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Quitting therapy - feelings for therapist


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I have been in therapy since June 2008 for issues stemming from molestations, abusive relationships, rapes, and a abortion from being raped. In therapy, we have made extensive progress and I feel that one day I will be able to be a more capable and functioning person. My therapist is kind, caring, empathetic, sympathetic and compassionate. We have a great therapeutic relationship, and we also share personal stories and have a good laugh, while working through all the pain.

Without him, I may not have wanted to keep plugging away and get help. He saved my life, he is my lifeline he is the reason I want to wake up in the morning. He has been a friend, confident, and inspiration. He has helped direct my life and countless times he has lifted my self esteem to new heights. He tells me that I am a capable, loving and caring person. He has instilled so much positive things into my life, when no one else has. He cares about me when no one else cares about me. He goes over and beyond what is expected of a person and therapist.

I go to bed each night and pray to not have nightmares and bad dreams. When I am having a dream where I am being raped, the dream turns to my therapist in the same room, telling me that I am going to be ok, that I am safe and I dont wake up so terrified from the nightmares anymore. I dont want to have thoughts about him when I am not in therapy, but I cant help it. I keep reliving each and everything that is said during therapy, and I can go over in my mind, all the positive, and uplifting things he has ever told me. It gets me through the days and the nights. I have had a dream of him and I making love. Again, I am ashamed to be having this dream of him. It is so wrong.

I dont want to stop therapy but at the same time I cant continue to have these feelings for him. I dont want to have them, I dont, but they just overwhelm my mind. I am so ashamed and embarrassed to even think about telling him about this because I fear he will think there is something wrong with me, or I am more unstable than he thinks I am already.

But yet if I stop therapy he is going to think something is wrong with me, and I cant bear the thought of telling him what is going on with me. I dont want to have these feelings for him. I really dont. I know I have read stories of transference issues, I am just so embarrassed and ashamed that they are happening to me, when I need my therapist help so much.

what can I do to stop these feelings for him, I am scared and terrified to tell him what I am really going through. I think he would be disappointed in, like I am of myself.

Please, anyone help me. I honestly really need to keep going to therapy but how can I look him in the eye in the face feeling the way that I do for him.

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I have been where you are and maybe I can offer some insight/suggestion.

My case was with a co-worker and I believed this person had feelings for me as well. The challenge is that we tend to begin to believe what we NEED to believe. In my case it was that the romantic feelings were mutual.

I embarrassed myself terribly while playing this game in my mind and in the end created a situation that my co-worker could not longer deal with and she left the company.

My suggestion, especially in light of the fact that it is your therapist, please tell him/her as openly and honestly as you can about what you are feeling.

Ideally, no matter how it turns out, you will be made perfectly clear of the other person's feelings and might help you to focus your thoughts in a different way.

Been there.....should have done that!

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Hi Hunter,

The first thing to remember is that you are NORMAL, so please don't be so hard on yourself. It is more than ok that you are having these feelings. It can even be good...it means that your therapist is doing a great job and you feel comfortable with him and are making progress! Since you do have such a great therapeutic relationship with him and have opened up to him about so many personal issues (and he has responded so positively), I think he would be more than willing to discuss these transference issues with you as well. The fact that you are experiencing these feelings means a lot to your therapeutic process as a whole, and no matter how hard it is to tell him (and I understand that it is, because I had to tell mine recently), it will most likely be worth it...esp. since your alternative seems to be quitting therapy with someone you have been making such progress with. I would really hate to see that happen.

Also, you can't control your dreams. They do have a lot of symbolic meaning for what you are actually going through (consciously and unconsciously). I don't know what kind of therapist you are seeing...mine does both CBT and psychodynamic...so we look at my dreams pretty closely. The fact that you have been able to replace some of your nightmares with positive dreams about your therapist is something that is important and very positive. Again, nothing to be ashamed of at all, and your therapist will not be "disappointed" in you. A good therapist would never judge you, and it sounds like you have a great one!

When I told my therapist about my erotic transference, he was very understanding, and we are discussing my transference every time I go to therapy. At first I was mortified to tell him, but I am SO glad that I did. I also realized that it was definitely not the first time that he had dealt with a client experiencing feelings for him, which made it easier for me to talk to him about it.

Please don't stop therapy because of your feelings for your therapist. Is there a way in which you think you could tell him and be comfortable with it? Email, or maybe a letter? I am just trying to think of options that might work better for you if talking to him directly would be too nerve-wracking...

Hope this helps a little.

D&C

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The thought of stopping therapy scares the hell out of me.

Yet I cant tell him face to face what I am feeling

Maybe a email

How did you therapist react to you when you told him.

Do you feel that you are being treated differently now that you have told him.

were you totally embarrassed and ashamed to tell him.

thanks for your thoughts

I have so many feelings and emotions going through my body and my mind that it is hard to deal with right now.

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Thanks for sharing. Good therapists with whom we have a comfortable rapport are not easy to find. I'm certain that your therapist has lived this type of situation before, he was probably even trained to deal with it. It must be part of the job since the people who see therapists are often feeling isolated and have few people to confide in, So it's easy to get attached to someone who is kind and generous to us, who listenss with interest and offers sound counsel.

I agree that you thould talk to him about it. Sure it's embarassing to bring up, but I see it as a part of your recovery. The obsessive thinking, the feelings of shame, they do reflect thought patterns that are part of the problem and now you have transferred the thoughts to him. Maybe it's just part of your process of deepening your therapy to discuss this with him and see how he can help you to move beyond this stage....

I don't see anything wrong with the way you are feeling, I think it's a normal human thing to happen. In therapy you can take that feeling and talk about it order to better understand what it is and what can be done with it. I'm afraid that if you just walk out of the therapy you may continue to obsess about him and it could turn into a 'I should have....could have....' That's never good....;)

Be brave, tell him about your transferrence and ask him to help you with it because you don't know what to do ... next step in your therapy perhaps?:)

Bonne chance!

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Hi Hunter. Try taking a deep breath and giving yourself some gentle thoughts. Though it can feel frightening, what you are experiencing is perfectly healthy and normal. The meaning of the feelings and your style of relating within this relationship hold a potential gold mine of information about you, your past, what is important to you, what motivates you, what behaviors you might need to change and it tells you what you have been needing. There can be nothing wrong about your feelings, Hunter. It's great that you are responding positively to your therapist. You have an understanding and respect for the relationship as client-therapist and he is responsible for keeping the boundaries in place, so this is a safe place for exploration.

I know it's scary, Hunter, but I really believe it would be beneficial for you to remain in therapy with this therapist. There is so much to be learned through this. Taking a look at the feelings can help you to understand and accept them and may eventually help ease the intensity behind them. Try to think of the goodness behind your feelings and what that says about you. The feelings are yours and speak to you and what you may eventually offer to others in outside the room relationships. You're a loving person who has love to offer. That's a beautiful thing, don't you think?

If you want to talk more privately about this, feel free to PM me. Take care, Hunter.

Edited by IrmaJean
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having feelings for your therapist the way you do is normal. after all you share so much with your therapist more then you'll ever willingly openly share with another out right. your therapist should be able to handle these feelings when you address them with him. i think they call this process transference.

if you do not speak about it you hide your feelings and put a road block in your healing process. its all apart of the healing process.

there are ethical rules between a therapist and a patient and they are trained to handle these situations.

muster up the courage and talk to your therapist about it not via email but in a session. You'll have a lot of respect for yourself and you'll learn how to deal with some very important things.

i personally made a mistake on being 'friends' with a alcohol counselor/life coach and in the long run it messed me up because I had to deal with the loss of the 'friendship' instead of the loss of a 'therapist'. Two very different things relationships. Keep it platonic. Let the doc be a doc.

be careful.

good luck.

Edited by ttjack
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I am reading this with a big smile on my face. I remember that during my first year in therapy i read a book about erotic transference and countertransference and believe me, i freaked out. I wanted to quit, i wanted to die.... When i actually started feeling it, i felt incredibly ashamed, but the reason behind it was that i thought i was worthless. How could i feel these feelings for him? Who did i think i was? Shame was the word. I wanted to quit. The funny thing was that he knew even before i mentioned it to him. I acted it out with a friend of mine and he always knew when i was struggling with those feelings.

I am still smiling. I now accept these feelings and can see how i over reacted. Like you are doing now. Shame is a very difficult feeling. Very paralyzing. Very close to death. I am sorry being so direct, but please use whatever way you may find best to communicate it to him. A letter, an email... i did it myself when i couldn't say what i perceived as very difficult. Just do not quit therapy. Hang on to what you built together. And think that your feelings are being experienced in a safe environment with someone that you trust. This is very important for someone with your story. Allow yourself to be whole with another human being. That’s a most incredible experience. As you already know.

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Hunter and others-

I can so relate to what you are feeling. About a year and a half ago I posted a lot about this same very painful situation that I was in regarding feelings I had for my therapist.

In my case, he brought up the idea of terminating and I freaked out (internally) because I had grown so very attached.

This was over a year and a half ago and my feelings for him have resolved to large extent. I see him only once a month individually and weekly in a group. I am unemployed right now but I have told him that I will stop coming to group and seeing him as soon as I am settled in a new job.

I no longer feel panicky or obsessed about this but I do very clearly remember the profound depth of my grief as I let go of him as sort of my "imaginary friend." Now he is much more human and flawed to me. I am fond of him but no longer feel dependent on him as I once did.

If you are interested I will post a link to my old posts. Good luck, Hunter, I feel your pain. By the way, in my case, the therapist really had no idea how to deal with my feelings and became somewhat more distant with me as a result of my revealing my attachment to him. Hopefully, your therapist will be better than mine was in this regard.

The link : http://community.mentalhelp.net/showthread.php?t=139

Best wishes,

Catmom

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whats the difference between transferance and real :eek: ususally for me it is so hard to feel love, that when i do, i hate to stop it. clueless

It's all real, Catsirish. Feelings are always real. Sometimes they are just very flavored by your past experiences. My theory is that transference happens pretty much all the time... in every relationship, in casual interactions and a lot. Something happens in the here and now which triggers a memory from your past and you respond in a similar fashion. Usually the response and your feelings about it don't match the situation or are inappropriate to the situation. I also think that sometimes there is a blend of the present and the past. You are responding now, but the deeper meaning within your feelings has more to do with the past. It's symbolic in many ways and represents a piece of your puzzle. There can also be projection within transference, which means you are placing your desires, needs and wants onto someone else. This is what often happens in therapy. I've never cared for the word "resolve". Part of my transference is that I'm very protective of my feelings for anyone. I like to use the words understand and accept.

Edited by IrmaJean
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I agree with the others. Talk to him bout how you feel. Therapists are trained to deal with this sort of thing. There is no shame in it. You have found the one person who seems to understand you, the one person you can communicate with. It’s no wonder you have feelings for this person. If a friend came to you and asked you what you are asking us what would you advise them to do?

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Glad I am not the only one , who has experienced this . I have not said anything about it though, due to sheer embarassemnt . I hate it, in therapy and then having those "excited" feelings for the therapist :eek: YES , it is enough for me to feel very ashamed of myself , and confused, because I do not want to feel that , towards him.

I have seen him for a long time, around 5 yrs or so, and sometimes those feelings arise, and I just do my best to ignore it. Shoot , I can't tell him that, however, i can think that it would be real nice to meet someone as caring and insightful as him one day. just not him, in that way .

I have not been to see him in over a month do to physical ailmants. Those feelings for the therapist come and go, and it is only during session that it happens.

I still go , and have not thought about quitting seeing him. it is hard to find a really good therapist, however, when those "other" feelings come up , i do think it is better to talk about it.

I have not been able to though, IMO , it is way too embarrassing , for me . Even though I know it is the best thing to do .

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It's nice to know that another person can bring out the goodness in us, though, don't you think? You're responding to his kindness and insight. This is very natural. I'm sorry that you are feeling embarrassed about this. I always tried to think of it as my potential coming to life. It's a beautiful part of yourself and your gifts that you may offer to others. Having a good relationship with your therapist can be very healing, Mscat. I hope that you have been feeling better.

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Sherzade's advice is good advice as is most of the rest of the advice provided so far (Sorry my memory is too full to remember all names! typical!)

This is a common situation, and you are totally normal to experience it. In fact, that you are experiencing it is a great sign because it means you are able to form a trusting bond with your therapist. Well-placed trust is the path to healing.

It would be a bad idea to leave therapy over this, becuase in this case therapy is helping you to feel safer. It would be a good idea to talk to the therapist about what you are experiencing. if he/she is any good, you'll be able to talk about it as an aspect of wanting to be protected and to feel safe again and the shame of the attraction will go away. If you can't talk about it, maybe you can write a letter. Or just wait a while until you can talk about it. or don't talk about it there yet but talk about it here. The situation will change and it is likely to get easier to talk about if you talk about it here.

The general term for this sort of experience (a falling in "love" with a therapist) is transference. See http://www.mentalhelp.net/poc/view_doc.php?type=doc&id=8253 for an essay I wrote about it some time ago. See also: http://www.mentalhelp.net/poc/view_doc.php?type=doc&id=25025

Mark

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Thank you, Mark, for those links. It's interesting getting the different views and explanations on this.

I believe that looking at all of our behaviors within relationships can be very telling and offers a lot of information about us. For example, a fear of confronting painful situations could in and of itself be a transference, and one that may be reenacted in the therapy relationship.

I hope things are okay with you, Hunter, and that you remain in therapy. I think being emotionally honest with your therapist about what you've been feeling will help you along the path to healing. I hope that you will keep us updated about your progress.

Edited by IrmaJean
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  • 3 weeks later...

I am still in therapy, my therapist would not let me quit while I still had so much work to do with him in order for me to heal and recovery.

I could not bring myself to tell him so I wrote him a letter and then we talked about it. And we are still talking about it. He said I wont be the first to have the feelings and I wont be the last.

so thank you all for helping me and relaying your personal thoughts

i really thought i was going crazy all over again and losing it.

because of you posters i was able to tell him and i am so glad that i did because i still need therapy

so hugs and kisses to you alll

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Guest ASchwartz

Hi Hunter,

I also want to congratulate you in continuing your therapy with this wonderful therapist you have. I want to point something ou to you:

1. You had a dream in which you are making love with your therapist. In real life, you then feel ashamed and want to leave therapy.

2. Here is my point: There is nothing shameful about having loving feelings towards your therapist.

I know that the dream of sexuality is what troubled you. However, there is nothing bad about love. Remember that. The fact that the love was expressed as sex in the dream is ok. It was a dream and nothing more. But, much more important is that it had to do with loving feelings and loving feelings are good.

Allan :)

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I am still in therapy, my therapist would not let me quit while I still had so much work to do with him in order for me to heal and recovery.

I could not bring myself to tell him so I wrote him a letter and then we talked about it. And we are still talking about it. He said I wont be the first to have the feelings and I wont be the last.

so thank you all for helping me and relaying your personal thoughts

i really thought i was going crazy all over again and losing it.

because of you posters i was able to tell him and i am so glad that i did because i still need therapy

so hugs and kisses to you alll

Hi Hunter-

Along with others who have posted since your last update, I am very happy for you that you were brave enough to share such deep feelings with your therapist. To me, that is the highest intimacy, to share with someone what is going on emotionally in the immediate relationship.

In fact, I am a little jealous that your therapist can handle your revelation and make use of it for your benefit. Mine was so fearful of being affected too much emotionally by a client that he just kind of shut down when I admitted my "transference." However, I was able to resolve things on my own without his help.

The main reason for my post is not the above. It is this: you say your therapist would not let you quit therapy. This is incorrect in my opinion. You are the customer/client here and may choose to start or stop therapy at any time. I know that the therapeutic relationship promotes childlike feelings of dependency and lack of power but know that while your therapist may recommend that you not quit therapy, you chose not to.

This was a good choice and I believe you should give yourself credit for it without saying that your therapist made you, which he did not.

Well done.

Catmom

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my therapist said he would not let me quit therapy was because he knew how such a horrible childhood and past i had and he said that i had much work to do. and he knew that i trusted him and believed in him., that we had such a good therapeutic relationship.. he said when i can to therapy we had a binding contract that he would help me until such time when i was fully functionable, and he said he knows that we have much work to do until we get there.

i am so blessed to have him in my life

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