Sometimes I feel like there’s a wall between me and my therapist. And sometimes I wish there were some sort of wall between me and my therapist! It doesn’t make any sense to me. And I worry: does it mean she can’t help me?
It’s making me so uncomfortable! How do I stop falling in love with my therapist? It’s making me so uncomfortable! How do I keep my therapist from falling in love with me?
Sometimes I think I don’t even like my therapist. Do I have to for therapy to work? I don’t think my therapist even likes me. Does she have to for therapy to work?
I hate it when my therapist is mad at me. Why does it bother me so much? What do I do? I hate it when I am mad at my therapist. Why does it bother me so much? What do I do?
Questions like these just keep rollin’ in to us here at Feeling Up in Down Times. In the initial installment of Therapy Love, we addressed those good (sometimes confusingly so) feelings: loving your therapist – or wondering if your therapist loves you. But what about all the uncomfortable negative feelings: worrying if your therapist secretly hates you – or if you secretly hate your therapist? Worrying if your therapist is angry with you for not acting on what you’ve supposedly been learning in your therapy. Worrying if you’re too angry with your therapist for therapy to be helpful.
When you come to trust someone as much as you can the therapist you share so much of yourself with, when you come to trust your therapist “gets” you, you’d think you’d feel comfortable, safe, free to be yourself. And that is usuallythe case. But in a cruel twist of fate, it can also mean that whatever negative feelings do come up seem particularly meaningful and important. And that, in turn, makes it both more uncomfortable to share them with your therapist – and more important to do so.
Maybe those negative feelings are so uncomfortable because the relationship comes to matter so much. Because therapy love just feels so real, almost like the real thing. Therapy Love is a real thing, it’s just not the realthing. Therapy love is a state of heightened emotions in a situation where your every emotion is under a microscope: one you and your therapist share and look through together. Or – often and – a microscope you’re uncomfortable having anyone else look through, especially your therapist. All in an intimate relationship that looks and feels just enough like a real life relationship to make you wonder: what’s going on here, and what do I do about it?
You take a deep breath. You bring it up, into the light of day. You explore the realm of contradictory feelings, the juxtaposition of loving and hating. Because the one thing you can count on if you do risk sharing those tough feelings with your therapist is that you’ll learn an awful lot. About yourself. About yourself in relationships. It’s rare to have a dedicated person and place to talk about the good, the bad and the ugly – with the very person you’re feeling those things about, when you’re feeling those things. Unlike the other people you may love, your therapist doesn’t have any vested interest in the outcome. Your therapist is working for your insight, in your best interest. It starts in the relationship between you, but it extends beyond that, way beyond that.
Even with any fears or anger or disappointment. Even better than any fantasies. And that just might be the best thing about Therapy Love.
Copyright © 2012 Marlin S. Potash. All rights reserved.