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I was at a lost until I found this article / website. I am overwhelmed by my sexual feelings for my therapist. I'm also very upset because my therapist has shut me out. I expected him to help me through these feelings but he won't take my phone calls and he won't see me. I am so focused on him, I don't know how to stop these feelings. If anyone can offer me advice, please do.

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Hi emotional. I'm not a trained therapist who knows the rules regarding such things, and I also don't know the whole story of what is going on with you and your therapist, so I am not in the best position to comment on this. I'm kind of hoping someone else with more knowledge will comment on this, but just in case, I'll say what I can, which is this... From what I understand, relationships with therapists is like a big no no. If he were to actually respond to your advances or interest or whatever, his career could be jeopardized. It's also probably not best for you, either, therapeutic-wise. I'm not sure of all the ethics of it, and I'm not sure if you already understand this or not, but just to make it clear, I'm pretty sure it's supposed to be just generally regarded as an off-limits kind of thing.

Now that that's cleared, I will say that I sympathize with you. I don't know whether your therapist handled the situation in the best way or not, but in any case I'm truly sorry that it happened. And trust, me, I sympathize because I've kind of been there too. I had strong feelings for one of my therapists a while back. I never told him this, never acted on it, but maybe at least he sensed something. I've always been attracted to older men, and I think my being in a position of trusting and confiding in an older man was a bad idea for someone like me. So, anyway, if it makes you feel any better, I don't think it's that unheard of for patients to have such strong feelings for their therapists. It's just not a good idea to act on them. I'd rather not go into the rest of my story with that, nothing much happened, but when our therapeutic relationship had to end (for other reasons) I felt very hurt. Actually, in my opinion and from my experience, it's probably best that you are cut off from this therapist, as harsh as it may seem and even if it wasn't done it quite the gentlest way. I think it will spare you the most pain in the long run. If I were you, I would see a different therapist, perhaps a female therapist, with whom you can discuss this experience without the inherent complications.

Best wishes,

watercolor

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Hello, emotional, and welcome to the forum. I'm sorry that you've been struggling with this. ;) Did your therapist say that he could no longer see you? If you revealed your feelings to him and he felt unable to handle them, he should have referred you to another therapist. He shouldn't have cut you off without giving you a reference. I have also had very loving feelings for my therapist, but we discussed this openly in therapy and this ended up being very healing for me. It's very natural to develop caring kinds of feelings when your needs are being met by someone who offers you kindness, acceptance and support. There is much to learn about yourself in exploring the feelings. There is a wealth of information about you in this...your needs, desires, drives motivations...These feelings are likely representative of unmet needs and say a lot about you. When the therapist is willing to work with you, while professionally and ethically holding the boundaries firmly in place, it can be a learning experience. You can then apply what you have learned about yourself to outside of the room relationships. If your therapist is not willing to discuss this with you, I would strongly recommend finding another who is. I'm sorry this has happened. Please continue to express yourself here as your comfort level allows. Take care.

Edited by IrmaJean
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Thank you so much for offering me your advice. I can't help but to feel like I made a mistake in telling my therapist about my feelings. Without going into extreme detail, I wrote him a letter detailing my feelings for him, he read it during our session and I think it freaked him out. He was visibly uncomfortable. His initial repsonse was to give me a booklet on why therapy should not include sex. I wish I had the opportunity to talk it over with him, I don't think shutting me out was the best way to handle this subject considering all that he knows about me. Maybe it is for the best that he has cut me off. I am emotionally attached to him and now I just feel so rejected and hurt. I've made plans to see someone else but I'm afraid to see another therapist because I'm afraid the same thing will happen. Should I give it time before I address this issue with another therapist?

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EMOTIONAL

the way I see it - if you cant talk about your feelings in therapy (no matter what they are!!!), then the therapy's a bust anyway!! You should have been safe to deal with and discuss those feelings open and frankly. For your therapist not to be able to handle it speaks of amateurism and inexperience. transference is as common as anythin and - well hell even doctors are trained to deal with that to some extent!

You have nothin to be ashamed of - regard yourself as lucky to be outta there and DONT feel ashamed to discuss it with your next therapist.

****

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Like another said, therapists come in both sexual denominations, and perhaps variations inbetween ;)

It is understandable for one to be momintarily confused.

Being an emotional mechanic, is a unique and unusual profession.

(seems more like gardening, less mechanical)(plants do their own 'growing,')

I hope it is clear to you, he was not experienced enough to know any better how to deal with his own fears. In effect, he ran away.

If you want to delay exploring consulting with another, that's neither good or bad, it is only delaying getting on with resolving sorting out the thinking behind your emotional experiencing though.

Do you feel like sharing/talking about whatever it is you want to consult with an 'emotional gardener' about here? :)

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Just a word of caution...I would not assume that switching the gender of your therapist will ensure that you don't have a strong emotional response to the therapist. It might, but it might not too. The idea would be learning about what the responses say about you. A qualified therapist can help you to understand this. Best of luck to you.

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I agree that it would be healthy to learn about what these strong emotional responses are about, but I just think it might be hard to do that with someone you are having strong emotional responses or more specifically sexual feelings for. It just muddies everything. You're right, you can have a strong emotional response to a woman, but it may at least diminish your chances of sexualizing the patient-therapist relationship. The following comment is not really or necessarily addressed to IrmaJean or anyone in particular, but I just want to say I personally don't believe discussing everything you feel with whomever you feel like is always the best option. Sometimes things are better left unsaid. Sometimes it's best just to simply stop talking and maybe search for a healthier outlet or a better listener. To apply it to emotional's case, maybe (this is my opinion) discussing at great length sexual or otherwise intense feelings for a therapist may not be the best thing for either the patient or the therapist. I think it may be best for the patient to simply get out of the situation and find another therapist with whom they think they are less likely to have sexual feelings. If the feelings are specifically sexual rather than just vaguely "strong" I doubt she would have these feelings towards just anyone.

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I'm not saying it's not ever possible for any one to discuss these feelings with one's therapist and gain from that, but I'm just trying to be practical. Emotion has already been cut off from her therapist so the possibility of discussing this with him is really a moot point. At this point, I'm mostly just saying it might be better to find a therapist with whom she would be less likely become sexually attracted, I'm guessing a woman--and discuss it with her. It seems like a bad idea to knowingly put oneself in this kind of a situation again. True, it's good to learn from one's experiences, but sometimes we learn that it's just to stay away from them altogether. That's not necessarily missing out--it may just be being smart. As for your healing that took place with the therapist you had feelings for, maybe that healing may have also been able to take place with a therapist with whom you did not have those feelings. Like you said, therapy is a personal journey.

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I think it's okay that we don't agree about everything. Hopefully we've given Emotional some different viewpoints and perspectives to consider. Emotional, let's get back to you and your experience. How are you feeling today?

Edited by IrmaJean
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thank you all so much for the great advice. even though i'm still very much hurt by the situation, but i don't feel so alone and some of the guilt has lifted off of me. i can't express how much that means to me. thank you :)

i want to continue therapy. i was with a MFT, should i seek help from somone with a different speicality or does it matter? if so, which area of speciality is best for someone with my issue?

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I'm glad you are feeling a bit better about this, Emotional. :)

I don't have an answer for what may be the best kind of therapist to see. I think that finding one who is supportive and caring would be a great place to start. I wish you well, Emotional, and hope that you continue to heal.

I'm going to go ahead and move your thread to the Psychotherapy section. Take care.

Edited by IrmaJean
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thank you all so much for the great advice. even though i'm still very much hurt by the situation, but i don't feel so alone and some of the guilt has lifted off of me. i can't express how much that means to me. thank you :)

i want to continue therapy. i was with a MFT, should i seek help from somone with a different speicality or does it matter? if so, which area of speciality is best for someone with my issue?

Thanks, like i mentioned, I'm not sure you shared what was/is going on that is confusing for you. hugs:)

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  • 3 weeks later...

Emotional,

I agree with the others, your therapist definitely mishandled the situation. I had a similar issue with my therapist (erotic transference, not mishandling). He is a Psychoanalyst and therefore is particularly well trained in transference issues. In fact, Psychoanalysis actively uses transference as part of the therapy as it is relationship issues that tend to get worked on. Therefore, the therapist can use the therapeutic relationship between him and yourself as another means of understanding your issues. I disclosed a fair bit to him, to the point where I thought he would "fire" me. He did not, he encouraged me to talk about it. He certainly learned a lot about just how strong my inner critic is when issues of guilt, embarrassment, jealousy, envy and judgement came up in regards to these disclosed feelings. Had I kept them to myself, these things would have remained conveniently buried for quite a bit longer. Having said that, I knew without a shadow of a doubt that neither of us would act on these feelings. And I told him that too, so neither one of had a reason to flee.

Eventually the transference feelings died down and they are just a memory now. I suspect we are particularly susceptible to these transference feelings early on in therapy due to massive rejection and abandonment issues in our childhood and later experiences with others. Anybody who accepts us without judgement is immediately idealized in our minds because their response to us is just so completely without precedent. So, you will want to make sure the next therapist is OK with you expressing these kinds of feelings.

I wish you the best with this.

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