try to trust one of us again. And recycle this garbage into (your) art, maybe?…

    Copyright © 2011 Marlin S. Potash. All rights reserved.

  14. Came across your site today . It`s Fantastic , you really know your stuff . But its how you word it and put it out there to help people . You are so in touch with the reality of how Therapy can make people feel while attending a Therapist . It is very real and the intense work that happens between the relationship between both has to be ” talked about ” in order to grow and move on in a healthy way . Thank you so much for your site and helping people the way you do so respectfuly .


  15. I am touched, and humbled. Respect should be a therapy given, no?

  16. Thank you for this,You are very good and say things naturally without being condesending, much like my own ‘therapy love
    ‘ At her best.

    It is so true, I have experienced all these feelings, particularly the idealisation of my therapist and then her falling off the pedastal!I am now right back in the ‘depressive position’ reaising the whole rality of her and feeling sad at some of myt more negativbe feelings towards.The therapy with her is ending now and reading your blog I feel mortified.However, I also feel it is bitter sweet.Like you have said,now that I have been able to trust her enough I have been able to tell her what the qualities I ike in her(not just physical) amnd what I seek for my four year relationship.It has help me realise what had died down and what was missing in opur relationship and what qualities I would like to see grow in my partner (which they seem to be now, probably because I behave differnetly towards her)
    I feel likle my therapuetic relationship is meant to end now, The feeling for my therapist were confusing me and sometimes consuming me – have grown (in her words) so much and also I feel I may be staying for the wrong reasons.I realise whether we have mutual feelings or not it does excist in that space and time, heck I even had a dream I weas chatyting to my therapist outside thje sessions and it was akward!A sure sign.
    But she has maintain the boundries well. She is an excellent young student therapist which made me like her more.but I know it is therapy love now.It makes me sad but it is bitter sweet tinged with happiness as we both develop.

  17. Hi, I too am in love with my therapist and I live in hope that something will happen between us but I don’t think that this will happen. All along we were giving each other handshakes at the end of the session but lately I have fondly rubbed his face (yes I did!) and the last day I rubbed his shoulder. But I am a woman and I like to be hunted rather than doing the hunting. I feel so happy meeting him but when I come away I start worrying about when I will meet him again. I have also made up problems in order to see him again and sometimes I pretend that I am a lot worse than I really am. He is after bringing out a side of me that I never thought existed.

  18. If the price of “bringing out a side (you) never thought existed” is creating problems and making yourself worse than you really are, perhaps the cost is too high? Making oneself smaller , sicker, needier in order to establish a loving connection with someone unavailable as a love partner is really not the way to go. You can do much, much better than this. All the feelings you have toward your therapist are real, but they do not necessarily mean what you seem to hope they do. But they are important, useful, and you should be sharing them with your therapist so that he can help. He seems to want to, to be trying to. If you can feel loving feelings toward – and from – your therapist, you can in fact feel them in “real life”, where they might be reciprocated and lead to a real, mutual relationship in which you are the best – not the weakest – version of yourself. Give your therapist a chance to help. The way he knows how to. Bring out that side is only the beginning; once it’s soldly yours, you are free to explore it fully and share it as best works for you… All the best

    Copyright © 2012 Marlin S. Potash. All rights reserved.

  19. I was so encouraged to run across your site. I too am feeling something.. I don’t know if I would call it love exactly, but at least a strong attachment to my therapist. What I find is that I miss him in between appointments and find myself thinking of ways to impress him. I’m very uncomfortable with these feelings because I’m married and I love my husband dearly, but it’s something that I cant get out of my mind. My rational “thinking” self knows that all the things you’ve said are true and that it’s an important and natural part of the therapy, but my heart is very conflicted and guilty over these feelings. My therapist has suggested that we go from weekly to every other week appointments and the thought of not seeing him every week really frightens me, even though I know I’m getting better.

    Then there’s the whole falling off the pedestal thing. I found out the other day that he is divorced and has an online dating profile. This really disturbed me. I was actually kind of angry to learn that he was divorced. That was just the other day and I’m somewhat worried about what our next session will feel like. I don’t plan on bringing it up.

    All of this transference stuff makes me wonder if it’s smarter to see a therapist who’s not of the sex you’re attracted to? I realize that you may still form an attachment to them, but it seems like it would maybe be less painful. I picked a male therapist intentionally because I traditionally see women for all my medical needs and I’m surrounded by mostly females (mother, sisters, friends, etc.) and thought it might be good to have a males point of view on things, but now I’m kind of regretting that choice. Anyway, just kind of needed to vent this to someone, or something, that was totally anonymous. Thanks!

  20. Those strong (erotic?) feelings toward your therapist (wanting to impress him, feeling guilty about your attachment to him, missing him and feeling frightened at the thought of seeing him less often)? They can indeed be surprisingly uncomfortable and confusing. They can also be incredibly useful. But only if you take what’s apt to feel like a risk and actually bring them into your therapy, talk about them with your therapist, rather than pushing them down or running away from them.

    Because those strong feelings likely come from somewhere deep down and long-ago; you didn’t choose to feel like this! Your unconscious made you do it (well, something like that). Feelings you’ve had in the past for significant people (your father, grandfather, first love?) get redirected toward your therapist. You extrapolate from some similarities, wishes, fears, and suddenly he’s a mythic figure. In the process, he attains some god-like status: he’s on the pedestal you refer to.

    Of course as an adult with critical faculties, the real person who is your therapist is anything but perfect; when the inevitable “flaws” emerge (he’s divorced and you are – mostly – happily married!), off the pedestal he falls. Well, he was never really as larger-than-life as you experienced him through the lens of the transference, and the realization of the disparity can be shocking. It’s perhaps more uncomfortable when there’s an erotic component, but something similar happens with a therapist to whom you don’t have any sexual attraction. You might find yourself having strong feelings of extreme dependency, jealousy over other patients, all sorts of overly large reactions that stem from viewing your therapist through the lens of your unconscious self contending with the confluence of real and historic, feared and desired. All this in reaction to your therapist, in whose presence you may find yourself feeling overwhelmed by childish or “inappropriate” feelings even as your rational self tells you something’s off here.

    Having the courage to raise all this with your therapist can be the first step toward understanding some important things about yourself. Your therapist – if he has some psychodynamic psychotherapy training – can direct you to explore the meaning of your transference reactions, and what they say about the unresolved conflicts they highlight. Of course in order to do this you must be able to trust your therapist to be professional, knowledgeable, and provide a safe place for you to explore these concerns verbally, all the while knowing nothing will happen, you won’t act on these strong feelings – either of you – you don’t quite understand yet.

    So maybe, just maybe, you can float the problem toward him. See how he reacts, how willing you are to trust him, how much courage you can muster for the process. Because in the process, through this uncomfortable and sometimes painful process, you must might learn some important things about yourself and your previously unconsidered reactions. And when you do, you will gain mastery over yourself, not by pushing uncomfortable conflicting feelings away, but by resolving them.

    Courage. Listen to yourself. And do keep me posted…

    Copyright © 2012 Marlin S. Potash. All rights reserved.

  21. Thank you so much for your response! I can’t tell you how much you helped me get over this hurdle. Something I’ve been working on in therapy is to set some time aside (so that these thoughts aren’t swirling around in my head endlessly) to really examine what emotions I’m feeling and why. So I considered all of my feelings and your input and I came to two conclusions:

    First, I don’t believe I’m really attracted to my therapist. You were correct in your assessment that I thought I had these feelings, but when I really examined what I was feeling, and even went so far as to imagine him jumping off his chair and swooping me up in a big romantic embrace, I felt… nothing. Honestly it’s not what I desire. I think what I’m in love with is therapy itself. The safety of the environment to explore parts of my self that I keep hidden from the rest of the world and the comfort of having someone completely on my side, looking out for my best interest. I believe that’s what I’m missing in between appointments and that’s why I’m scared of going less often.

    Second, I know I’m projecting a lot of the feelings I have toward my father on to him. He is significantly older than I am. I think I find myself wanting to impress him because I want him to be proud of me and love me like I want my father to, and I want to love him like I want to love my dad. I’m sure that’s why I was so upset about the divorce thing. My father’s been divorced twice.

    So it may sound a bit overly dramatic, but once I realized what was behind these feelings I instantly felt the strings of attachment to him loosen and in same cases fall off completely. I have to admit that I didn’t discuss everything with him, but I did talk to him more today about my struggles with my father and about how he reminds me of him. Even though I don’t know what your voice sounds like I can hear (or maybe see) your words in my head encouraging me to bring up all of it, and I promise that I will work to do that very thing in my next several appointments. I cant thank you enough! You really helped me through this. Who knows…maybe the key to happiness is TWO therapists?

  22. Everything everyone has wrote here is a great insight into transference. I am suffering transference at the moment even though my therapy stopped a long time ago, I spoke with the therapist about it and felt better at the time but now I feel down about it again. I want to go see a different therapise but I’m afraid I’ll suffer all over again with someone different. It hurts a lot, It’s like losing a partner. I’m not quiet sure what to do anymore but it’s helpful to see that I’m not the only one.

  23. I’m really struggling with the same thing here. Logically i know all my ‘feelings’ for my counsellor are about unresolved things from my past which i’ve transferred onto him & into our sessions, but it’s a nightmare. I’m trying to pluck up the courage to discuss it with him but not sure if i can risk it. I tried to edge towards the subject in my last session but totally lost the moment plus my nerve. I’m so worried he will react badly and not want me to be a client anymore. It’s so tempting to end our sessions by email and just walk away but that would be the coward’s way out. I think he has an inkling but doubt he has any idea of the extent of my angst because to complicate matters more, i’m very good at hiding my feelings.

  24. Thanks for this it was really helpful (although if you could write an article that would take the transference-therapy love away…..)!!

  25. Hi. I have told my therapist that I love her in several different sessions. I have been seeing her for about three years. There have been some very terrible rounds of transference and some intense emotional moments because of my PTSD. So this love thing isn’t always the focal point but it’s becoming that. I just told her I knew she didn’t love me back and that I wanted to learn how not to wear my heart on my sleeve but I didn’t want to be cold either. I want her to keep on liking me but somehow I can’t just relax and be quiet about my love. But now you are telling me she does love me in session. Why doesn’t she just tell me and we can move on to something else? Is there a law about her not divulging her feelings? I think I am ready to move on but have these strong feelings of dependency. I feel like a bird trapped by her! Can you help me get out of this cage?

  26. Me, too, all of the above! I can speak to the power of nerving up and talking openly about ALL the feelings that come up, the “crush” included. I don’t know why it has to be so excruciating at times, but I want to move into it in the hope of moving through it. I am alarmed by the post above (Lorena?) who is seeing her doctor in his home for4 and 5 hours at a time and he divulging all of HIS personal stuff..she asked for feedback but I didm’t see any …..that sounds really not cool to me, giant red flag about this doctor’s boundaries, intentions, professionalism and ultimately his keeping a safe space for the client. There are laws that protect patients from this sort of potentially abusive scenario. I would say be very careful. I am beginning to see and feel the way in which my therapist “loves” me…he s invested in the relationship, but only in so much as we are getting to know and appreciate and enjoy each other. Do I fantasize about kissing him? Yes! But I know that will never happen and I would be very scared and ultimately devastated if it did…no more therapy, no more growth and probably a very painful recovery from the lss of the therapeutic relationship.

  27. i am also desperately in love with my therapist. i am a female; he doesn’t know (i don’t think–as someone said above, i too am pretty good at hiding certain things) and because i have so many other matters and traumas and anxieties to work on, it’s not like i have a shortage of things to talk about…but i am *purposely* not mentioning my feelings for him because i feel i need to work on these other matters…and don’t want to start over from square one with someone else– establishing intimacy is very difficult for me (to put it mildly) and i know he’s an upstanding ethical gentleman who would immediately refer me to someone else, and i don’t want to start over with someone else, i (as an atheist) have complete ‘faith’ in him…even though he doesn’t even say very much in our sessions– and is definitely of the goal-oriented short-term CBT school–but he is so accepting…i have told him positively grotesque things about my life and my health i have told no one else, and he’s just taken it all in, remarkably, and, (i am sure of this) unlike any real person in the real world i could ever hope to find…because it’s not as though i am exaggerating when i say the things are grotesque…i’ve told bits and parts to various people over the years, testing the waters, and revulsion has been the universal response…which has taught me not to lay it all on any one person, which is exactly what i’ve done to this therapist, and, amazingly to me, he still seems to have respect for me (whereas to other therapists even a fraction of what i have told him made the entire therapeutic enterprise go downhill). and, being the egotist that i am, i respect anyone who managed even to feign respect for me…obviously i don’t know if his respect is real, but it seems genuine…what he really thinks about me on his own time is anyone’s guess, but i wonder, of course, because i suppose that’s part of my fanaticism/ passion/ pathology.

    i’ve only had a few relationships up until this point because of this very issue; i’ve lost friends because they simply didn’t want to/ couldn’t deal with my own problems/ my family problems/ my family background, and i don’t trust anyone, except this man (and i did briefly have a male therapist before this man as well, and though he was ‘easy on the eyes,’ i didn’t have transference…left because i didn’t like the atmosphere of the clinic–too cold and ‘clinical’ and institutional). (i am in my late 20s but have an old soul and am often attracted to older men, which i have mentioned in passing to him.) i have also talked about how i feel i am going to wind up alone, and i feel i need to really talk about this more in depth with him, as just another example of the many things i need to address before bringing up my feelings for him.

    so my questions are these: one, i doubt how therapeutic it would be to bring up my love for him, because, i know–gut feeling–he wouldn’t want to talk about it, he would just refer me out right away. i don’t think i could handle that kind of rejection. as it is, i was having major doubts about therapy in general before i met him (as a very private person, the Return on Investment for disclosing intensely personal and shameful things seems minimal sometimes, maybe even in negative territory) and if he didn’t work out i know myself, that i would likely, very likely re-isolate and stay away from therapy for a long while (years, decades), though i really do need to be doing some kind of self-work to be able to function in society– (i had had female therapists for a while before him and they were not satisfactory…in addition i have gender identity issues [really a subscription] and i have mentioned this, not only to work on them, but also, i think, on some level, to make him feel ‘safer,’ as though i haven’t gotten to the point where i’m thinking about him constantly…)

    …and Q. two, i know that a lot of people will say i am in love with the acceptance, but the thing is, i do find this man ridiculously attractive physically–arousing. and i’ve felt this way since day one…on the one hand i’m constantly pinching myself with gratitude that i finally have a great therapist who also happens to be hot, and on the other i’m morbidly sad that, sooner rather than later, i will be essentially homeless…because i will crawl back into my rambling, racing-thoughts mind and be without him and without any therapy, because establishing trust for me, after all the times in my life that i have been rejected and judged, seems next to impossible. well, impossible.

    i need therapy; i need to learn how to have relationships–i was a neglected child, left to figure out a lot on my own, and am still a loner, and obviously i didn’t/can’t figure out everything myself (as much as it pains me to admit it) and obviously there’s a lot of stuff i haven’t gotten the memos on. as it is, even with my intense love for this man, a love i have not felt in a long time, i often wonder, in my many alone hours and in therapy, if i am not antisocial and if i am not more suited to an asexual life, alone. and to top it off i can’t orgasm (something i have not brought up yet), and i’m wondering if i should get a sex therapist (but i can’t afford one)–but i’m wondering if i should not broach that with him and save that for some sex therapist way down the line. life has seemed to be, in so many ways, from my upbringing til now, one long exercise in delayed–if not utterly smashed–gratification.

    i fear even writing this note, even anonymously, because it’s really a six-degrees-of-separation-world and i need absolute confidentiality, but staying up at night sleepless hoping to find other people’s words that speak for me, that match my own, is not working. because i don’t think anyone’s words can match my own–in my mind i’m going to begin an epic love affair with this unattainable, unavailable man, who is married, and more or less ride off into the sunset…i didn’t go into therapy looking for a date or anything, but i am steadily getting more convinced that this man is my life partner…irrational as it seems: i think i’m going to restart my life with him, and become a better person to attract him to me and make him happy with me. but i am, independently of all the theories on attachment and approval and te glories of therapy and whatnot, absolutely devoted to this man. so much so that i am willing to suppress any sign just so that i could keep seeing him, even if only in therapy– it would be better than never seeing him again at all. if i were not to see him anymore, i could not imagine how dark my life would become. however, all this said, any *sincere* and *constructive* comments and perspectives would be greatly valued, as i am definitely pulling my hair out about this and getting progressively more mentally unhinged about this.

  28. I have been seeing my therapist for a little over a year, mainly for couples but now individually as well. Thank you for providing a forum to discuss this! I have felt such longing for him.I feel so caught up in this cycle of secretly hoping something physical will happen and then feeling somewhat devastated when I leave his office and it hasn’t. I know that he is being professional but I wished he thought I was so special and amazing that he couldn’t help himself (not too narcissistic!). I feel like he’s the only person who truly understands me. It’s hard for me to have such emotional intimacy with an extremely attractive man and not have the intense physical attraction. What clouds this for me is several years ago, he did cross the line with a client and had to surrender his medical license, but still practices therapy. He has never said or done anything even remotely inappropriate and is, from my experience, a very gifted and insightful therapist. I feel such a connection with him and wonder why I can’t be that person, which I know is ridiculous, because I’m there to help improve the intimacy in my marriage. I feel like such a confused mess and very adolescent. We have discussed it and I just can’t seem to let it go and move on.

  29. Here’s what I think about that…yes, I have had all that longing for my therapist like all of you, BUT…when I think it through, if he really DID grab me or something, even if we kissed or did a sexy hug or something like that, it would be THE END of my therapy, and I would end up feeling tramatized and grief-stricken that I had ever allowed or encouraged anything like that. It would get SERIOUSLY WEIRD emotionally if that were to happen, even though I have had my little adolescent fantasies… not to mention that I, too, am married and happily so!! So my advise is to really think it through to the logical conclusion and realize it’s totally counter-productive if something happens. It also worries me that this therapist already had issues with boundaries…red flag there for sure! But if you think he is helping you, great, just keep those pants ON!!

  30. Thanks Gretel, made me laugh. I think the boundary issue was completely devastating for him personally and there has not been a hint of it in our work together, it’s totally all my stuff. Your suggestions make sense, especially the pants part, lol.

  31. I’ve had a crush on my psychiatrist for a while now, although it started about a year after I began seeing him for treatment- after my husband left me. He reminds me of my brother who I adore and is incredibly handsome too. Plus kind and attentive, so I know it is natural. to top it off, he encouraged me to join a dating site because he felt I was emotionally ready. 2 months later, I see him on the same site- he was matched with me by the site to make it worse (talk about a fantasy!). I looked at his profile so I know he know’s I’ve seen it. With children the same age, both divorced and both on the site we have a lot in common. But him being a very professional doctor and being respecful of boundaries, he has never brought this up. Since I have found him on the site my feelings have become very strong and I have a huge urge to talk to him about it. I am afraid to, first because I’m afraid he’ll be freaked out (unlikely since I’m sure others have had crushes on him) and because of the private nature…I don’t want to embarrass him. But it seems like an unusual situation where talking might not be a bad idea, I just don’t want to invade his privacy. I am clear headed and am 100% aware he will not try anything with me so I’m not trying to live out a fantasy. I have extreme social anxiety with men and I think clearing this fantasy out of my mind would help me. He has talked to me about my profile (when I’ve brought up dating issues) and has even advised me what to write, so he makes it somewhat clear (though indirectly) that he is familiar with online dating. Is it inappropriate to bring this up? He is not a therapist but a psychiatrist so I’m not sure how he’ll approach it. He is direct with a dry sense of humor which I get (many don’t) and we do have a good repoirte (sorry if I spelled that wrong). I see a female for therapy but am leery to bring this up as I don’t want to share all the details (or out him to a colleague that he is online dating) so I don’t have another professional to bounce this off of.

  32. Also forgot to mention, most importantly that I’ve been getting upset, fearing (realistically) that he has met and will meet someone. I feel jealous wishing it were me, though I know it can’t be and if it were would only lead somewhere bad. Taking the fantasy out of the crush and knowing about some of his personal life has made this harder- the biggest reason I’d like to talk to him. What are the odds that he may realize this but is waiting for me to say something to him?

  33. Of course you should bring it up! In fact, it would have been a whole lot easier if he had, rather than hinting about it. But since he has been only indirect, it seems to me you would be doing both of you a favor, putting this on the table, out in the open, rather than he knows you know and you know he knows but no one has said anything!

    No doubt he didn’t take a course in how to go online dating when your patients are, too, but two respectful people should be able to resolve this with a minimum of awkward discomfort and a good amount of shared humor. Bravo to you for tackling the elephant in the room in mature and direct fashion. Now all that’s left is to talk through the thoughts and feelings in a manner that ensures you get maximum therapeutic benefit, and focusing the ensuing conversation there, well, that is his responsibility.

    Copyright © 2012 Marlin S. Potash. All rights reserved.

  34. Thank you for your response. I wanted to initially say something but some friends said not to- that I might embarass him. I was afraid of at first. But thinking further found it hard to believe he’d be embarrassed since he essentially sold me on the idea and then joined himself. Given we’re in the same demographic so to speak (young kids, in our 40’s), we were bound to show up as “matches” for each other. I feel like if I talk about it with him, he can be a huge help to me in overcoming my social anxiety with men (we are also both in our 40’s). I am also aware though, that what makes one person feel relieved can make the other person feel awkward or worse. I don’t want him to begin misinterpretting everything I do or feel like he needs to be extra distant in our meetings. So, my next question is, how do I bring it up? I have no idea how to approach the subject at all.

  35. I’m not sure how to bring this up, We usually have 20 minute appointments and it’s not for another 2 weeks. It doesn’t seem like enough time and feels like a long time to wait…do I make a longet appointment or is that melodramatic (like I’m being now) . And how in the world do you bring up something like this? He’ll either expect it or be utterly surprised/confused.

  36. Repeat after me: “I am the patient. He is my doctor.” If that doesn’t clarify things enough, try this: ” I am the customer and I am paying this person to help me. I am paying for his time and his expertise, and it is his job to help me, not my job to help him.”

    It is thoughtful to have empathy for your psychiatrist. But worrying more about his feelings and how you should handle talking about something you would like to get comfortable with, worrying more about his reaction than your needs, well that just might be tied into the issues you came to treatment to deal with. As a professional, his concern should be to use this situation as grist for the mill, an in Vivo example of the sort of thing you sought treatment (with him) for.

    Tell him. Just take a breath and say it in one sentence. Quick. I know you are anxious, so get it over with. Then be quiet. Resist the urge to say or do something to make the discomfort – yours, his, real, imagined – go away. Listen
    to your own thoughts and feelings while you wait for his response. And then let him do his job and figure out how to use this shared experience in such a way as to help you.

    If you get lost, scared, worried, just remember to repeat “I am the patient, he is my doctor.”

    It will be good for you. For both of you.

    Copyright © 2012 Marlin S. Potash. All rights reserved.

  37. Yes that is exactly one of my issues I’ve grappled with my whole life…worrying more about how others think about me than taking care of my own needs. Thank you so much for this advice, it is extremely helpful.

  38. found this post after desperately typing in “in love with my psychologist” as I do not know what to do about my feelings for my therapist. I am a medical doctor, so feel I “should” have been able to prevent these feelings from arising. Your post is beautiful, and so very helpful, thanking you.

  39. I have been working with people in psychotherapy for a very, very long time. I have been feeling feelings for an even longer time. And this much I can say with assurance: we can no more prevent ourselves from feeling what we feel than we can force ourselves to feel what we do not. We feel what we feel. We can change how we think about what we feel. We can change how we behave when we have a particular feeling. We can change the power we give to any particular feeling we might have. But change how we feel, prevent how we feel? I don’t know how to do that, nor how to show someone else how to do that. Because I do not believe it possible to not feel what we feel, nor to feel what we do not feel.

    There is no “should” or “should not” in the how-you-feel department. There is, however, the question of how to interpret, make sense of, understand the feeling, and how you choose to act – or not act – on it. Looking at it this way may help you feel a bit less embarrassed. Remember that one of the goals of therapy is to better understand how you feel as well as why you feel the way you do. And, by understanding the antecedents, causes, meanings you attribute to your feelings, allow those feelings to catch up with your thinking, allow those old feelings (and beliefs) to change such that they are more accurately in keeping with your current reality and ensure you behave in ways that are in keeping with your best interest.

    You do not need to do all this alone. You certainly do not need to do it BEFORE you raise these concerns with your therapist! You need to raise your concerns WITH your therapist, who can help question, interpret and guide you to better self understanding. You do need to summon what courage you have (I will be cheering you on!) and put your concerns on the table with your therapist, whose job it is to help you look at the puzzle pieces from another perspective, and with you put things together so your feelings, thoughts and behaviors more accurately reflect the you you currently are, and the you you would be if you were the very best version of yourself.

    If you can trust your therapist, be patient with yourself, and sometimes hold your nose and jump in, you will find the rewards dwarf whatever discomfort you must overcome to give it a go. Courage! It is worth it. You are worth it. And you are not alone.

    Copyright © 2012 Marlin S. Potash. All rights reserved.

  40. Thank you for letting me know that “I am not alone.” I read all these posts today because I am facing the same situation and wasn’t sure what to do. I know now that I am going to have to discuss my transference with my counselor over the next week. I really think he already knows, and will acknowledge my courage for bringing it up in the kind and gentle way he always responds. A part of me will be sad because by dealing with this, I will miss some of the feelings I have had towards him. Of well, I think some of the work I have done so far is preparing me for what comes next. What I really want is a good lasting real life relationship with someone that goes both ways.

  41. Hello, these posts are really helpful thank you ! I am currently seeing a female psychologist and I myself am female, but I find myself attracted to her. The confusing thing is I am heterosexual, and sometimes I get these feelings of jealously when I think of her with her with other patients and I cry a lot when thinking about it. I get other feelings of wanted to hug her and getting to know her, but I am not 100% sure if I feel sexually attracted to her. What hurts the most is having all these feelings brewing up inside of me and I can’t act on any of them, I don’t know if I should tell her or just wait it out ? Any help ? Obviously my biggest fear, like most people here, is loosing that relationship and taking that gamble. Do I tell her my feelings to save this torment it is causing me or do I push my feelings aside because I feel like she is a good Dr. ? Confused

  42. Hi
    I have really gotten a lot out of all these posts. I had a therapist for 3 years the transference happened and I was to afraid to talk about it. The therapy stopped progressing. I got referred to her boss. It was very hard. But it was a growing experience. With my knew therapist I am now very open about the transference. There has been some much growth. And reading what has been written here has really in couraged me to open up more
    Thank you Sun

  43. Therapy is work. It is a job for which the therapist gets paid, as they should. If caring happens in that “bubble” of a therapy session, we need a word other than caring or love to describe it. Recall please that the therapist will not even see you if he or she is not paid. That sounds like a car mechanic who will not try to fix the engine of a car stuck on the side of the road unless he or she is paid upfront. It is not fair to expect anyone to work for free. It is also unfair to call something love when the “empathy” some people confuse with love is a tool in the kit of the therapist and generally has little to do with their actual feelings. Work in an office full of therapists to discover how they really feel about their patients and their work.

  44. I hope the world of therapy is not as cold as this sounds. Although I understand that it is a service for a fee, I still believe that therapists are human and there are often real feelings, positive and negative, involved. Believe me I’ve been in sessions where I’ve felt geniune caring and others where I’ve experienced genuine frustration and annoyance on behalf of the therapist (the same one). If there is no genuine caring, why be in this line of work?

  45. Therapists are people. We come in lots of styles and flavors, bringing each our own biases and motivations, needs, wishes and fears. Some see being a therapist as a job or a business, others a profession, still others a calling. Some – well, me – have been known to see their work in all of these ways, sometimes all on the same day. It is an odd profession: the work rests on a foundation of perceived expertise and empathy, requires trust and self-disclosure for most effective outcome – and sometimes looks and feels like paying for the human connection and attentive concern one wants to be on the receiving end of when freely given.

    Yes, the therapist gets paid for what s/he provides: expertise and time. Being a therapist is a way to earn a living, support a family, maybe even save for retirement and old age. But this does not mean that money is the (only) motivator for the therapist. There are myriad other professions that compensate more on a years-of-education-and-training basis. A smart and hardworking therapist could be a smart and hardworking investment banker, with an income to match.

    So why does any given therapist choose this field? Ah, that is a question a potential patient might well ask, but seldom does. And what does any given therapist “get” out of their work with you, the patient? Another interesting question seldom asked. It’s true that as a business no payment = no treatment. It is, after all, necessary for the therapist to pay her bills, too; payment for services rendered is part of the deal. But “the therapist will not even see you if she is not paid” is not true of all therapists, and most therapists do not require payment upfront. Many of us work in clinics that take insurance, have sliding scales for those truly in need, give time without charge, sometimes even accept soup in lieu of payment.

    No doubt there are therapists for whom the work is merely transactional, whose professional empathy is a veneer that covers a lack of “real” empathy. No doubt there are therapists who do not like or care about a patient – maybe even all their patients. And perhaps, like a dentist who loves the artistry of his work but dislikes the person attached to the mouth, a given therapist can be effective utilizing treatment technique alone.

    But I would not want to be the patient of that psychotherapist. Nor would I need to be. There are other therapists – many, if not nearly enough – who do this work for a blend of reasons that include the intellectual and emotional rewards found in helping people better understand themselves and improve their lives. Other therapists whose feelings of care and concern are very real indeed, even if – especially if – they are bounded by the limits of appropriate professional behavior necessary for creating an atmosphere of safety in which the patient might fully explore himself and his needs. That is the sort of therapist you will know you have found if you listen to yourself as you ask this question: “Am I comfortable enough with this person to share my real concerns, yet uncomfortable enough that I know I’m delving into things I wouldn’t share over a coffee with a friend or family member.” That is the sort of therapist I would seek out for treatment. That is the sort of therapist I strive to be each and every day, succeeding more or less, but being guided always by “what is best for my patient.”

    Copyright © 2012 Marlin S. Potash. All rights reserved.

  46. That is wonderful to hear….I’ve always wanted to ask my therapist if he felt fulfilled in his work, but felt it was inappropriate, yet I kinda want to know.
    Of course, the answer would probably be something like ” yes, most of the time ” I hope I am not just something he suffers through…

  47. I have spent the last year living, breathing and admitting transference! I was very regressed and had schizophrenia when I met my psychiatrist, so I attached to him in a childish way, looking to him to be my dad. I was heartbroken when he used to cut our sessions short or when he was abrupt with me, and I started self-harming in protest as well as doing things to get back into hospital so I could see him. I even felt suicidal about it so I decided to tell him. I thought he would refer me immediately, but instead the first words he said were, “I am not going to reject you.” He then organised for me to have shared care with another therapist who he knew could offer me skilled psychotherapy. Since then I have become really good at admitting how I feel to both of them (I see one for medication, one for therapy). But I know the turning point in my growth and healing came when I told my psychiatrist how I felt; it was the most embarrassing moment of my life but one which I am hugely grateful for.

  48. I am female and have been in counseling for a few years. My counselor is the best. It is so difficult for me to open up and until recently I havent. I guess some people take more time than others. I am a social worker myself and have found it hard to ask for help, but recently, I have worked so much harder. Sometimes when its hard for me to talk, I journal and read it out loud or we do art while we talk. She has allowed me to incorporate methods that we work on together and I have gotten so much stronger. I have admitted that I have a crush on her, and we work through it. We work through so many issues. She has been my light in the dark,she has helped me in more ways than I could ever explain. I learned that its OK to feel certain things and when you talk about them with someone that you feel safe with you feel empowered, I hope everyone has a good experience. I know that my counselor is awesome! We dont always see eye to eye but WE work through it Together!

  49. Maybe a twist on the above messages… Saw a female therapist who was also seeing my children at the recommendation of my wife who knew her from church. Felt what I suppose is transference and saw what I suppose is counter-transference. Brought it up and had 2 intense sessions. I was very confused to say the least. Told my wife. She accused me of trying to have an affair with her and threatened to pull the kids. I agreed to quit. Cancelled next appointment without speaking to the therapist. Felt… awful… Finally called back several weeks later and told her what had happened, to which she promptly replied “I cannot be your therapist”, and “if you feel you are still in need of therapy, I can provide references”.

    Bringing it up initially was hard. Ending it unresolved was devastating, especially because it felt like we had connected. I often times am lost in the conversations we had that led to my telling her how I was feeling… and the intense sessions immediately following… and I’m left with… what happened? What’s real? What’s fake? What was I doing? I try and force myself to “dislike”… doesn’t work. I want nothing to do with this again…

    So, beware of what you get yourself into… there are probably some good rules to think about in what I wrote for those thinking of bringing this up…

    Nice article by the way. Would not have posted had I thought otherwise 🙂

  50. Since this therapist sees your children in treatment, and since you saw her at the urging of your wife, who knows her from church, why not go for one last therapy session with your wife? The purpose: to have the therapist explain the phenomenon of transference and countertransference to you and your wife, to answer any questions your wife (or you) might have, and to put to rest any lingering concerns.

    There is nothing at all shameful about having certain emotional and erotic feelings about one’s therapist. After all, how common an experience is it for a man and woman to be emotionally and intellectually intimate without being physically intimate? There really are no clear models for this in our culture (remember the movie When Harry Met Sally? and that was years ago!). By having one last session, the three of you, you make it clear to your wife that you had – and have – no intention of acting on any feelings you might have had, clear up any confusion either of you have (it sounds as if there may be lingering concerns for each of you) and you rid yourself of any shame associated with trying to hide something that really isn’t shameful at all.

    It is the therapist’s job to make the therapy experience safe; that means ensuring nothing happens besides talk. In this instance, so many different relationships were/are involved (you see one another at church, she treats your children, she saw you at your wife’s urging). It is particularly important you and your wife trust and feel safe with this therapist seeing your children, and that means you must trust her, both of you. It takes an experienced and gifted therapist to treat multiple family members without it creating more problems than it solves. In rural areas with not much choice, it may be necessary. In some instances, it may be very helpful. But it is rife with possibilities for misunderstanding, blurring of boundaries, the only family member who is not in therapy to feel left out, ganged up on, or just not understanding a common language. Don’t let this sour you on psychotherapy altogether. That would be like never getting another pair of eyeglasses if your last pair never quite fit properly. It sounds as if you had a powerful emotional experience, a real (not fake) one. A different therapist (one with whom you felt comfortable enough to share your feelings, uncomfortable enough you know you’re not sharing a coffee with your best buddy) might well help you do more than make sense of what happened: he (yes, I’d suggest a man this time) could help you take good advantage of this experience to learn about yourself.

    Copyright © 2012 Marlin S. Potash. All rights reserved.

  51. Thank you. I live in the city. Funny thing was, other than knowing she was seeing the kids, I didn’t know she went to the church… I didn’t know many things. I approached the situation (which was recommended by a psychatrist who had actually recommended other people) in a very naive way. I knew of her because I knew she helped the kids… and one in particular… who is so very hard… and the other because of the first. The “main” kid had gone through so many… and this one stuck. So, I trusted her… my wife trusted her. I still do. She still does. I think we’ve worked through… our part. My wife’s and mine. I didn’t see her because of kids but because of sleep issues… but… when I came home with the note from the psychiatrist with the names (“main” sees him too), wife said, “why not therapist”… I had no idea what CBT meant… and thought hypnosis would be cool… but it turned into talk… talk that always turned to the kids. I figured CBT (know what that means now) would be some sort of “wire you up to a machine with brain electrodes and fry you to sleep” or something… I didn’t know I would feel like I did.

    My wife’s degree is in psychology. I thought she would understand. She said there is no such thing as “positive transference”… only “negative transference”. After all this, we watched “The King’s Speech”… and I told her “that’s positive transference”. When “main” cursed at me after dinner for something completely non-sensical, she said “that’s transference”. Whatever…

    I appreciate your recommendation on seeing her again, but frankly it would be too uncomfortable. The stupid thing is… I just want her to be my friend.

    Again, thank you.

  52. Sounds like seeing her again would not only be too uncomfortable, but unnecessary. Sounds like you’ve worked it out, worked it through and moved on. Well, almost. You’re still left with trying to make sense of all this – on your own. It really needn’t be so hard, and you really needn’t feel stupid at all. Sounds like she has been quite helpful on multiple fronts, and that you are appreciative. Sounds to me like one good definition of friendship.

    Copyright © 2012 Marlin S. Potash. All rights reserved.

  53. Hi all, I am thankful for all your post as I have just read on here. And it helps to know Im not alone. I too have had a awful time of feelings for my therapist, recently.This happened in July. and it was near my last session of therapy. A few days before my last session, I told my therapist by telephone, that I hope he wont laugh at me, but all the attention he has given me has gone to my head! He was okay, and said “it happens” . Anyway, I felt so guilty and confused, I am married and religious. I went to see my therapist and could hardly look at him. He said, he though I would not come, anyway, I been seeing him for Ocd. And he gave me some homework and said phone him in November for more therapy. And you can see me or if I want want to see someone else. I felt really upset and very emotional. As I had not been able to talk about my feelings for him. When I got home, I called him, and said I need to talk with him, and that why would I want to see someone else, when I have built trust with him? He said we need distance at this time. I said how will I cope till November? Then he said. I can call him to let him know how I am doing. Next day I called again, and could not stop crying. He said he will ring me next week. Week later, I waited for a call, then I called him, he was busy, so I phoned again, then he said, how many times did u call? I felt awful and said sorry, so he said iIwill speak to you soon. A few days later, i called and his supervisor did not let me speak to him. I was horrified. And she said I called too much. I mean I only called, I wasnt any danger to him!! Anyway, since then I sent him(therapist) a couple of messages on facebook(he dont reply), but I asked he will please see me in November? and not dump me, As he knows I had enough abandonment and rejection issuses. And I said, in first message you are rejecting me. Also my doctor has written a letter to his office, explaining on my behalf, that I have been very emotional, but want him to see me and help me regarding my ocd. I had spoked to his supervisor on phone, and she said, I write down that I dont need to phone up at the moment. I said why cant I talk with my therapist? she said you are discarged at present! I had to cope with all my stuff alone!! But she said they will see me later on. So any thoughts welcome. My therapist was really caring, and I can’t see him, not caring for me now. I think he dont want me to be dependant on him. And did say, (we need distance at present.) But I really hope he will see me in November, as I keep worrying, about it. And really need to talk to him. To sort my feelings out. I am better than I was with my feelings. Never thought I this could happen to me!

  54. Forgot to mention, that the time I phoned my therapist and he said” how many times did you call?” I felt so bad, that nite I sent the office a text and said, my therapist has really upset me, and since he is mad at me I wont bother him, and deal with my own problems. (which I wish I hadn’t text!) So next morning after my text I phoned therapist office and said last nite, I sent text, but please ignore it as I was upset. The receptionist said, they had not checked phone or texts yet. And I sent email, to apologize for calling my therapist when he was busy, So I have made it clear, that I dont want to be passed on to any other therapist, but want to continue with the one I had cos I have build A trust with him. ( I still feel bad just writing here, that I was upset!!).

  55. Hello everyone. I’ve also read all of the posts and they have made me feel better. I had been dealing with anxiety issues for some time.. Once I found a website, when I was looking for information about it (to overcome it). I found my psychologist online. Our therapies are done by webcam. I’ve been with her almost a year now and she’s helped me a lot. I am usually kind of shy but very social and happy person. At first I mantained some distance, because I know I get attached to people easily and didn’t want to deal with any suffering later.. But I noticed that she was extremely nice to me everytime. She would smile a lot, and try to make me laugh, stuff like that. Too empathic, so I would respond in a normal way (not too emotional, so I wouldn’t get attached). Right now I’ve been feeling like all of you.. I have even wished that we lived in the same country and our therapy wouldn’t be over the Internet. I have wanted to meet her personally 😦 Once she even told me that maybe someday I could go and visit her and then she laughed. Was she talking seriously or was she joking? I don’t know. I guess my question is how do we know when our therapist is being empathic and when they are being flirtatious? I mean, where do we draw the line? How to know if we are joking too much or if that’s fine. She told me I could call her by her name, however I was confortable, and sometimes I find myself calling her by her first name (since we are both young, I am 26 and she is I guess around 30) and other times I just call her doctor (I guess to build some distance). I get scared about it sometimes. Because I try to ignore those feelings and somehow when I am too serious I notice she tries to be too nice and makes me attach again, uhhhhh. Not fair. And then if you attach, you are the one suffering not the therapist. I am also heterosexual. I love men. But I have felt attracted to her. I know deep down, this is normal and it’s also some sort of fantasy, not real. But it’s still unconfortable. I guess nobody likes to feel like this when the main purpose was to resolve some other problem. I haven’t told her anything about this, I really don’t know if she suspects, she is very intelligent, but still I am very good also hiding my feelings. I haven’t really thought about talking about this with her, I’ve thought that maybe it isn’t necessary since I can control it and it’s not like I’m feeling like this all the time. I feel like this once in a while and when I am in therapy with her (I see her almost every week). Recently I had to travel and I was away for 3 weeks, I used that time to relax and take time for myself. Then when I got back she e-mailed me asking me when I wanted to continue our therapy? I didn’t respond quickly because I wanted to be distant for a while. Then eventually I answered her and continued with out therapy. So, I am back again with the same situation. Sometimes she looks happier and other times she looks more serious. I guess I can never figure out what’s on her mind about me. I have the same issues as some of you mentioned: fear of rejection, of being alone, want to meet somebody special, need of attention, love, also feel jealous of other patients (when she uses them as examples in our sessions), feel kind of bad when we talk about payment. So, thank you very much for sharing your stories, it helped me understand that I am not the only one feeling this way. I know this will pass and we will eventually feel better.

  56. Something else.. I sometimes forget she is my therapist and find myself talking to her as if she was a friend. Sometimes I have wanted to ask her things about her, or questions but don’t know if it’s appropriate? Like for example: Why did she study psychology? Things like that.

  57. I know what you mean, Anonymous- my therapist said to be on phone- im not your freind. This made me feel awful. I hate now much this has made me think and worry about therapy. Cos im waiting to see my therapist in November, but they dont tell me he will she me for sure.

  58. I feel hurt by the love component of therapy. I’ve been in love with my therapist for two years. While I received so much help with depression, suicidal ideation and cutting, I feel like I’ve traded them for the intense pain of a love that can never be reciprocated.

    My therapist and I have talked a lot about this and I worked through much of my family of origin issues. Now that I am “waking up” from love therapy I feel humiliated that I gave my therapist love letters, erotic letters about the two of us and I even told him my sexual fantasies. I went all out to try to capture his love. In retrospect, I don’t know what I was thinking.

    He was very accepting and said he appreciated my feelings for him. He worked really hard to gain my trust. He maintained the boundaries for both of us because I found that very difficult.

    Still, I’m embarrassed by my letters to him and the fantasies I told him about. I see him 1 – 2 times a week and he is ever the gentleman. But I wonder what he really thinks.

    My heart hurts every time I think about him so I force myself to not think about him. I appreciate this posting board. It makes me feel like I’m not alone.

  59. I think we need an “I love my therapist” recovery support group.

  60. Hi Everybody,
    Wow, great blog. I also am in love with my therapist. I am 51 and she is 53
    I am a lesbian and so is she. So, a very confusing dynamic. However, she
    has been incredible about talking with me about my transference. She has
    said that she’s not going anywhere and that if I am willing to stick with her
    she’s willing to stick with me. I know she will never ever cross the boundary
    and I really don’t want her too… I would be mortified and would destroy our
    therapeutic relationship. However, I think about her constantly and the pain
    is constant, although she says it won’t last forever. It has been over a year
    now and I still am in pain. How do i get over my feelings for her?? How do I
    do the work that I need to do without obsessing over her. If anyone has
    some suggestions I could really use them.

  61. Hi Holly,
    I don’t think you should worry about what your therapist thinks about you. I mean its not your fault, you had these feelings for him. I think it just takes time, and soon you will be able to put this all behind you. Your therapist sounds like he had been very caring and helpful to help you with all this. Remember you are not alone, I thought this was only happening to me, till I looked up on here, and realised all this is quite common in therapy.

    Wishing you Good Luck

  62. Kimberly April

    I have been reading this blog for awhile this morning, and it has provided a sense of relief, a sense that I am not alone, and that everything will be OK. I have been in therapy for almost four years, and will be terminating next year, about 6 months from now. This was my idea.

    Everything was going fine until I brought up ending therapy. Then it seems that I somehow reacted to ending therapy with having conflicted feelings, fears, and wanting to stuff those feelings and run away. I didn’t run away yet, but it gets tempting. If I did run, I would be left with a lot of unresolved feelings.

    Like mostly everyone else here on this blog, intellectually I do know that my therapist is my therapist, but inside, in my heart I truly wish he were my father. The embarrassing thing is that he is 2 years older than I am…

    I would like to know about termination and how all of these feelings get resolved. These feelings have been intense, and feel so very real. The love feels very real. There is a lot of affection. I can tell he cares about me deeply. There are also boundaries which is why I feel so safe, understood, accepted, and cared for.

    Thanks for having this blog where we can find out we are not alone, and at the same time get access to information that we may need to process our feelings and fears.

  63. deepshadygreen

    Well, i’m very confused because i felt as though i was in love with my therapist, pretty much got over it and finished sessions shortly afterwards. Over a period of weeks he then, in my mind, completely fell off his pedestal, but I didn’t end up hating him. I decided that I respected him professionally and just thought it was amusing that I’d once had such strong feelings about him. I recently returned for sessions with the same therapist thinking it was safe and what do you know? I’m back to thinking he’s the perfect man, day dreaming about me and him getting together as a couple! It’s awful and I’m starting to regret going back.

  64. deepshadygreen

    Well, i’m very confused because i felt as though i was in love with my therapist, pretty much got over it and finished sessions shortly afterwards. Over a period of weeks he then, in my mind, completely fell off his pedestal, but I didn’t end up hating him. I decided that I respected him professionally and just thought it was amusing that I’d once had such strong feelings about him. I recently returned for sessions with the same therapist thinking it was safe, and what do you know? I’m back to thinking he’s the perfect man, day dreaming about me and him getting together as a couple etc etc! It’s awful and I’m starting to regret going back.

  65. Dear SusanM,
    Thanks for your response. I’m working on it.

  66. Dear deepshadygreen,
    I hope you are telling your therapist all of this. I told my therapist everything, as you can read above (!), and it helped me to work through my issues with parental units. Yes, I have some regrets and the pain of loving my therapist haunts me everyday, but the intensity of the pain has lessened and I feel like I have been emotionally healed in many ways.

  67. Dear Deepshadygreen,

    I feel this must be very difficult for you. Do you think you can maybe keep telling yourself, that your therapist is just that- “your therapist”. See him as doing his professional job.

    I am waiting to see my therapist, and when I think about it I feel quite stressed. I felt like its been first time in ages, that someone actually cared so much for me, that’s why I felt so attached to him. But I am trying to keep busy, and just got to wait to see what happens.


    Glad your feeling better that before. Well done! Wishing you the best of luck.

  68. Thank you both.
    I do keep telling myself that it is a professional relationship and keep trying to ignore the feelings I get when I see and think about him. I’m afraid I only edged towards telling him once the first time it happened. I then chickened out and ended up resolving the whole thing on my own, which I believe some therapists prefer their clients to do. I suspect he falls into this category. You’re a lot braver than I am as I’d rather have my toenails pulled out than tell him the full truth. At the moment I feel miffed and a little hurt that he has postponed the usual day of my appointment to another day. It isn’t official, but I usually go on a set day/time. He was very polite about it and apologised saying he had a problem with the time I usually came. I know it’s childish and unreasonable, but I’ve been wondering if i’ve been ‘bumped’ for another client. A more interesting client or one he feels needs his time sooner than I do. Or perhaps he just forgot that I usually see him that day and booked someone else in. I can remember feeling jealous about other clients last time. It’s horrible. I also know he’s married and that’s started to bug me again too. Maybe I’ll tell him how postponing my appointment made me feel and take it from there.

  69. Hi DeepShadyGreen,
    When I read your post, it reminded me of many of my feelings throughout therapy, so much so that I had to giggle. It’s soooo great to know there are other people out there who feel like I do! I’m really lucky that my therapist didn’t freak out when I told him about my feelings for him and I forget that every situation is different. I’ve visited a few other sites that discuss the issue of romantic love for your therapist and mostly they say tell your therapist. But I’ve read some posts where that didn’t turn out so good. That would have been disasterous for me. I have a therapist who isn’t afraid to talk about love and sex and is always courteous and says thank you for loving me while making it very clear that our relationship is doctor/patient. I feel free to be honest and am horribly so. Still a small part of me wonders what he really thinks. When I ask him if he thinks I’m a whack job, he says he doesn’t think I’m a whack job and encourages me to open up even more. We have a great relationship and cry and laugh together freely. I wish you had that too, but I think you should go with your gut feeling about your therapist and his ability to take in information.
    I’ve thought a lot about how jealous I am of my therapist’s wife and I’ve told him this too. I told him I wish I could be his wife and have his children. Can you believe that? But, now I’m glad my therapist is married because I think I would be more jealous if he was hitting the dating scene. I think it would tear me apart to have to think of him out there flirting, etc. At least only one woman shares his love and I think she takes good care of him, for which I am grateful. He seems happy.
    I have a regular appt time and would also be miffed if he blew it off. I trust him enough to know that he wouldn’t do that to me unless it was something really important and I think he trusts our relationship enough to know I would stay with him and give him the benefit of the doubt. Maybe your therapist feels your relationship is strong and can handle a few bumps?
    What would the consequences be if you told your therapist how you were feeling? I used to couch my feelings with the declarative statement like, “I know this is silly, but I felt this when you did this.” or, “I feel stupid saying this but I’m just gonna say it because you told me to bring what I was feeling to you, so I am and here it is.” Would it be worth the time spent talking about it? Maybe so. My experience is that the more I open up, be childish, be unreasonable, just let it all hang out, the more healing work I can get done. I don’t have any other point of reference, except what I read in these blogs, in which the writers seem to have varying degrees of success with their therapists. It scares me a little and yet let’s me know how lucky I am.
    Good luck with everything and let us know how it all works out. Hope this is helpful instead of a hindrance.

  70. deepshadygreen

    Thank you Holly, I think you are lucky to have such an open relationship with your therapist but with clear boundaries. Seeing my therapist has helped a lot, but my sense is that he doesn’t have the time and energy to be the therapist I think I need him to be. My appointment this morning didn’t go too well as he seemed bored and I ended up cutting it short. As soon as I got home I emailed him to cancel the appointment I’d made for next Wed.

  71. Dear deepshadygreen,
    I’m sorry to hear that. My condolences and thoughts are with you. I don’t know how you are feeling, but I know how very sad I would be. I’m giving you a virtual hug.

  72. Hi Deepshadygrean

    Just read your post. What happened in your therapy session? why did you think he was bored? Maybe you can call him, and tell him, how your are feeling regarding your last session. I guess all therapist are different, like all people are different. Holly’s post tells us, that her therapist is very understanding. I hope can have this support from yours too.

    I wish you good luck.

  73. I’ve felt better lately about this “love therapy thing”, haven’t touched the subject with my therapist but somehow it has zoomed out a bit. I guess some other things have been going on in my life and lately it doesn’t have the same priority. Still think about it sometimes but I don’t feel as obsessed with it anymore. It is a relief, to see her as a normal person and not make her the center of my life. Still working on it.

  74. Is anyone still moderating this page?

  75. Dear Deepshadygreen,
    How are you doing? It’s been a week or so since your last post.
    Dear SusanM, regarding your last post, I didn’t know how lucky I was until I read some of the posts above. Also, somehow, by reading the blogs – it helped to temper the painful longing I had been feeling for my therapist. It’s not gone, by any means, but it feels less painful. I’m thankful to everyone here for sharing their experiences and feelings. I’m also very grateful to feelingupindowntimes for facilitating our communications with each other.

  76. Hello,

    I too have deep feelings about my therapist. It’s been a year since I quit therapy(which lasted a year). I thought it would go away, but the thought of her still comes back.
    I really understand how the feelings occur and all about transeference. It’s only natural given the safe and warm invironment the therapy takes place in. But what can I do to stop feeling this way? What can I do to stop missing her since I understand why I’m feeling this way?

    I read about so many people facing this “problem” that it really makes me wonder: can therapy do more harm than healing? is it worth the risk? Seems like everybody ends up confused about the therapeutic relation. Just some thoughts 🙂

  77. deepshadygreen

    Hi Demi

    You have written my exact same thoughts over the last few days and so seeing a notification about your comment was interesting. Oddly enough, I also bumped into my old therapist yesterday for the first time in ages. It doesn’t happen very often, but when it does it is always very difficult for me. Once I was approaching a cafe and noticed him sitting outside. Before he could see me I spun round and fled in the opposite direction. It left me in floods of tears. Yesterday I was already ‘trapped’ in a very small cafe with a latte and was just asking the waitress for the wifi pin at the counter when he appeared in front of me. We both (i think) looked horrified, he spun round and went outside to speak to his wife (the wife I once felt very envious of) and I quickly sat down at a breakfast bar along the wall so that my back was to the room. It was hellish, but I decided to sit tight and try to relax. His wife then came over to pick up some paper napkins that were in a pile right next to me by the condiments. She politely said excuse me as she was reaching for a spot very close to me. I just froze and sat there staring at my notebook screen. Later he was chatting to the guy at the till behind me as he paid and I felt like turning round and saying ‘Hi’, but couldn’t face the possibility of him blanking me. I then felt really angry about the whole therapy thing. Yes, on one level it is a professional relationship, but on another level it most definitely isn’t and from my point of view that is exactly the problem. It’s neither one thing or another and I personally believe this ambiguity is the thing that leads to the confusion, hurt and sometimes even obsession. I only know who my ex therapists wife is because I googled him. For ages I felt terribly guilty and ashamed for doing it, but I don’t anymore. I was suffering at the time and was having real difficulties handling conflicting and strong emotions. Lucky, my unhealthy curiosity didn’t turn into a jealous rage. I no longer look either of them up or feel envious of her or fantasise about running away with my therapist. In fact, I wondered if the whole cafe experience had also been rather awkward/weird for him. I could be very wrong, but think I might have detected a hint of nervousness or something in his voice when he paid. His chirpiness sounded a little forced. Before this I could see reflections of him and his wife chatting outside on my notebook screen and found myself thinking that him and his wife seemed really cute together and just wishing I could have a relationship like theirs. So therapy love or whatever you want to call it does get better, but I doubt I’ll ever forget it and not sure if I’ll risk it again.

  78. Hi Demi,
    I have just read your post, and I have had similar problem with therapy. I never got to see my therapist and I waited months to see him, yet he didn’t answer my call. So what I learned, is it’s not good to trust someone that much, cos after all therapists are human and like I found out I was let down, badly. My family kept telling me that my Therapist wasnt “Great” Iike I thought, and I didn’t like it when they said this but, they were right. The fact that he just stopped talking to me with out explaining, Shows that. So I would say guard your heart. Yeah, talk to your therapist. But remember they are professional and not your friend. Hope this helps.

  79. I was in therapy for 18 months, then left for a year and the feelings never went away. So I called my therapist and now I have been with her another two and a half years. I am just now beginning to understand the relationship and do not have intense feelings anymore. If possible, go back and work through your difficult feelings. I hope you can, and wish you the best. I know my life has been so much better since I went back and dealt with it all. It’s hard but you can do it!

  80. Hello again and thanks for your responses,

    oddly enough I feel quite better after wrtiting about it. And the truth is that it is something that comes and goes. I usually have a lot a work to do so there’s no time for anything else. But when I do get plenty of time, the thought of my therapist may come.

    The problem is, we live quite close (although a big city) and her office is in a central area I have to go by very often. So I totally understand you deepshadygreen about the meeting experience. For some reason I am terrified of meeting her(thank god I haven’t so far) and I can’t help myself thinking when entering the subway that she won’t step in at the next stop and wishing she is driving a car instead. Which I find odd. Why would I feel this way? Why find it so awkward to meet her?

    Like many other said, it’s not sexual really. It’s more sort of a caring and wanting to get to know this person. A person who you realise got to see the very core of you and for whom you know nothing perhaps other than a name. And I think that when you expose yourself so much, the very core so to speak, you want to know what that other person thinks. Did they see something beautiful in who you are? I think that’s what we really anguish for.

    And in the end because we don’t know this person we build a myth around it and that’s what we have to do, deconstruct it.
    As for going back, I don’t want to. Not for this, it doesn’t feel right. Because in the end it is a professional relationship(SusanM you’re right) and when going for instance to a doctor, you do because you have a medical situation, not because you feel like seeing that person. And it’s not like we have to need a therapist for everything, we should be able to deal things on our own too!

  81. I have intense feelings for my therapist. It has been a real struggle.
    However, she has been willing to stick by me to sort my feelings out.
    Your feelings are there for a reason: That is what she told me. I am
    forever grateful that she has been there to help me get through these
    intense emotional feelings for her. I have real fears about abandonment
    and being “dismissed” when I was younger so she understands my
    “falling in love” with her. She is an incredible therapist and the ONLY
    therapist who has been willing to help me through it. I think it is imperative
    to have room for these feelings and to work them out with your T. I know
    that it is going to help me grow as a person and also resolve these
    deep seated issues that I have had since childhood. As difficult and as
    painful as it is, it definitely is something worth working through. Good
    luck to everyone who is struggling with their love for their T.

  82. Ephemera Dovecote

    Oh, man, I am really going through it. I am obsessing all the time about my T and becoming resentful about it, like it’s a racket! There Guys lure you in
    Knowing that you will become enthralled and they just keep raking in the huge dough while you squirm on the couch opposite them just begging for a smile or just ANY crumb of an indication that they care or you AS you, in all your f’ed up glory. Part of me wants to quit and switch to a female T, but then I would miss all the “work”… I get really scared when I hear how long and persistent this fantasy can be, I feel like it’s doing me real harm.

  83. I think “therapy love” is made that much more difficult when a therapist feels that touch can be safely incorporated into therapy. Being held in the arms of the man that you think you’re in love with just makes it all the more confusing. It’s even more confusing when this person kisses you. (and then you’re told “this is the only kind of kiss I can give you” ) It’s especially difficult when this man that you are in love with…this “doctor” suggests that you lay on the couch together and you lay there…body to body…and he then suggests that you don’t “label” what just happened.
    I am in love with my therapist. I left after that last incident. I am devastated and heartbroken.
    Any advice, Doctor? You seem very reasonable.

  84. Dear Betty, I had a therapist who did this to me about 15 years ago. We did end up having sex and while the whole experience was exhilerating, it did so much damage and I ended up in the psych ward. He came to visit me there, and the look in his eyes said he was begging me not to talk, not to betray him. Right then I knew I had become just a liability to him and we did not have a real love relationship and that sex has nothing to do with therapy. At that very moment I knew in my heart that he probably did this with many women and I wasn’t the only one.

    I couldn’t tell anyone during that time because I was so messed up, but now I wish so much that I had. So that no other women would be used by him.

    I’m not a doctor, but I feel the experience you are having with your therapist is so, so wrong and that you could get away from him and never go back. You probably aren’t the first and certainly not the last woman he will do this to. I encourage you to report him, but that is a decision you will have to make on your own. I don’t know how you can prove this is happening or if people will just turn on you. I don’t know what happens.

    It took me 13 years to try therapy again and this time I have a very ethical therapist. I told him about the last experience. Even though I have fallen so deeply in love with my new therapist, he knows how to handle this in a very kind way, without crossing any lines. I’ve been able to get a lot of help.

    From someone who’s been there, Holly

  85. Your feelings are speaking to you, Betty. You write that he suggests you lay together body to body, he kisses you. You say this is confusing (twice). But you do not seem to be confused at all, except insofar as you do not trust your sense of things. You say you are devastated, heartbroken. You describe a “last incident” (there were more than one?). This is not how one feels when touch in the context of psychotherapy is therapeutic.

    My advice? Listen to yourself! If it feels “confusing” (read: uncomfortable, and worse), trust yourself and let your last “session” be your last interaction. Do not discuss (no real discussion is possible when one is being manipulated. And make no mistake: you are being manipulated). Run, do not walk, and do not look back (You’ve got courage now. Look back, go back to him, and you risk losing that).

    And then this “doctor” should be reported to his licensing board.

    The occasional pat on the shoulder or quick hug – on your way out, after a particularly tough session, when you are clearly distressed and ask – these are sometimes appropriate and helpful to the patient. But “being held in the arms of the man who…” ? No. A “doctor” who “suggests” you “lay on the couch together, body to body?” No way. And this “doctor” then “suggests you don’t ‘label’… ?”

    This is inappropriate, and clearly not in your best interest (That is the basic rule-of-thumb: is this in the best interest of the patient?). You are being taken advantage of. That you are being charged for this so-called treatment is horrifying. This is not professional behavior. There is a label for it: this is abuse masquerading as treatment.

    Copyright © 2012 Marlin S. Potash. All rights reserved.

  86. Hi Monarch,
    I too, was so afraid of my therapist Abandoning me. I worried about this for a few months. But when I did get to call him, he DID Abandon me! Also I don’t know why I had these feelings, as you say, your therapist said “they are there for a reason” . I have had family members reject me when they can’t control me, so that is something to do with it, I guess. I have an appointment to see my another therapist in two weeks time. So I guess I will be able to tell them about how they left me all confused with the transference!
    Its really good, Monarch, that your therapist is there for you. Best of luck with it all.

  87. Hi Ephemera Docecote,
    If you feel, you will be better off with a female Therapist, then its your right to see someone else. So just go with whats best for you. My therapy was good at the beginning. Then when it was ending, I was completlely attached to therapist and coudn’t cope, but after not seeing therapist for a few months, I am okay now. So hang in there you will get through it. I know its hard. But your not alone. Good luck.

  88. Thank you for your reply. Holly. Thank you for sharing your story. I am so sorry for what you had to go thru. I think I need to put more context around this; and I would really love your opinion, Dr. Potash. Things didn’t start out this way. Things started out with appropriate boundaries. Now, I will say that this therapist does incorporate touch in his therapy. He gives hugs at the end of sessions. He holds you on his lap like a child. He tells you what he’s doing why he’s doing what he’s doing. The “hold” is supposed to be a supportive, “parental” sort of thing. Anyway…I know touch is controversial and some people are vehemently against it.
    So, our therapy went on for 9 months before those things that I described above happened and I LEFT. I left in June/2012 and I haven’t gone back. But, our relationship lost it’s way somewhere around the 5 month mark and it felt more like a budding romance. I was crazy about him; and I believe he was crazy about me. We have plenty in common, etc and there was a very strong attraction to him (on my part) right from the the start; and I was very flirtatious and even suggested we have sex. This is not my “normal” behavior…but I went to see him to work thru an affair that I had that I was having a very difficult time moving past and I was/am trying to put my life and marriage back together. Coinicidentally, this therapist looked alot like the man I had the affair with. Crazy, I know. So, in the beginning I think it was some sort of “relationship transference” or something and I hit on him heavily and was very very suggestive. He held firm to his boundaries during that time (the first 2-3 months) After awhile, things calmed down (for me) and we developed this relationship that danced between therapy and a strange sort of courtship. We spent way too much time talking about his personal stuff; but at the time I was so entralled with him that I was happy to listen. This went on for some time and we grew very close. I saw him weekly. We openly talked about our attraction; how frustrating it was that it could never be anything more than it was…that if anything happened he could lose his license, etc. So, near the end in a heated moment he kissed me. Not a “kiss” mind you; but a kiss on the lips no less. I think he was shocked that he did it. In another session he admitted that he was “struggling”, that he felt the connection between us and that it was special and beautiful and he wanted to “explore it”. I really didn’t know what that meant…but I was/am/was so in love with him that it made my heart sing. He once talked about the idea of an affair or what would happen if he left his marriage. Then we’d go 2-3 sessions without addressing that. I felt like I was on an emotional roller coaster with him. Many times I left the sessions feeling exhilarated; and then go cry in the car because I longed for him. I felt crazy and in love at the at the same time. So, in the very last session he asked me to lay down with him and “breathe into each other”. Dr, we had done this before..pressing our abdomens into each others and breathing into/against each other. What is this called? Is this an actual “technique”? Anyway, I was so completely turned on by being held by him in this way. I wanted him…I truly did. I begged him to kiss me. At the end, he did..again, another kiss on the lips but not a makeout session, mind you.
    I left that session feeling confused and on cloud nine and the same time. I loved him. I wanted to be with him. But, something inside me told me that if I continued with him that I would be hurt. Devastated. I wanted a relationship with him that I knew I probably could never have. He told he loved me. I told him I loved him. So, I left. Getting past this (and I’m still working on it) has been excrutiatingly difficult. I think I was truly in love with him. Was I, Dr? Can you help me make sense of this and suggest how I might heal. Honestly, if he called me I think I would want to go back. Right or wrong..

  89. One more thing…I should add. The time we laid down together that I described happened ONCE. Any other time I was held; I ASKED to be held. I initiated most of that physical contact after the first and only time he suggested that he hold me on his lap and I felt it was “ok” to do. I don’t think I can report him and I’m not sure I would have the courage to do so; because I encouraged and initiated much of the physical contact between us….just to put things in context. This “holding” has gone on with other friend that referred me to him brought this up and had no qualms about it. He also makes a practice of staring into your eyes while holding your hands for a length of time. It made me feel very vulnerable. Is any of this a real “technique” that a PhD would have training in? He describes himself as practicing “mind/body” techniques.

  90. Betty, this therapist sounds very much like he is breaking boundries, very badly. Its supposed to be therapy! Not tempting you to have a sexual relationship with him. His ways sound very crazy. Your better well away from him. Best of Luck.

  91. deepshadygreen

    Betty, I’m afraid I totally agree with Susan and I will be more outspoken and say things you might not want to hear: Your therapist sounds highly abusive, manipulative and negligent. I believe you need to get away from this man as fast as possible before he causes you further damage. I know how hard it is to face up to what someone has done/is doing to you. I now realise my therapist was just plain inexperienced and incompetent, and just that alone has been REALLY hard to accept and so i can’t imagine how hard it would be for you to break away. I still find myself making excuses for mine and he was/is just a bumbling fool. Please at least try seeing another therapist through your doctor only to get some perspective. Once you see what has been happening be prepared to feel incredibly angry like you would not believe, but also know that this is a very good sign as you will be unravelling yourself from abuse and looking after number one – i.e. yourself. Please don’t allow this man to take any more from you.

  92. Hi Deepshady,,
    After just reading your post, I again realize that my therapist too, was inexperiened. I too made excuses for him, to my family. In my eyes he was great! He promised to help me with my ocd, and then didn’t take my calls. And yes that was difficult, so if he had been abusing his position it would have been worse. I feel like, they put the inexperienced therapists with clients like us, to learn, yet this is our lives they are playing with. So I feel for you and others, and its all painfull to go through. Best of luck to everyone.

  93. Don’t worry all. I left months ago. I’m just dealing with the aftermath of all the confusing feelings. I really thought I loved him and he loved me too. It’s been very difficult to say the least and has wreaked havoc on my already unstable marriage. I am seeing a female therapist who is aware of what happened and who is GOOD. I will be ok, eventually. My female therapist doesn’t know his name because if she did she would report him. I guess if I report him; in a way it’s like it really didn’t mean anything. Like it couldn’t have been two people who just met in unusual circumstances who fell in love. I am very sad about the whole thing but thankful that I left before further damage was done. Thank you all for your support

  94. Hi, I made a comment long ago as “Woesome” above. Yes, it was long but other long comments here have gotten responses. Is my life and my situation really that boring that no one could respond to it, but other highly specific and obviously inappropriate things could elicit a response? Am I this invisible online as well as in real life?

  95. Dear StillWoesome,

    It might be a good idea, to Not call yourself. “StillWoesome” I never saw your comment. But hope you all the best in your therapy/life. Also try think positive it helps. And yes I know its hard! But try to think that others are in similar situations. I hope this helps.

  96. Dear Woesome,
    Sorry you are feeling neglected. There are so many posts, it’s hard to know who is still following this page and who has dropped out. I’m glad you wrote again.
    You are right, there is a lot of information in your post! It’s hard to know where to begin except to say that at least we all have one thing in common….we are in love with our therapists. This is a difficult position to be in because we want so much more from them than they can give. Also, transference clouds the whole issue and is a very strong force of it’s own.
    I can only speak for myself, but it is thelove I have for my therapist is strongest love I have ever felt. It brings great pain that this person doesn’t/can’t return any of our feelings. Sometimes I think transference is a crappy deal and why does it have to ruin my therapy. When I first told my therapist I felt that I was in love with him, I prefaced the statement with, “I know that this counds crazy because it seems crazy to me, but I am feeling a strong attachment to you that feels like love, even though I know that’s not right. Is this transference of some kind?”
    That way I didn’t come right out and say I’m so madly in love with you I can’t stand it another minute! Which is how really felt. Once I learned he was comfortable with this issue, I did tell him how much I love him. Now, it’s so casual I just go in and say, “OK, here’s todays love letter to you. Now, lets get on with business.” He just laughs, reads the letter, says thank you and then we can move on right away.
    This doesn’t mean I’m not crazy about him, it’s just that like you, I have a lot of stuff to work on and I want to get on with it and I’m paying to work on my issues. As I look back, this love transference did help me with those issues of being neglected as a child and abandonment issues. My therapist and I had to battle through my feelings of anger toward him because he did not love me. Which opened up how deeply I felt about my father, who I feel never loved me.
    I hope this helps a little. It’s so seems like a band-aid for a gapping wound. And one never knows how the therapist will interpret it, from the stories we read above. I hope things fo OK with you and I hope you will at least test the waters. You can always back off if you get a bad vibe about it.

  97. deepshadygreen

    No, no, no, never go down that road of thinking. Replies/comments etc are just pot luck and nothing to do with your worth as a person.

  98. I also did not get specific feedback, but I gained support and info from reading the conversations and responses. I think we can all agree that the general drift is..keep those pants ON and lips apart from each other’s, be as honest as possible in exploring the feelings with your T. If at any time the T him or herself gets wobbly with the boundaries, their professionalism and know-how should be immediately suspect and you should run not walk to the nearest exit. Will it hurt? Yes! Will it be grist for the mill of you learning an unfortunately difficult lesson…that depends on how you deal with it. I feel for anyone who’s T has taken advantage of their vulnerability and trust. That is so wrong.

  99. Hi Holly,
    As I just read your message, I am thinking I wish my Therapist was as understanding as yours. It makes me sad that he stopped talking to me after saying he will speak to me. And yeah, I think transference is a crappy deal. As before I told my Therapist, I had feelings for him, he was happy to help with the reason I went to therapy. And I had put my hope and trust in him. And like you say , I too think maybe I had this transference stuff, happen to me, cos I have had alot of rejection issues as a child and in my life in general. I am going to see A new therapist on Monday, who knows my old Therapist. And I am gonna be asking him some questions, as why my Therapist Abandoned me, as he knew with all I had shared with him, that I had aleady had so much pain from my family and siblings. This is the last thing I needed. So I hope he can explain. Also that how am I to trust this new therapist? after how they dealt with my transference feelings.

  100. Hi, Woesome here (yeah, bad at picking names). Thanks, Holly, for your reply. It’s helpful, but I am nowhere near ready for the ‘reveal’ yet…I guess due to my own issues with being neglected/not getting affection & attention as a child (is that a common denominator in those of us with transference?), I am not ready to discuss this in therapy. I think perhaps at least on some level, I’m still in denial about it (“I can keep it professional.”) And I am not worried at all about anything not professional happening–my therapist is a true professional.

    I guess my question this time around is a) how did you know you were ready to discuss/ reveal your feelings and b) do you have any advice on how to get to that point? and I guess c) looking back, are you glad you revealed your feelings? And what was the consequence? Anyone can answer. I do fear most having to start over with another therapist (especially before I am ready). Having been neglected/rejected by family and some fair-weather friends, it hurts me acutely to be turned away by anyone I gave my trust–because I don’t give my trust out easily anymore.

  101. Dear Woesome,
    I can totally understand the fear of being neglected/rejected once again by a person essential to my mental/emotional well-being. It is scary. I have too much to lose….and I never want to end up in the psyche ward again, ever.
    Now that you bring it up, I wonder if your comment of being neglected/rejected as children (and all your friends if you ever expose your depression-at times I’ve hit rock-bottom) makes us more susceptible to transference with therapists. One time I asked my T if all his patients encountered transference. He said no.

    My therapist said at the very beginning to bring him all my feelings. That’s the only thing he has ever asked of me. I took him at his word. When I started to “fall” in love with him, I told him as I described in previous posts. I tell him what I’m really feeling. At times I’ve been angry with him, I tell him. I’ve told him a few times that I hate him, that this stupid transference sucks and I hate it. It hurts. It might sound childish, but somehow it works to help bring up my deeper pain, and who it may really be directed toward. It is a very healing experience. Another thing that has helped me “reveal” ALL in therapy is that my T repeatedly says he will never ever abandon me.

    I’m a middle-aged woman who is very well respected in my community. Yet, in therapy I let go of my internal “grown-up.” In therapy…it’s all out there. Yeah, yeah, it’s one-way, but I’m willing to accept that for the love that I feel is between us, which is very clearly not romantic love on his part. My T’s expression of love feels different. In a book called Anam Cara the author writes, “In this love, you are understood as you are without mask or pretension. The superficial and functional lies and half-truths of social acquantance fall away, you can be as you really are. Love allows understanding to dawn, and understanding is precious. Understanding nourishes belonging. When you really feel understood, you feel free to release yourself into the trust and shelter of the other person’s soul.”

    I would be remiss if I didn’t say I occasionally wonder what he really thinks about some of the things I have told him. I have to believe him when he tells me that he always thinks highly of me for my honesty, otherwise…..there is no otherwise. I have to believe him. Anything else would be devastating. Yeah, I hear myself. I’m really strung out on the line.

    Well, here I am, rambling on and on. I don’t know if this is helpful to anyone out there and Woesome, I didn’t get to half your questions. And I’ll try to not blather on about my T anymore. I would like to hear about other’s experiences in therapy, especially if they’ve let their T know that they love him/her. I’ve only had one other prior experience and it was a very bad one.

    Hi to SusanM, deepshady green and everyone else who had been active on this board.

  102. Pingback: Attachment to Your Therapist II - Moments of Change

  103. I don’t love my therapist and find it hard to believe that a person can “love” their therapist because they don’t or shouldn’t know much about this person. If you do, then whose therapy is it? My therapist has started to tell me he loves me, which I question because he doesn’t use his own description to give me an understanding of it, but rather feels like he’s just piggy-backing whatever I try to assume about it. Honestly, I don’t much like it because it doesn’t mean anything to me, or rather he doesn’t in the real world. Why would I ever need to include him in a love/loved relationship when it’s clearly not? It’s totally one sided and I just don’t know enough about him to make that kind of decision about him. Yes he listens to me an awful lot, but that’s it. He’s not in my realm of reality. He’s on his own plane, and I’m accepting that and it’s beginning to be ok with me. I like him, I very early on, had the hots for him, but now that I’ve made it through that, thankfully unscathed, I just don’t see him that way or sexually. I think his love is transference mixed w/a whole lot of other unexplained things, but if for any reason he comes onto me, I’m outta there. This woman don’t need that kind of drama.

  104. Hi,
    I feel that I really need help. My husband and I started going to a developmental psychologist, for help with dealing with our son’s problems. The psychologist delved into our world, our difficulties and shortcomings, not only talking about our son. And slowly but surely, I started feeling very strong transference towards him.
    I started reading about it and tried to get over it myself, since we had a 3-week time-off when he was on vacation. I thought that I had gotten through it, but when he came back and the sessions resumed, I felt enormous pain, that I just couldn’t deal with these feelings any longer.
    So the next session I went alone and talked to him about what I was going through, although in the beginning I didn”t mention transference, only talked about my feelings of confusion, frustration , etc during the process of our therapy, and especially during the 3 weeks of vacation.
    At some stage he asked my “So what exactly have you been going through during these 3 weeks”, and it took me awhile, but eventually I managed to whisper “Transference.. but I’ve gotten over it, and that’s it”.
    Then I told my T that my husband thinks I’ve gone crazy, and that once I started crying to my husband on the phone after my T called (about going to watch my son in kindergarten)… At this point, I saw that my T was trying not to laugh, but then I also started laughing (albeit sadly) so he also laughed with me (in a gentle way).
    I wanted to ask him what made him laugh, but I didn’t… and now it’s torturing me – does he think I’m naive, dumb? Was he feeling embarrassed and uncomfortable, and that my feelings are inappropriate, since he’s a developmental psych and not a regular psych?…
    We’re supposed to see him in a few days – my husband and I – and I don’t know what to do… I don’t think I can ask for another session alone, but I can’t speak completely freely with my husband in the same room…
    Should I say nothing, and just try to get over it all by myself?….
    Thanks so much for your help!!

  105. My guess, Tammy, is that you have come to develop feelings for a smart and thoughtful psychologist. One who cared to understand your entire family – you, too – as well as your son. One who has been helpful and kind. And then you had a 3 week hiatus, during which you were alone with your husband, dealing alone (albeit with new insight and tools, presumably) with your son’s problems. You missed him – the help with your son, and in a more personal way that surprised and unnerved you. You worked on understanding and resolving those feelings. Alone, because your husband wasn’t such a good listener about this, didn’t understand, made light of it.

    But he did listen, and seemed to understand. And then he laughed. In a gentle manner that soon had you laughing a bit together. And now you are caught up again, wondering about him: his feelings, what he thinks, your feelings, what to do…

    So here’s what I think works, helps, in situations like this:

    First, the feeling/thinking part:

    Recall and appreciate how you laughed – a little uncomfortable and sad – together. Appreciate the experience of talking with someone who tried/tries to understand and help you. Your son’s therapist (because that’s what he is) cares about you as more than a mother. Acknowledge how good it feels.

    And then:
    1. Understand that he does this in the interest of helping your son: helping you to help him better by more fully understanding the parents, their stresses and strengths, what’s happening at home, etc. This does not mean he doesn’t care about, even like you a lot; it just means that’s where he draws a solid and unmovable line, for everyone’s sake.

    2. Consider finding your own therapist, one who will listen to and try to understand you. Because your getting so bound up in worrying about what he feels, thinks, etc. seems to point to a craving on your part for that feeling of intimacy, where you care about/understand him, and he you. But this particular he, I think, is not nearly so relevant as your unmet yearning for that feeling. Exploring that with your own therapist may well be very helpful, in ways that go well beyond this transference stuff.

    And if you’ve gotten this far, understand what I’m saying here, and it feels on the mark to you,
    Now the doing/not doing behavior part:

    1. Do not go round and round about the laughing any more. Because you know what it meant. It did not mean he thinks you naive, dumb, etc. He did not think your feelings inappropriate (How could he? Feelings aren’t in our control, actions are). He does not think ill of you in any way. He may well have been a bit touched. He, too (like you, too, not just your husband), realized your feelings were outsize. But he “got” how that happens sometimes, and how it must have felt to you, and how your husband didn’t get it (and maybe – pushing even further down the road of conjecture here – how your husband doesn’t get the emotional stuff sometimes). And then he shared a chuckle about the sweetness of it all with you. You can move on, knowing he “gets” it.

    2. Consider finding your own therapist, one who will listen and try to understand you – and what you’re craving, what that’s all about for you… That’s the person to talk with about this now, not your husband, not your son’s therapist. Each cares about understanding you in his own way. But neither can go much farther helping you with this; continued trying just leaves you frustrated and “tortured.”

    You’ll figure this out. You’ve already worked out for yourself that what you feel/think/worry about is more than the situation objectively would suggest. Don’t push your feelings/thoughts down, act them out, or beat yourself up about them. Try to accept – and laugh a little – at the human condition. It’s good. It’s all good.

    Dr. P.
    Copyright © 2012 Marlin S. Potash. All rights reserved.

  106. Hi Dr. P,

    You’ve got me in tears here (from gratitude) – thanks so much for your wonderfully detailed and compassionate response…

    You’ve helped me tremendously, and you’re so right – it’s all good…:)

  107. To Holly,

    Thank you for your amazing letter. I wish you would write more, as I am not in such a great state right now and will be brief. The transitioning to another year is harder for me than I imagined. I was alone last night, didn’t go out. No one to be with. Perhaps if I were in a relationship in reality whatever feelings I had would not be so bad. But I’m not. I haven’t been in a relationship in over 6 months and if I am really honest my prior relationship was de facto over 6 months before the formal breakup (and that was a hard six months to live through).

    So I guess what’s been blunting the transference is the knowledge that I’m never getting into a relationship again. It’s not melodramatic when it is a fact: I self-isolate extremely, do what I need to do in a day and then try to get as much alone time as possible (which is never enough for me). I am one of the rare .0000000000001 percent of people who would THRIVE in solitary confinement. I am not exaggerating. So knowing I’ll never be in a relationship again is a kind of relief, in a way. I don’t have to impress anyone or worry about what a “potential romantic partner” might think, because I never encounter such a person in real life anyway (I never get approached, though every so often I get sexually harassed–hooray for humanity, life is awesome).

    I don’t think I’m a closeted lesbian or anything, and I’m not entirely sure I’m asexual either. I just don’t think I’m capable of relationships, and so I see the status quo as me essentially releasing myself from even trying.

    I’m saying all this to say I’m still not going to mention anything I (formerly/ residually) felt/feel …too many other things to start with that I don’t want to start over with another person with (as a quick recap: my therapist is very professional and he would refer me out immediately, without discussion–not a theory I’m willing to test out because I’m 95% certain it’s how it is). I talk about how I hate the city I’m in (stuck for financial/logistical reasons), my family– and– you’re right, my fair-weather friends in my generation (I’m a touch under 30) who grew up middle-class (I grew up poor) who have had everything handed to them (hardly my experience) and who can’t tolerate someone not living a fabulous life & doing what they want to do, etc. BTW it is hard to handle FB and seeing their engagements, marriages, and babies– some of them having multi-year anniversaries, and I am living at home, with a family I hate who hates me back (not ambiguous about it–every day is a nightmare) with health problems and no savings. Did I mention how awesome life is? So plenty of other things to talk about. No end, in fact. No end.

    I think it is because of the neglect/abandonment that I can’t trust anyone (and never will) and why it’s hard for me to attach to anyone and when I do to know what I’m even feeling.

    I often wonder if I’m incapable of love, because I certainly fear relationships and don’t consider myself capable of those.

    If I could go back in time, I would have prevented my birth. Absolutely.
    Nothing can make up for ranking lower than a plant by my family. No therapist, no romantic partner, no medication, no therapy. I often wonder why I go. It’s going on years now and no progress I can tell. I am just too lazy to get another therapist up to speed, basically. My therapist actually shows a good amount of detachment. He doesn’t always remember things I’ve told him weeks or months ago. Just like with everyone else in real life.

  108. Hi Woesome, I’m glad you were able to articulate what is happening with you. I’m somewhat worried that you are expressing similar feelings to those I had before therapy and when I entertained suicidal ideas. I hope that our professional here, Feelingupindowntimes, can also write you as I am a therapee, not a therapist. But I do have some experience in the things you talking about….like family. My family have all expressed all my life that I am going to hell (they really think that, my mother still cries because she thinks my brother went to hell after he died) because I don’t believe in their faith. Anyway, that makes it really hard to be around them.

    Why are you not on meds? Maybe you said why before and I missed it. I’m on Wellbutrin, Cymbalta, and I was on Buspar as well, but that was discontinued because it made me feel not so good about things. When I get whacked out I also take a small amount of Xanax. Which I need less and less, I’m thankful to say. I’m extremely happy to take my meds everyday, because I know how I am without them and I don’t want to live that life anymore. Cybalta is still expensive, but it is supposed to go generic in June. Wellbutrin is not that expensive. But it would take a doc to prescribe the right thing for you if you ever wanted it. I REALLY encourage you to look into it. I suffered for years and now I am feeling soooooo much better!

    I hear you when you say you can’t tell your T that you have these feelings for him. It is a lot to risk. But, I have to say, it makes me feel sad when I hear that he is so detached and doesn’t remember things you tell him. It makes me feel like you don’t have much to lose telling him at least that you feel like he’s detached. I mean, isn’t that what we’re supposed to do, tell how we are feeling? Maybe you can say this in a gentle, non-threatening way. Especially if you use the old stand-by…like Ts like….”sometimes, I feel…..(whatever it is.)” If you speak lovingly from the heart, I can’t imagine a therapist dissing you.

    I hear you about self-isolation. I have pulled back a lot from doing and running and working so hard and interacting as much so that I can have time for learning about myself. Being with myself, knowing more about who I am. I work part time for hospice in my town and am also a professional musician, During both I am very interactive with others. I decided to take fewer gigs and slow down a little (a great benefit is not having to haul PA systems around). But I still have key friends and go to the show, dinner, etc. I’ve cut out all the aquaintances because I don’t have time for that anymore.

    My gut feeling is…..I’m going out on a limb here… that you would feel better on medication. I hope that is not too forward of me. Can you talk to your T about that? I used to feel meds were a stigma and a sign of weakness, but now I don’t care, I love not caring, and I’m never going to care again!

    Please forgive me if I’ve over-stepped my bounds. It’s just that in visiting with you I am starting to care about you and don’t want you to fall down into the black hole of depression. I know what it’s like to barely hold on by your fingertips.

    Take care and I hope to hear from you again soon.

  109. This site offers so much honesty and insight. I’m so glad I came across it.

    I’m really struggling with my relationship with my therapist. I’m female. He’s male. I’ve been seeing him for two years. He’s very smart and he’s been very dedicated to me. I feel comfortable sharing anything with him. And it seems he is comfortable sharing his own life with me. I know more about him than I do about many of my closest friends. I know all about the issues he struggles with, about his family, his childhood, his mother, his two marriages. When he was recently getting divorced, we spent quite a bit of time talking about that, his desires, his insecurities, etc.

    A few months ago, he told me that if he weren’t my therapist, he would have proposed to me by now. He also told me he’d thought about quitting his job to be with me. I then told him I have a crush on him. I’m attracted to him and very attached to him, but I had always told myself that I really just had a crush on therapy, not him. After he told him how attracted to me he was, I started to let myself feel the feelings for him I had been holding back and / or assuming were transference. Once I told him my feelings, he told me, “Oh, I could never date you. I’m your therapist.” He then began talking about his new girlfriend. He said how he feels about me is irrelevant because he’s my therapist and can never have a relationship with me. He said he told me those things because he wanted me to know someone could be attracted to me (I have pretty low self esteem and assume no one would ever choose to spent his life with me). He said he thought it would help to know how much he cares about me.

    This whole thing really hurt me. I’ve spent a lot of time crying about it, feeling worse about myself than before he shared this information with me. On one hand, this made me feel like he was saying, “You’re great. But not great enough. Let me tell you about my girlfriend, who is great.” I spent a lot of time wishing he liked me enough to date me. On the other hand, I was really mad at him and wished he would have never told me this. I felt it completely derailed my therapy, caused me to question his motives, his skills as a therapist, his boundaries, his inability to see how this might affect me.

    Still, he’s the first therapist I’ve really trusted. So I’ve been trying to work through this, with the hopes he can still be a good therapist to me. He has said he screwed up and begged me to give him another chance. I know if I screwed up, I’d want a chance to fix what I’d done. I understand people make mistakes and I want to be a forgiving person. The problem is, I’m still sad about all of this. And I’ve become a jealous person — I spend a lot of mental energy thinking about him and his girlfriend.

    Everyone I’ve talked to about this has said the same thing — that he has poor professional boundaries. Some said he was unethical and needs to be reported. I’m never going to report him. I keep thinking if we work on this hard enough, he and I can still have a beneficial therapist / client relationship. Plus, he’s always telling me he isn’t the typical therapist (technically, he’s a LICSW with a psychodynamic orientation), that he uses self-disclosure in his practice and that others wouldn’t necessarily agree with his approach but he knows it can be effective.

    He thinks he can still be a good therapist to me. I want to believe this but I’m torn. I can’t imagine not having him in my life. But I spend so much time on this issue, I haven’t been working on the issues I went to therapy to deal with in the first place.

    Both my therapist and I are willing to do what it takes to make this therapy relationship work. But I don’t know what we need to do. Is this fixable?

  110. Dear Laura,
    Yikes! The first part of your post is probably what some of us here dream about and secretly wish would happen.

    The second part of your post is like my worst nightmare. Does your T know how you felt about the new girlfriend, what he said about just trying to bolster your self-esteem? Does he know you were/are really mad at him and that he has hurt your feelings so deeply?

    I can see both sides of the coin about staying with him or leaving him. When you have invested so much of your self with someone. I’m really sorry this has happened to you. I don’t know if this is fixable. I just know it’s not a relationship my heart could deal with.

    Take care of yourself, Holly

  111. I am in love with my therapist. Yes… In love! I am a woman ans so is my therapist. I feel that she loves me too but she is not exactly able to say it. I do not buy the crap about transference. I am not hoping to find a mother figure in her. I am not feeling any of that. I know what I feel and I know what I want. If someone can see themselves with their therapist and they feel there is a chance for real love, then don’t squash their dreams. Therapists fall in love with their clients too and I personally feel that there is nothing wrong with that. If the therapist respects their client, the client is strong enough for a romantic relationship, then why not? If my therapist ever told me that she wanted a romantic relationship with me then I would be there for her and would never regret that choice. If romance never happens, then atleast I know that she knows that I love her and that love is very REAL and remains the same. It has not and will not change. I love her.

  112. I’m hearing you agonize about what to do to make the therapy effective, but, frankly, it is your therapist who should be doing the agonizing here, the agonizing work of rebuilding the trust he trounced by being the “not typical therapist” who “uses self-disclosure.”

    This problem isn’t about your therapist being typical or not. Its not about using self-disclosure in his practice. It is about his forgetting the single most important criterion for determining these (and so many other) things in treatment: the best interest of the patient. On more than one occasion, from what you write.

    Therapists make mistakes. I certainly have. What happens after the mistake is telling: the “why” needs to be more than defensive “I did it for you.” The next steps must include the therapist exploring his counter-transference issues – his part in all this. Soon. Now. In earnest, in depth. Your therapist would do well to explore why, how, the particulars of the injury he inflicted and how it has affected you, the ramifications for treatment, what needs to be done to fix things, if it is in your best interest to even consider that, how to ensure no repeating, and so much more. And all that should be done in professional supervision, not on your nickel.

    You write you are spending all your therapy time on this, not your issues. Seems “this” has become your issue! And you are paying dearly for it. Too dearly, I think. Tough as it is to start over, to end this relationship, doing so would allow you both to learn from this unfortunate situation and move on, stronger and better for it.

    But whether or not you are willing to do so yet, please, please tell your therapist you need him to figure out his own stuff outside of your treatment hour. That is the professional, ethical thing for him to do. Maybe show him your comment, if you haven’t already. Tell him to get some serious, ongoing, in depth supervision. Tell him I said it would be good – crucial! – for both of you.

    And listen to yourself on this. Because you know what is in your best interest. Make sure that is what guides you – and any therapist you put your trust in.

  113. Pingback: Strong feelings for T needed to work through the hard stuff? - Forums at Psych Central

  114. I’m heartbroken. I’ve been seeing my psychiatrist for 8 months now. I fell into a suicidal depression after my mom died, lost my job, and finally sought help. About a month ago I shared my feelings of transference with him (i’m a 47 year old female, he is a 30 year old final year resident at a highly respected california university). I trusted him implicitly. He knows i suffer from terrible abandonment issues, as well as all my other vulnerabilities. A couple nights ago i left him a drunken voicemail, saying i was lonely & drunk & not sure why i was even calling him. The last couple weeks my feelings for him have intensified tremendously. I was thinking about him constantly, and my appointment was the highlight of my week. He did not return my drunk-dial voicemail, which hurt & confused me. When I saw him today I was immediately defensive. He was business-like & told me he had discussed my voicemail with his superior. I then told him how my feelings had escalated & were hindering my ability to discuss my issues w/ him. I explained that i felt like i was coming to the appts just to see him. He told me he thought it best that i see someone else, for my own good since my feelings were getting in the way of my ability to participate in my own therapy. I am angry & devastated…. i would expect him to work through this with me since these feelings obviously stem from my past. I feel rejected & abandoned & thrown to the wolves. He made it clear he will not be my therapist or rx prescriber again. It felt so abrupt. I am ANGRY. I tusted this guy!!! He is graduating next month & opening a practice near the university. ( Just last week we spoke about me following him to his private practice, and i was feeling really happy about that). i really feel like he just wanted to get rid of me. He referred me to another resident, and did encourage me to share all of my feelings about this loss with her. He then told me if that didnt work i could “look within the community” to find another therapist. I am SO hurt. It seems all the others posting here have therapists who stick with them…. Did mine really do whats best for me, or did he take the opportunity to dismiss me? One of the reasons i liked him is because he seemed so kind. And he was gracious & gentle about our parting, but i feel so sad about this loss. Am i right to be sad & angry AT him instead of just at the situation? My heart aches…

  115. Adding insult to injury…I have left him 2 voice messages today explaining my anxiety is taking over, and could he please call a presciption in for me. I even told him he didnt have to call me directly if that was more comfortable, just call the pharmacy. He never called me back or called in the Rx. This just seems cruel & unprofessional to me. I mean, c’mon…..just like that i dont exist? How is this good medical practitioning?? I feel like he was a fraud the entire 8 months we were in therapy.

  116. Oh man… I need to quit jumping the gun. He called me back & was kind & understanding. I was able to thank him for our time together & the help he had given me, and he said he had learned a lot from me as well. I am still sad, but I believe he made the choice he felt was best for me. I’m sure being a psychiatrist is not an easy job, especially in the beginning. I wish him only the best of luck in his practice. Sorry for wasting space here with my ranting! 🙂

  117. I get it. I keep thinking if I really tell my T how I feel about him, Iwill be ousted.

  118. Dear Judi,
    It feels like your therapist left you in charge of your own therapy. You rebounded well, which really speaks to your level of maturity. Do you think that maybe the problem with your whole situation was not about you, but about your therapist and how he handled it. He is young, though, so I can understand that he wouldn’t have the depth of experience to draw on when these kinds of things come up, which is not a crime.
    Your falling in love with your therapist and becoming completely involved with those feelings seems more common than I used to believe. So, this is something that he will have to face again. But, for you it’s a unique experience and was part of your therapy. An opportunity for insights that will now remain unseen. I’m very sorry about that. How can your feelings ALL about our feelings? Deciding that one feeling is best left out of the therapy because its “inappropriate” and another is allowed in because it is “appropriate” is sort of like throwing the baby out with the bathwater.
    It seems like you ended in a very civilized and “appropriate” way, but your feelings will probably pop up again and become agonizing. If they do, the good news is that he is not the only psychiatrist in the sea. You can talk about the feelings you have for your former psychiatrist and maybe the new shrink will understand it’s part of your therapy.

    I’ve loved my psychiatrist for about two years, he’s helped me to really examine the feelings behind not only this, but my feelings about my parents, my childhood, previous marriages, children, friends, employers, etc. who have all played a major role in my life. He and I have had ups and downs, we discuss everything from sex to erotica to the innocence of soul friendship and back to therapist. He never makes me feel bad about myself and he also never gives in to my requests for his love. He says, maybe in a different life, in a different world, in a different time, but for this time he is my doctor. How sweet is that? How can you help but love that? He’s helped me through deeply suicidal episodes and at those times, I am deeply grateful to him for having the strength and wisdom to remain my doctor.

    I pressed him again this last appointment and asked him why he has never fallen in love with me. He said, “because I have never allowed myself to go there.” He knows I need him to be my doctor, even when I’m deep in the throes of complete love for him.

    I hope you will reply to my letter to you so we can have some dialogue about this. I also wish you good luck with your next therapist.

  119. Hi Holly,
    Thank you for your insightful response. I do feel much better after having had the final conversation with my psychiatrist today, but yes, the deep pain & feeling of loss are still there. I think you hit the nail on the head about him being very young… he is very sweet, and I am a strong (maybe forceful) woman. Also, i’m pretty sure he is gay, which may or may not contribute to his decision to refer me. (BTW, I love gay men, and told him so). I think he was a bit dazzled by me at times during our sessions. I am very straightforward with a sharp sense of humor, and I think he really enjoyed meeting with me. (I guess I know he did, since he told me so several times). I feel like it was a relief for him from his stressful schedule to meet with me. I also think there was a gentle power struggle between us, & I think we both appreciated it. I get the feeling that the Dr he reports to encouraged him to refer me. When we ended our phone conversation today, he sounded genuinely sad. Whatever his reasons, I have no control over them, so I have to believe that he cared about me enough to do what he thought was right. He is still learning, and maybe the truth is that I suffered the consequences of that. He was very concerned about getting me in to see someone ASAP to discuss my feelings about the separation. He sounded exhausted when he called me, saying this was his first break of the day. It was 5 o’clock in the afternoon. I realized that he is just a young, tired, intelligent med resident, doing the best he can. If I was able to teach him something, I’m flattered. And I have recognized a stregnth & maturity in myself in dealing with this loss that i didn’t have before. I plan to find another therapist that I like (and that can handle me 🙂 ), and this will be the first thing I bring up.
    Ahh, but now the sadness is settling in my chest, like someone has died. I will just ride the wave & continue to believe that everything happens for a purpose that will be revealed sooner or, most probably, later. Thank God for meds. I’m so glad to have found this site, and to see that I am not alone. Well, I’m off to have a good cry. Hope I can sleep tonight. Goodnight.

  120. Dear Judi,
    I giggled when I read your statement, “Thank God for meds.” I have said that so many times for so many reasons. I sometimes visit another forum that focuses on depression and that sentence is written over and over again.

    I’m glad that you will seek another therapist that will be right for you. In the meantime, maybe you could still talk about this to whichever therapist is available, just to really talk this out. Maybe they will just be quiet and listen?

    I hear in your response that you are suffering from the grief of losing someone you really loved and cared about. Give yourself a lot of hugs and self-care right now. Know that you did nothing wrong. It’s not your fault that this happened. You are entitled to examine your true feelings and to really own them. To accept, acknowledge and validate them.

    You sound like a lovely, bright and wise woman. Nurture yourself and let time pass. Time heals many wounds.

  121. I’ve been in therapy for almost a year. It’s my first time. I’m a 38 year old bisexual woman in a loving and committed relationship of 12 years. My therapist is a married woman around my age. At first when I realized I had strong feelings for her I was like ut-oh…but not surprised. She got me and we developed a strong communication.

    Therapy, I came to understand, was not just about my own issues with my family/friends/work but about the relationship between me and my therapist. How else could she really understand how I relate to others?! No one prepared me for that but it was a pleasant surprise as it placed my attraction for her in an interesting context, one to be explored.

    Luckily I found others like you guys online and learned that sharing my feelings was critical. This was at about the 4 month point. My therapist congratulated me and said it was go great that I was honest with her. She implied that she had strong feelings for me as well within the therapy relationship. I came to understand, through her, that the energy we feel together is the intensity that happens within this special space.

    I feel like the therapy space is highly charged. When we talk about anything we feel its importance deeply. Things that we say or do seem to take on a highly symbolic nature. It makes me (and I think her as well) very careful with the words we choose as not to hurt one another. The intensity waxes and wanes. I wish it was always high but that’s just not possible.

    I have struggled with trying to be as true and honest as possible. To not play games in my head (like thinking I’m the most special client ; ). Or playing games within her (like trying to make her feel guilty about not remembering something I said). Thinking about her can also be a distraction at times but fantasy might be a stress reliever from that crazy strong vibe! Just keep reality in check. How? Well I’m still learning this: Share all those shameful bits right there in therapy (ughhh I know!).

    I wanted to share this with you guys to “give back” for all your stories (feel less alone in this!). And I feel fortunate to have found the right therapist for me. If you believe you may have the wrong therapist for you… you probably do. Just like love or respect in any relationship. If it feels safe and if it feels right, it is.

    Thanks to you all. And to feelingupindowntimes for this forum. xoxo

  122. Hi April,
    So glad you have found some measure of comfort and knowledge at this forum. I too am grateful for its existence. You sound like you are doing a good job of keeping it real and exploring your real feelings at the same time. It’s hard to do.
    I also feel its a little hard to share your fantasies and intimate thoughts (at first) with your therapist. My therapist reassures me that these thoughts are not shameful thoughts and has made me feel quite comfortable with them now. He says they are natural and quite beautiful and that he feels honored that I feel and share them.
    It’s not a “normal” relationship and I’ve never had one like it before. I’ve never experienced this kind of intimacy in such a safe environment before. By safe, I mean I know that he will never come on to me.
    I think of him as all that is good and wonderful, even though I know he’s not THAT good and light and definately can explore the “shadow” or dark sides of not only me, but himself as well. We have talked about the shadow sides often and it helps me to explore who I really am.
    Do you think of your T as good and light as well? I’ve told mine that even when I’m not with him I try to be the best version of me that I can be, because he inspires that in me. I adore him, what can I say?!
    From Holly

  123. I would love you like this…

    A wind is blowing through our garden
    everything is bending, knocking over
    a dry wind fraying and crisping leaves.

    No protection from what comes next.
    Rain, I turn my back on you
    But you soak me, none the less.
    How hard I shiver, how violently shake
    Lash me to the fence post.
    The ground is white with beaten blossoms.

    Or this.
    Like when
    I can’t stop drinking.
    You live in all my moments as I tumble
    polished and smooth and fearless and graceful.
    I’m getting closer to the invisible.
    You go ahead with whatever it is.
    I imagine I matter.
    You speak and I fill your words with meaning.
    We had a pact, but mow
    I talk like drunken dynamite explosions
    Of wanting.
    That’s what happens.

    I steal you when we talk,
    I pocket your words
    I don’t react in real time.

    I must seem like a store front manikin
    staring out
    at the stream of heated bodies,
    while inside I flood, waves are breaking
    and I need you like heartbeats.

    Where I feel it
    is in my chest
    Like an old, old ache
    the heaviest thing
    I have carried around in years.
    I thought I was
    past longing and sing-songing
    my afternoons away, dedicated to friction.

    Chimes in wooden boxes
    muffled voices from before my birth
    waiting for months to turn,
    for labor to begin
    I claw my way to the top
    where I breathe my first breath
    which burns like a desert
    because they did not expect me.
    She, on a birthing spree.
    One more will complete the collection
    a row of disobedient ducklings.

    Over here across the room
    counting down our sliver of time
    I know you like a photo I found
    on the sidewalk
    and made a story about.
    Then you move
    shifting in your chair
    Dealing with me and this despair.

    It may seem like
    I don’t listen to what you say
    but it’s not true, I do.

    But I save my reactions for later
    when I know you’ll be busy
    with another who needs you
    in another special way like I do
    It’s impossible to say how much.
    It is frightening to need so much.

    So I will be a seed woman!
    planting devotional trees
    In those I meet.
    I will plow for purification,
    mud under my fingernails.

    So let’s agree
    tomorrow is the day we met
    and ’til then, I don’t love you yet.

  124. Wendy, I LOVE your poem. I have a few that I will try to post soon. I’m in Vegas for my mother and her twins 90th birthday party right now and don’t have time for the computer much.

  125. Sweet. I felt kind of vulnerable putting it out there….

  126. Wendy,
    I noticed that a few days ago that you posted you are fearful of telling your T about your true feelings. Can you tell us more about that?
    There are many posts here that reflect a negative response from Ts, so I don’t blame you. It is scary when so much of our being is invested in this relationship. I wish Ts were better educated with regard to patients who fall in love with them. Obviously, looking at this forum, it is not that uncommon.
    I’m glad my T is so receptive and yet still keeps the doctor/patient relationship at the forefront. Because when I need my doctor in the middle of an ‘episode’ I REALLY need my doctor.
    I wish you well on this journey, whichever way you go with it.

  127. Ephemera Dovecote

    My fear is my issue. My holding back when I so much want to be present and expressing myself, which is weird because when people meet me they would not in a million years see me as insecure because I think I have built a big resonance to hide behind. Last week I got brave enough to allude to my “crush”, but calling it that demeaned it in a way, made a joke of it, because what I think it really is is a kind of real love that has more to do with he and I creating a safe space together where I feel like I am getting some relief from my fears and woes. He actually was very welcoming, as always, of me bringing EVERYTHING into the room. I know that he enjoys working with me, and that there is some kind of affection there. The thing that freaks me out is that I don’t want to admit to him how He really is in my mind and heart and body and soul every minute of the day, and it feels obsessive but only when I judge it as “bad” or wrong. If I accept his presence in my psyche, it can be soothing and reassuring and feels like a kind love that is healing. But I get caught up in worry that my attachment to him is accessive and addictive and an indication of mental unwellness, so I stuff it. How he sees me is so important, and I feel like it gets in the way of me really letting it all hang out! But we are doing really good work together, either because of or in spite of all my romantic/spiritual/child-like longing for him. Reading here all of us with this “affliction” I realize it is garden variety transference, but can we really dismiss it like that? Love is big, it’s real, it makes the world go round, and it feels like a doorway to letting myself accept what is so for me with our apology. I’m not there yet, but getting closer I think! Thank you for engaging me. ;0)

  128. Ephemera Dovecote

    Ps. I noticed it posted as Ephemera. That is really Wendy, but on a different computer. Oops!

  129. Dear Ephemera or Wendy!
    Your post sounds EXACTLY like what I have gone through too. Our feelings for our Ts are EXACTLY the same…except that I have been able to tall my T the depth and breadth of my love for him. And, he is accepting, said that this is important, that it shadows the effects of my real life, that I’ve needed someone to champion me, to care about me, to tell me that I am lovely. And he does this, yet still maintains all the boundaries (sometimes to my utter frustration, which I tell him too!) After reading some of the above posts, I realize how lucky I am to have him.
    I’m glad to hear you have broken the ice and he was OK with it. I did it like, “You know, I’m feelings these feelings that I don’t really know what to do with or how to handle. I know it’s probably just transference, but I just wanted to let you know, since that’s what I’m supposed to be doing in here, is exploring my feelings.” I said it in a sane and controlled way so he didn’t think I was a freak.
    I don’t want to give you any advice, but that’s what I did. With my T, he was fine.
    I think your love is real and is transference too. It’s part of the work that happens in that room, but for us, it follows us wherever we go. I have accepted that and it’s easier to handle. I told him too. He knows I am completely entranced with him and he is using that in therapy to explore how my parents loved me, how my ex-husband loved me, as my current husband loves me, how my relationship is with my children, etc.
    Just really accept what is really happening with you, enjoy the crazy love feelings, but just know that these feelings are reflextions of perhaps what you want in life, what you are missing. I’ve asked my T if he has any brothers! It’s come to light that he is a model for the love I really wish I had in my life and the kind of person I want to be in a relationship with. A mature relationship. I don’t have that right now, except with my T.
    Be happy and let things flow in your sessions. Be brave in small ways.
    Wishing you well and that today you can celebrate your ability to still feel so excited.
    Your post

  130. Holly,
    I too feel like my therapist inspires me. Just like falling in love, it has lifted me and motivates me in all areas of my life.
    I don’t see my therapist as all love and light though. While I don’t have negative feelings, I do see her as deeply human and flawed. It’s beautiful.

    Your poem is amazing! I read it multiple times. I hope some day you may show it to your therapist.

    Glad you referenced your crush and love how you recognize the idea of the “safe space.” When I first admitted my attraction to my therapist I sat outside her office and did a google image search on my phone for “courage.” What prompted me to do it was a discussion my therapist and I were having about how people so often don’t talk about what is actually happening in the present moment, between them. So I wanted to be right there. It was such a rewarding experience.

    Every difficult disclosure (like about love) has been the same. Brought us closer. Despite my strong marriage, this taught me that in a loving relationship, honesty (however vulnerable the feeling) is rewarded. Not all therapists are capable of having honest relationships for fear of losing their sense of authority I think. But it is possible.

    I have not yet talked about how I think about her all the time. I will think about you comment regarding the reservation of judgement, not to see the processing as negative obsessiveness. How inspiring. Seems like we’re all getting closer : )

  131. Hi Holly, and others, I just been readed, the great support, you holly and other are having from your therapist. After sharing your feeling wit your therapists. I feel you are so lucky.

    As Last year I had strong feelings for my therapist. And it was a disaster when, I told him how I felt. I understand now, that me feelings for him were there as I had not felt anyone care for me like he did in the therapy sessions. And the fact that I had so much rejection of my mother and other siblings. Myy therapist, simply said.. I need distance,, (when I told him about him being on my mind alot etc). Then my sessions ended with him, and I emailed him, hoping that he would see me for more therapy after three month. He never replied, not even once, I was devastated. I have not had therapy since, I been discharged from the therapy place I was at, where this happened. New place just said,, keep taking my meds for ocd. (whitch is the reason, I had therapy).

    So if anyone wants to reply with any thoughts about my experience with therapy/transfrence, feel free to do so. I have been on another website.. where a number of people said, that my therapist was wrong the way he treated me. And very unproffesional.

  132. Roses are red, violets are blue
    I’m hot for my shrink
    how about you?

    Now there’s your poetry!

  133. Wendy!
    That is funny, funny, funny. It’s nice to have something light-hearted about this issue that can sometimes be so painful. Maybe that is what we need to do, is not be so serious about it all. I know, I know, easy to say, hard to do? Well, Wendy helped me today by giving me a big smile and a good laugh and I really needed it. Thank you , Wendy.
    I had a long, hard day and in the middle of it all had an appointment with my shrink, during which I had a melt-down, panicked, took Xanax right then and there, after a few moments was able to calm down, and was able to pull myself together as he watched it all and then were able to talk. I have some distressing life issues at this moment that I’m working through, sometimes less successfully than others. These are the times I’m so very appreciative that he is my doctor/therapist and not my lover. I really need a doctor/therapist, not a boyfriend.

  134. There you go, holly, getting some perspective and putting things in their proper place. I know the agony you are describing. My T and I have recently gotten down to calling it “love” and adoration, and he described how much he had absolutely adored HIS T! What was said that was very helpful to me was that the whole process is for me to get to know myself, and if a huge attachment that I experience as love, lust, pain, worthlessness, whatever…occurs, it is vital information and fertile ground for understanding how I am in my life and relationships, and where I can bring more awareness and consciousness into my life around it. Bringing all of this real emotion and expressing it in real time with a skilled T is helping me see who I am am who I’ve been and learning to have love and compassion for the child in me that got a bit mangled along the way and is overly needy and clinging as an adult. And it is really the love itself that is moving me through it, I believe. Work with the energy of the attachment, and if your T can go there with you and use it therapeutically, you will gain so much.

  135. Wendy,
    We are exactly on the same page. You couldn’t have said it better. We are lucky and I so wish that everyone who has posted here could have had this same experience. I have to run to work now, but I want to post some of my poems I have written about my T later. I think you might enjoy them.


  136. Abigail hermad

    My husband admitted he had a crush on our couples therapist! He questioned if msybe she was the one and I refused for us to go back! Thinking it was transference but he just told me what u thought about going back! I said no he said he misses her! I’m so hurt! I just died inside! I also found out he texted her 2x jokingly about missing her. She Didn’t respobd! Shkldnt she have told me ( that was during our sessions)

  137. Holy crap!

  138. I have a question.. Is it normal that at the beggining stages of therapy, the therapist is more attentive and caring to you and when time has passed (like a year aprox.) to feel as if the therapist wasn’t as attentive or caring? (Feeling that he or she is more distant). This is how I am feeling lately with my therapist. She was so attentive and caring the first months and now I feel as if she were more distant. Does anybody feel this way?

  139. Hmmm, interesting dilemma, Abiigail. My husband has gone on a real bender for another woman. I told him, “go for it.” The reason I did that was so that she would not become forbidden fruit. I was pretty sure it would die a natural death and it has without any physical contact. I would be extra sure that if she was a therapist nothing more would happen except his crush would die its natural death.

    I was also feeling a little guilty because I have a major crush on my T. And, believe me, I absolutely know that nothing will come of it. But I enjoy seeing him and he’s helped through plenty of disasters. I was upfront with my husband and my T about it, thankfully each has a good tolerance for this kind of silliness.

    So, in both cases nothing has happened except the two crushes.

    But, your husband came right out and said he thought your therapist was the one? As in the love of his life one? Which makes you what, not the one? I would have a hard time with that. He wants to go back because he misses her? Painful. He has texted her twice, trying to get her attention. The
    T probably didn’t want to be the source of conflict when you are going to couples counseling, possibly because of conflict. So she didn’t say anything, hoping that with her no reply he’d get the message…NO! I wonder if she had said something, would the exploration of that conversation have been beneficial to the counseling. What do you think, Dr. Potash?

    It kinda sounds like its time for more counseling, but with a male therapist. I’m sorry this is happening to you. I would be hurt too if my husband said, You are not the one. However, transference, as I know, is a strong force to deal with.

  140. We all have differing perspectives on therapeutic relationships. My view, as I have come to understand it, has changed alot over this last year. When I first met my therapist, I too was going through a really difficult time in my marriage and life in general. My husband was a 2nd year medical student, and was gone alot, so I felt like a single mother taking care of 2 children, him being one, and our 3yr old daughter back then. I was away from family and friends who provided emotional support, and my sexual relationship in my marriage has been practically non-existent over the last few years. I was feeling abandoned, which mirrored my parental relationships. Plus, I was abused mentally, physically and emotionally by my stepdad, and physically assaulted by my father, and orally raped by so called friends as a young adult, and pretty much abandoned by my mother. Life dealt me many blows, and is still working up a few more. Fortunately for me, I still feel somewhat lucky. Isn’t that ironic? I realize that much worse could’ve happened to me. I could be so much more messed up or dead, but I’m not. I’ve never used any kind illegal drugs, nor have I abused prescription drugs, I’ve never turned to drinking, nor have I abused others. I don’t know how I coped with all of this, but I feel lucky. Anyway, these are the many issues that brought me back into therapy. Yes, I’ve had a few therapists before, and they never quite worked out how I expected, so I thought maybe therapy wasn’t for me, but I decided to go back in 1 last time because I was feeling pretty desperate. So I meet my new therapist, and right away I feel attracted to him, which is fine and even normal, but over the next few weeks, I go from I like him to obsessing about him. That’s because the way he did therapy wasn’t what I was accustomed to. He used texting which was both helpful and a hinderance. I told my husband that I was having crazy thoughts and feelings about my T, and he was very mature about it. He thought that maybe these feelings could help us get to the bottom of the issues, and encouraged me to experience them as best I could. I assured him that I wouldn’t act on my feelings, and haven’t. I ended up telling my T my feelings about it, and emailed him my fantasy, which he said he could handle, but in reality he couldn’t. He was flattered, but agreed that we weren’t going to take our relationship. We went through a few weeks of not getting anywhere emotionally, before I finally accepted and released those feelings from myself. As soon as I did that, I felt loads better, but our relationship was never the same. I lost some trust in our relationship, but thought what can this man really do for me that I couldn’t do for myself? Do I need him or anyone else to nourish my soul? No, not really, but I kept going in anyway, just incase I could get more out of our relationship. What did I get out of it? I got that he was just a person trying to deal with my issues just as I was, so I can’t expect perfection from him or something other-worldly, I can’t expect him to know all there is to know about my personal issues because he didn’t experience my issues as I had. I had learned how to cope and how to look outside of myself to find solutions to my own problems. It was a great awakening because I had stopped fantasizing about someone, or a god saving me from my problems, and have taken my life into my own hands. What happened to me wasn’t something that is different or unusual, but it is unique to me in a way that has shaped me for the best. Life is far from perfect, but I now know that I am on the path to becoming a whole and truly happen person, I just have to see life from multiple angles and never stop growing. I hope any or all of you can take something good from my story called life. All isn’t bad if we are still alive and somewhat healthy, so it’s up to you to step up to and rise above your own personal issues. Good luck to you all, and if you don’t believe in luck, you’re still getting it bestowed on you anyway, and if you believe in a god, then many blessings to you.

  141. Sorry for the many typos. Oh well, I’m doing this on my phone, not a word or PDF doc.

  142. To Anonymous,

    I’d ask your T why they are acting so distant? If you have been seeing them for a year, and you are familiar with each other this shouldn’t be a big deal. I’m sorry you are feeling this way. I cannot accurately speculate why here, but hey! your therapist is a person with a life too. Maybe they’re going through a difficult time in their personal life. I don’t see mine anymore, but we keep in contact through text sometimes, and I learned a few months ago that his wife was diagnosed w/MS. Or maybe yours is feeling bored, or maybe they are trying to distance their feelings from you on purpose. So many maybes…just ask them darling. Plus, it’s your time in therapy, not theirs, and I think it’s ok to ask or demand their full attention.

    I am 30 year old lesbian and I have been in therapy since i was 10. About two years ago I went into an drug and alcohol outpatient rehab. I REALLY bonded with my counselor, who is a female and also 30 years old.. After 4 months of seeing her she told me she was moving to another facility. I WAS DEVASTATED! It was then I realized how much I loved her.She told me where she was moving to so I knew where to find her. I tried to stay for a few more months but it was just too hard. I went to the new facility where she works and became her patient there. I really love her; sometimes its like “sisterly ” love and then I have dreams where we kiss and I feel like I am in love with her. All the while I am so afraid that she is going to abandon me again. That I will remain clean and I will no longer have to continue going to outpatient. I am not ready to leave her, it was so difficult going through the three months with out seeing her. She does not have a private practice so the only way I can see her is if I continue to go to the drug alcohol treatment center. I even relapsed purposely so that she wouldnt think I would be ready to leave out patient ( and i told her that) she said she wouldnt just release me with out making sure I had a support group and other therapist. I couldnt picture my life with out her. I think about her all the time. So confused what to do what to do?

  144. I am also in recovery, 23 yrs sober. Red flag goes up for me at “relapsed on purpose.” For one thing, there is no future for you of any kind with or without this therapist if you are all messed up with your addiction. Second, if your relationship with her is of an obsessive type that it is like another addiction, and I can attest that this is possible because I have had that issue, then you can use that information to work out your issues about her WITH her. If she is any kind of decent therapist, she will know how to help you use the energy of the infatuation as a place to understand yourself and your addictive nature and get some healing. But if you use it as an excuse or worse yet a reason to “go out” then there is no hope for ny kind of healthy relationship, therapeutic or otherwise. Become the person you think would be attractive to someone you think you could love, and that person would probably not be an active addict.

  145. I have been seeing a therapist for almost a year, regularly 2 hrs a week. She is excellent and I have strong feelings of gratefulness towards her…I would really like to install a future friendship, she knows this and answers using the greek word kairos, meaning ‘everything in its own time’. I live in hope and at the same time terror that it may not happen. At the moment for work and holidays we have interrupted for 6 weeks, 6 long weeks. I don’t like the fact that I miss her but that’s how I feel. I know the importance of not interrupting therapy to install a friendship quicker, at the same time I am afraid that when therapy does come to an end I wouldn’t be able to stand it if it was a goodbye.

  146. I’ve been seeing my psychiatrist for about a year now, for medication management, once a month. I feel comfortable with him and can tell him anything. I love him and really really want him to be a father figure to me. I want to see him more often and asked if he does therapy, but he doesn’t due to time constraints. I asked if he could hug me but he said he doesn’t hug his patients.

    I think about him almost constantly, have fantasies about him being a father to me, and wish to know more about him. I’ve been in and out of the psychiatric hospital for most of this year. Sometimes he gets very stern with me and corrects me about my behavior or something. This only serves to make me want him to be my father even more because I equate discipline with love and something a father does. The most recent time I was in I confessed to him that sometimes I act like I’m more suicidal than I am just to come to the hospital. So he gave me an assignment to write a journal entry about ‘why’ I do this, and that we’d talk about it the next day.

    I was completely open and truthful in the journal entry, writing about feeling comforted and getting affirmation in the hospital. I also added the part about wanting to be around him more and that I wish that he could be a father figure to me. I figured that we would just talk about what I’d written and not actually go over the whole thing, only sharing the parts that I wanted to because it is embarrassing to me.

    Well he realized that I hadn’t mentioned everything in the letter so he asked me to read it and of course I refused. Then he asked if he could read it. I hesitated but gave it to him. He read it OUT LOUD!! I wanted to crawl under the chair.

    He said he was flattered that I felt that way about him, but that I could never happen. He said that we have a doctor/patient relationship and that’s what it will always be. Of course I knew that intellectually, but I cried. He said that it probably means that I have transference, he didn’t use the exact word but described it to me. He said that I need to talk to my therapist about this.

    I don’t feel the connection with my therapist as I do with my psychiatrist. I have only been seeing her for a couple months. I haven’t brought this up with her because I guess I’m wishing that he would work on this with me. But I know that’s not possible since I only see him for 15 minutes once a month. I’m angry that he won’t hug me and that he won’t be my therapist.

  147. the confused one cause all the fighting

    how about when your therapist send you whatsapps or text messages and shes a woman? an you often like fight with one another…
    she also makes like asumptions of something i just said that is wrong and you feel she didnt believed you ):

  148. Why did my comment is not in the page? I would really like to know why does my therapist is treating me this way i feel worse….. Why does she agree to see if she didnt like me as a human being im going through aomething like the movie “slap her shea french” just im not a bitch i even dnt know what everyone wanta from me ):

  149. Read an earlier post about a therapist that was all hugs and kisses and body to body hugs. Something like that happened to me, only I was a 15 year old girl, she was a 31 year old woman. Too illustrate how young I was, the day before I met her I had fixed braces put onto my teeth and I was wearing my school uniform for the first appointment…I had a huge lack of affection growing up and I liked her, she found I opened up if I was affectionate to her. She then started having sessions with me in her arms across her lap, somethings lying down together embraced. She would kiss me on the lips and stroke me, my hair, my stomach too. It went on until I was 17. I found I had terrible trouble separating myself from her after sessions. I loved her and I loved the safety but she would immediately be attached..when I was 16 I would be in her office car park, desparately upset and really hurting, and alone, sometimes in the dark..I had to travel through London to get home alone too. Then she decided to stop the hugs, started talking about boundries, as if I had set out to break them, It felt like I was being corrected and punished, That I was doing something wrong, unwanted and I ended up not trusting myself… I can now see that as I was 15/16 when it started, I could not have been to blame, she started it, she was an adult, I barely was. I stuck it out with her until I was 20, I realised my trust had finally gone. Up until that point we still hugged before and after a session, She suddenly wanted to address that and stop that too. And I was getting the blame. At that point I broke down and told my GP (family doctor.)
    I had a great relationship with her, I trusted her and she had never, ever given me reason to doubt, to feel insecure and never touched me, unless it was medical. In my last session with the therapist she told me I would be breaking confideniality if I told anyone about her methods. I really love her, which confused me, I occasionally had fantasies too but I was in love with her, though she thought that I was. I never wanted to be her friend either. But she really messed me up, because I had really trusted her and needed her. I am now with a new therapist who I like and trust, but the scars and fears are still there. I have told her about the past..I really, really like her and she told me she really likes me and cares deeply about me. To me that is a kind of love, the love that I need but transferance frightens me, I have had to fight for a long time for a therapist that is right for me and understands me. She does. She is the type of person who is very organised and meticulous and would not cross a line but I still fear getting hurt. I already fear loosing her. On Monday she touched me very lightly on the back and I jumped out of fear. I have very few people that I allow to touch me. I know I am safe with her but get frightened because I have let her close to me.

  150. It has taken me until I was 40 to find my current therapist…I meant to say I wasn’t in love with my last therapist. It is 1am, my time. She messed with my concept of my sexuality too. The other annoying thing was after I finished with her I ran into her in a pub and she gave me big hugs and kisses, as if she still loved me…She did tell me she loved me, after an arguement in a session. She said “It’s okay, I still love you.”

  151. Wow so the touchy stuff is like totally innapropiatre!? Then whats suppose to happen is it normal i feel like love love ? Am i going through transference? Wow does she feel this way too?? How could i know?

  152. I was 15 when it started and it gave me bigger problems. It isn’t the same as a squeeze of the hand or a touch on your arm. When you are 16 and your therapist has you in her arms, strokes the bare skin on you stomach. Plays affectionate games, it is a problem…one you can’t see when you are already confused and too young to deal with. If a male therapist did that to a 15 year old, it would be criminal..

  153. Pingback: Therapy Hugs | therapyfromthebench

  154. Hi there! This is my first comment here so I just wanted to give a quick shout out and say I really enjoy reading through your posts.
    Can you suggest any other blogs/websites/forums that deal with the same topics?
    Thank you so much!

  155. I haven’t been on this site in awhile and just wanted to follow up on my relationship with my therapist. I have good news. After 4 1/2 years of being smashingly in love with him, I’ve finally got what I came for. I wanted – needed – to decrease my chronically acute depression and to mentally and emotionally become as mature as my chronological age. I also wanted my inside and outside personas to match up. I was tired of feeling five years old inside.

    If I wasn’t so in love with my therapist, looking so forward to every Thursday, I might not have stayed long enough to finally process, learn, and begin to heal. I’m no longer tormented with suicidal ideology and self harm. It’s been a long time since I’ve had those thoughts.

    I feel……good. I feel like I’m realizing my goals listed above. And, guess what. While I still love my therapist, I’m not in love with him anymore. Somehow, he skillfully navigated this road with me, not allowing any crossing of boundaries, yet making me feel really good inside, letting me know I wasn’t a bad person just for being crazy about him. He kept me connected to my process while travelling this slow, long, really long, path together.

    So, now I see him less and less and…that’s OK. I’ll always have special feelings for him, but I am able to put this relationship into perspective.

    This is my experience. I wish all of us had this outcome.


  156. Reblogged this on Healing From Complex Trauma & PTSD/CPTSD and commented:
    Interesting perspectives on therapy relationships.

  157. No specific question here, just narcissistic yearnings from my heart. Therapist love has been more than a six year long anguish for me. I have spent literally thousands of hours fantasizing, reading, writing, and talking about it. My therapist terminated with me last March, 2014, after almost eight years of therapy. She said she could no longer help me. I think perhaps I elicited some anger in her (especially after looking her up on Facebook) that she didn’t like to feel.

    After the Facebook incident, which I told her about, I have respected her wishes, and only contacted her through the clinic where I was seeing her. I have not called her on her cell phone, which I found online, or sent her mail or visited her home, which I also found online. I want to send her a birthday card (the date of which I found online), but have been advised by my new therapist (a man) not to do so. He suggests I back off entirely, but I feel that if I do so, all will be lost. Sometimes I feel so angry at her lack of response (“abandonment”) that I want to use her name when I post things online. But I won’t, because I don’t want to damage her reputation. It’s not her fault that I feel this way. It’s my own issues, my own creative imagination that led me to where I’ve been for the last several years.

    I don’t want the love to end. I want her in my life. Sometimes I feel that she, my now ex-therapist, adds a spark that was lost decades ago between my wife of 30+ years and me. We discussed it as an addiction, an obsession, a love that I wish my mother had for me, but I guess I’m one of those Borderline Personality Disorder people that are considered to be untreatable.

    She won’t return phone calls or respond to letters I’ve sent to her. My understanding is that the main reason some therapists won’t become friends with ex-clients is it they might want to resume therapy in the future, and a friendship would negate that possibility. So be it. Let’s get all the therapy out of the way, and be friends. That’s how I feel, and I guess I always will.

    Thanks for reading my ranting.

  158. No specific question here, just narcissistic yearnings from my heart. Therapist love has been more than a six year long anguish for me. I have spent literally thousands of hours fantasizing, reading, writing, and talking about it. My therapist terminated with me last March, 2014, after almost eight years of therapy. She said she could no longer help me. I think perhaps I elicited some anger in her (especially after looking her up on Facebook) that she didn’t like to feel.

    After the Facebook incident, which I told her about, I have respected her wishes, and only contacted her through the clinic where I was seeing her. I have not called her on her cell phone, which I found online, or sent her mail or visited her home, which I also found online. I want to send her a birthday card (the date of which I found online), but have been advised by my new therapist (a man) not to do so. He suggests I back off entirely, but I feel that if I do so, all will be lost. Sometimes I feel so angry at her lack of response (“abandonment”) that I want to use her name when I post things online. But I won’t because I don’t want to damage her reputation. It’s not her fault that I feel this way. It’s my own issues, my own creative imagination that led me to where I’ve been for the last several years.

    I don’t want the love to end. I want her in my life. Sometimes I feel that she, my now ex-therapist, adds a spark that was lost decades ago between my wife of 30+ years and me. We discussed it as an addiction, an obsession, a love that I wish my mother had for me, but I guess I’m one of those Borderline Personality Disorder people that are considered to be untreatable.

    She won’t return phone calls or respond to letters I’ve sent to her. My understanding is that the main reason some therapists won’t become friends with ex-clients is it they might want to resume therapy in the future, and a friendship would negate that possibility. So be it. Let’s get all the therapy out of the way, and be friends. That’s how I feel, and I guess I always will.

  159. Whoa! Reign it in Jeff. You’re basing your whole relationship on a one way relationship. Your ex-therapist is not your spark, or an opportunity to fix your memory or relationship with your mother. I get and can imagine why you feel that way, but if you dig down deep to those feelings, I think that you’ll find that although feeling such a way isn’t inappropriate, your behavior does seem to be.
    For one, you’ve violated her privacy multiple times. How do you expect her to trust you, you’re more like her stalker. Don’t try to communicate with her at all. No calling her office, writing her letters, or sending her cards. Also, besides that point, any other type of relationship with her wouldn’t be healthy for you. You’ve proven that you still have alot to work on. Take a break from this unrequited incestuous love that could never be. Its not doing you any good. Really take the time to learn to love yourself and find a healthy balance

    Believe it or not, I was once in similar shoes. I thought I fell in love with my therapist, but really it was about me getting dedicated and thoughtful attention that I never got from both of my parents. I realized, a year later after I ended our therapeutic relationship, that I can’t expect some other person to solve or make sense of the nonsense that took place in my life. I’ve accepted that most of what my parents have done or neglected to do, and you can apply this to any person, really has very little to do with me and everything to do with them. How they were raised, nurtured or lack of nurture, environment and intrinsic nature is just who they are. I left my therapist because I knew he couldn’t really help me, and because he was being inappropriate with me. He would tell me how he loved me, talk to me about his wife and life and on one occasion came into the bathroom with me, while I was washing my hands in an office where we were alone and his therapy was by appointment only. Gosh! I did love him, but I was not in love with him because it was not like a normal romantic relationship where we would date. He even mentioned that if circumstances were different, where neither of us was married, he would like to date me. Anyways back to the point, I couldn’t nor wouldn’t ever be able to have a successful therapeutic relationship because of his reciprocity. I’d have to be more worried about what I say or how I looked and felt about him, not about the reason that brought me in. He freaked out when I texted him I was leaving. He acted like a jealous boyfriend calling me up and texting me. He asked me if I was seeing someone else. I knew in that moment that I was making the best decision for the both of us, the one he couldn’t bring himself to admit, acknowledge or do for us. It was way too complicated and I was tired of being his petting post. He was grooming me for his own purposes, and if I allowed that, I knew I would be more. It was the hardest thing to let go, and I feel angry, sad and even disgusted about my vulnerability that I have never let any therapist get that close to me. I tried going back to a previous male one, but it just didn’t work for me, and I felt different. Now, I don’t see any therapist and just try other normal alternatives like exercising and getting into the habit of doing things I used to do and love. I recommend doing stuff you love or like, and doing them over and over until they become happy healthy habits. Instead of fantasizing or brooding. Love yourself Jeff, or die trying. I hope this sinks in and helps.

  160. uh oh, dude. you have gone waaaaaay over the line and pursued her in a way that might feel threatening to her. I have a massive crush on my therapist too, but I know what stalking looks like and I would never go after my T’s private life no matter how much he haunts my imagination. It’s super painful, I know, but with your new T you gotta work though that pain, get free of the obsessive fantasy regarding you FORMER T who will, as far as i can tell from what you’ve described, NEVER be your friend. I really get how powerful this attachment can be, but please know that will fade over time if you really work through the issues with a trusted caregiver. Good luck!

  161. I know it’s painful but you need to stop contacting your ex T ASAP. You’re crossing over from normal client with a crush to stalker, which is not good for you at all and will only get you in trouble eventually. It is hard to hear and hard to admit to yourself, but when people don’t respond it’s because they don’t want to. It’s not fear of commitment, confusion or anything else. They just do not want to. The reasons why are not important, because it doesn’t change the reality. If she responds to you it will only give you a false sense of hope, and your ex T doesn’t want to do that. I’ve been in the same shoes as you with regard to the unrequited feelings and unanswered phone calls and emails. I understand how painful it is and the frustration of trying to get in touch with someone who has shut you out and the rush you can get waiting for their response. But that was from a two way relationship. Therapy is all one sided – it feels like a friendship and you feel loved because you’re receiving unconditional acceptance from this person. But in in real friendships, that doesn’t happen. The relationship you know would not exist outside of a therapy room. I agree it can be strange and in I think the feelings you have are sometimes inevitable. That’s why you need to take control of your actions and stop contacting her. Continue to work through your issues with another therapist and try to learn better coping skills and self control. Your ex T is being very kind right now in not responding to you. What else do you expect her to do? You’re invading her privacy and most likely scaring her. The next step is for her to take legal action, and you don’t want or need that. I’m sorry you’re in pain and I really hope you get the help you need and take more control of your life!


  162. Dre and Wendy,

    Thank you both for your thoughtful responses. My current therapist tells me he’s seen other people go through transference issues, but never this strongly or long. The problem I have with referring to therapist love as “transference” is we ALWAYS overlay our personal histories onto people we meet. I know enough about my ex-T to not idolize her. I know she’s not perfect; in fact that’s part of what I like about her. It makes her real.

    I may give it a rest and not contact her for quite some time, but it is so painful to imagine my life without her, and it’s not like she died; she lives ten minutes from me. The one comfort I take from this is telling myself that there is no expiration date on a possible friendship. I just hope we are both alive and well if and when she changes her mind.

  163. By the way, I am in the process of writing an ebook on this subject, for online downloads. The tentative title is “Oh, For The Love of My Therapist!” It talks about my feelings for my therapist, and effects of those feelings on my family and myself. It’s an easy read that many people going through therapy will identify with.

  164. I’m not sure I comprehend “real” vs “fake” love. What makes my love for my therapist less real than my love for anyone else? Is it only because I’m in therapy, because it’s not a “mutual relationship”?

    I suppose I see it as a mutual relationship. I pay my therapist and in return he tries to help me help myself. What’s out of balance? Many if not all relationships are like this. My boss pays me so I show up and try to be nice. My coworkers share a common goal and job as me, so I help them from time to time knowing I will need it some day in return. Even dating… I pick a man with a job and in return I work, all relationships are mutual and most entangle money as well. That’s just life. If my therapist hated me, if I harass him, he could terminate me.

    I may not know everything about my therapist, but I could say that about everyone. Maybe he intentionally doesn’t show me his bad side, but you could also say that about everyone (with sense and manners) as well. Maybe our conversations are mostly about me… I don’t know but we both have back and forth dialogue.

    I understand transference, but that’s something I bring to ALL relationships right? So either all my feelings are “fake” or I really love my therapist. I guess I disagree, I’m not a therapist or psychologist, but I am quite convinced I love my therapist. If I hate him tomorrow so be it, I think that would be a real feeling too.

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  166. Ok, so after posting that healthy, clearheaded response to jeff about his stalk-y vibe with his therapist, I for the first time heard these words from my mine…” We will never be friends”. Even though I know this is true, it was like a slap in the face or a bucket of ice water dumped on my head. It made me realize how far I’ve allowed my fanisizing to go as far as my relationship with him is concerned. I never have sexual thoughts, only friend thoughts, but still it has become too overwhelming, too obsessive. He really hard thing is that when we first started he was very much more friend-like in that he sent me emails that included song lyrics, or videos from a concert he went to. Then it suddenly stopped. I always got the feeling that his supervisor must have told him it was inappropriate so he knocked it off. It really hurts to feel him pull back and be more professional, but the truth is that that was the correct thing to do. And it heightens my awareness of what is going on with me…my own attachment issues, by own fantasy life. I think I may need to switch to a woman therapist who can help me work through the obsessive attachment issues and comfort me through the grief that I know will be intense when I decide to leave. It’s brutal.

  167. Being so attached and loving our T’s is such a crazy, mashed up bunch of feelings it is hard to sort it out. I have lots of fantasies about my T, lots of loving and caring feelings. But, the most important feeling I have for him is respect. I respect his professional role in therapy and respect myself as well. I want the best for him, which is his embracing his life and loving it fully. I don’t want any harm to come to his loved ones in the real world, I respect him too much for that. I don’t want to jeopardize his livelihood. Neither am I going to beat myself up for being in love with him, for liking our one-way friendship, for FEELING. I FEEL these things. It doesn’t make me bad. I don’t act on them because I also feel great respect for him. I’m don’t want to try and figure it all out. I’m relishing having these guilty pleasures and not having to make sense of it. It’s delicious. And, it just is. He has helped me discover how awesome I am and how to give myself permission to not be perfect. To be mixed up and still love myself. To have feelings, which I don’t think are inappropriate at all, they just are! I like this jumbled up mess just like it is. No excuses. No regrets. It’s feels like eating a triple decker ice-cream cone, what I can’t eat up fast enough slipping down my chin and arms and making a big fat mess. So what. The intense pain of the pining away for him comes in waves and I embrace the craziness. It feel a little like going to the gypsy circus. I love the gypsy circus.

  168. yeah, I love the Gypsy circus too…then all of a sudden it just hurts like hell and I see how it takes over my thoughts. seems too much.

  169. HI Wendy,
    I’ve found that during those times if I’m willing to just let the hurt flow and validate and accept that pain as part of my existence I get through it easier. There are many people in the world who suffer from unrequited love, natural and normal. Because we are in desperate love with our Ts, I feel, it does make it that more intense. I’ve (finally) come to the point where I just fling my arms up into the air and swirl around celebrating and embracing that passion as something special.

    After looking at many of the posts here, I think that maybe the big difference between a good outcome, which I feel mine is, and a not so good outcome is the T. My T accepted my love, thanked me for loving him, didn’t turn me away and all the while maintained the T/patient professional relationship, for which I now thank him. You know, I’m not pretty like other women, I’m older and a little overweight. But he looked past that and cared for me. For me as a human being. I wish more than anything that all Ts could do this for the patients who fall in love with them.

    I wish you well Wendy. I’m sorry your T said you’ll never be friends. I think he lied, since clearly you were friends at the beginning of the relationship. It does seem he had to reel himself in after talking it over with his supervisor, probably a good idea. I think my T did the same thing. But, whether I’m fooling myself or not, I CHOOSE to think my T and I are friends. Clearly, not the same as normal friends, but a different kind of friend. I know he’s my doctor and watches over me with a clinical eye. Still, I choose to think he is also my friend. I have a lot of different kinds of friendships, each with different values and purposes. That’s OK and healthy. I’m healthy. YOU are healthy and beautiful and lovely.

  170. So I saw my T today, all is well. We established that we have a deep connection and are friendly in a certain way, we care deeply for each other, but it is a special type of relationship that is contained in a therapeutic setting and cannot spill over those edges. He helped me feel so much better today. I went in feeling like crap, really humiliated and down on myself, and left laughing and the knots in my stomach gone. In addition, he said he knew exactly how I was feeling because he’d gone through the same thing with his own T! that is about the most personal thing he’s ever told me about himself. I can tell he really cares about my well being, and accepts me as I am and has no intention of tossing me out on my ear for caring about him “too much” whatever that is. so, we will see but for now I feel like we resolved some things.

  171. Hi Wendy,

    Awesome! I’m happy for you. Big hug.


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