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Allan Schwartz, Ph.D.Allan Schwartz, Ph.D.
Dr. Schwartz's Weblog

On the Issue of Sexual and Other Feelings Towards the Therapist

Allan N. Schwartz, LCSW, Ph.D. Updated: May 4th 2008

 One of the many issues that comes to the fore on our site, Mental Help Net is the issue of sexual attraction and fantasy towards the therapist. The many posts I have read about this indicates that there is a lot of anxiety and misinformation about the issue. The major problem seems to be that many people believe that sexual attraction and fantasy are irrelevant to the therapy and can interfere with it. In fact, many of the same people believe that it is inappropriate to entertain these sexual feelings and thoughts. Many of the same people believe that the therapist should have no sexual feelings and fantasies toward the patient.

Nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, I would go so far as to say that sexual attraction, as well as other emotions (anger, disappointment, anxiety and fear)are extremely important to the therapeutic process and needs to be brought out into the open where the process of psychotherapy enables the patient to learn, grow as a person and gain improved functioning in their life.

Part of the process of psychotherapy, particularly psychodynamic therapy is based on what is called "transference." This concept has been explored elsewhere in this site and can be searched for on Mental Help Net. Transference refers to the idea that our reactions to people in the present are shaped by past relationships. In other words, the ways in which we were treated in the past, such as by parents, gets repeated in the present because those are the expectations that we have.

One way to think of transference in the context of psychotherapy is that sexual attraction to the therapist might be a repeat of the child's wish to have something that is not permitted. When a parent says "no" to a child it can establish lots of resentment and anger. Skillful parents know how to handle this without turning it into a crisis. Parents with little or no patience with the child might meet the child's disappointment and complaining with a huge angry and punitive reaction. The entire scenario of wanting something that the parent forbids can, possibly, represent for that person, the formula for what they come to expect from life. Some people may grow up unable to accept the word "no." Others may become people who expect nothing from other people. Some people might come to feel resentful as adults because of their perception that the other children in the family always got what they wanted.

Here is a hypothetical example: A patient is sexually attracted to the therapist but believes that their wishes and desires will always be frustrated. This patient is in therapy because of many interpersonal failures and a lack of intimacy in their life. This desire for the therapist and the expectation the desire is wrong leaves the patient feeling depressed and hopeless as has happened throughout their life.

It is not the job of the therapist to gratify the wishes of the patient toward the therapist. Rather, it is the job of the therapist to help the patient understand these wishes and why they feel so frustrating resulting in feeling hopeless and depressed. Therapist and patient work on this transference issue in order that the patient can enter into a fulfilling intimate relationship with a partner from the world outside of psychotherapy.

On the other hand, there are those times when a therapist will feel extremely attracted to the therapist. Does this mean that he/she should tell the patient and then act on those feelings? The answer is a most definite "no." A well trained and skillful psychotherapist recognizes the transferential nature of the patient's desire for a romantic relationship. At the same time, a skillful therapist is trained to recognize the feelings that he/she is experiencing in relation to the patient. When a therapist is experiencing feelings towards the patient it is referred to as "counter transference." Part of what the therapist is trained to recognize and think about is that the patient may be helping (unwittingly) to provoke those feelings in the therapist. As with transference, counter transference feelings can include sex, anger, boredom and a myriad of other emotions.

Rather than using sex as an example, let's examine the fact that a therapist might start to feel bored and sleepy during a session with a patient who is otherwise very lively. A skillful therapist recognizes that something is going on between patient and therapist. The therapist does not report that "I am bored with you," but asks if how the patient is feeling at that moment. More often than not the patient, after some discussion, may reveal the fact that they have been hiding some thoughts and emotions towards the therapist.

An example of just such an occurrence happened one day when a lively and verbal patient spent a large part of the session "boring the tears out of me," so to speak. I finally caught on to the fact that I was neither tired nor angry at this person. So, I asked "what was going on" at that moment" Sure enough the patient confessed that he was angry at me because I had passed him on the street several nights ago without saying "hello" after he had greeted me. I was shocked because I had no recollection of either seeing him or hearing him on the street that particular evening. I honestly reported that to him and confessed that on the particular evening I was walking home from the office lost in thought about someone I had seen earlier in the day.

You see, the patient who was angry because he was convinced I was ignoring him on the street was gay and believed that, based on past experience, that I really had low regard for him and did not want to acknowledge him on the street. Of course, nothing could have been further from the truth. This vignette helped him understand how he constantly felt threatened by all heterosexual men based on his experience with his father who could never accept his sexual orientation. On a deeper level, he even rejected or criticized himself for being gay. Simply, he experienced a lot of self hatred.

The fact is that, in the context of psychodynamic psychotherapy, the transference and counter transference feelings that are evoked are extremely valuable.

Thoughts, feelings, fantasies and ruminations all have meaning in the context of psychodynamic psychotherapy. That is one reason why dreams and dream interpretation are an integral part of that type of psychotherapy.

However, under no circumstances is the therapist ever to act on feelings in therapy. The therapy office is supposed to be a place of complete safety where the patient talks about all of this. The therapist then relates all of the information to the current life circumstances of the patient in order to enable that individual to make better and healthier choices now and in the future.

Your comments and questions are welcome.

Allan Schwartz, LCSW, Ph.D.

Readers who live in the Boulder, Colorado metro area, or in Southwest Florida may contact Dr. Schwartz for face-to-face consultation. He is also available for psychotherapy through Skype video for those who are not in Florida or Colorado. He can be reached via email at dransphd@aol.com for details.

    Reader Comments
    Discuss this issue below or in our forums.

    Sexual attraction towards therapist - T.T. - Jan 27th 2015

    Hello, I'm a male and I've developed an attraction for my female counselor. I'm having doubts whether or not I should tell her because I feel the therapy is going very well. I really don't want to risk losing her as a therapist by telling her but at the same time I feel incredibly drawn to her.  Another further complication is that I've intimacy problems and this feels like an opportunity to act. 

    Very angry after being referred by T. - - Dec 24th 2013

    Told T to f*** off when I received details of where to pick my notes up from.

    Here's the story....... Never want to see another T again !

    Hi,

    Ended with my lesbian therapist in May, after seeing her every week for about 4 months.

    I only started with therapy properly about 1 years ago, whilst in my early 40's. Was not sure about my sexuality, even though I had never been romantically involved with men. Had been in a gay relationship in my 20's, however, I felt so badly treated the last woman I was in a relationship with, that I have been single ever since (that's now 13 years)

    Had to deal with the unexpected death of my mother in April, so I thought that by giving up therapy would be a better idea. Also, the therapist was the first person I spoke to on the day my mum actually died.

    Lesbian therapist was become a little flirty in some of the sessions, prior to my mum's death, and on my termination session I noticed that she look very angry when I mentioned that one of my female friends was going to help me out with my mum's funeral. On to of that, she held onto my hand when I went to shake it, at the end of the termination session. We are both 'not' straight and I had feelings for my therapist, which I know is quite normal and is called transference.

    Went back to have one session with the lesbian therapist in June and felt awkward, since I still had feelings for her. Wrote to my therapist about the feelings and the fact that I felt awkward continuing with the treatment. She wrote back and said that she will refer me to someone else, and I was not to feel that I was being abandoned or rejected. (just lost my mum, that's back enough)

    Forgot about the therapist and moved on with my life and bereavement. I November, I received a spam email from google, that said that my ex therapist had setup a new profile on Google plus. I was shocked at the receiving the email, although I knew that she had not sent it. I started to feel extreme anger for my ex therapist and sent some very angry emails to her about being to flirty in therapy and causing me more pain with the termination. Most therapists try to help their client with difficult feelings, but she just referred me to someone else ! Also, by looking at the Google profile, I discovered that my ex therapist is a long term relationship with a women.

    I felt cheated, since I wondered why she wanted to flirt with me, make intimate eye contact with me, when she was in such a secure relationship with someone else. I have been single for some 13 years, and have trouble finding a relationship, let alone a long term one. I also said in my email that I felt that she viewed me as a sad, pathetic client who could not have a relationship with anyone, therefore I deserved to be treated with disrespect. I also heard her say the words, 'racist' and 'dry drunk' in sessions that I had straight after my mum died. Guess what, her girlfriend is a woman of colour and ex therapist is white.

    I have never had a reply to 'any' of the emails, I know I am using the correct email address. However, I am trying to obtain any notes from my ex therapist, so I can pass them onto a new one, if I need to. I may need to go to a regulatory body in order to get the files.

    I feel totally ignored and discounted by the ex therapist and, the whole thing has meant that I don't really wish to have much one-to-one therapist in the future. Know that I have issues with rejection, being ignored and not being listened to, since I had a difficult childhood. Maybe I could has worked these problems out, but I not not given the opportunity to do this with ex therapist.

    K

    Response to feelings for your therapist - Theresa Vello - Nov 30th 2013

    Hello and thanks for allowing me to respond.  I am currently in therapy and have been since May 2013.  I have finally found a psychologist that fits me, in fact, so much that I have developed feelings for her.  I am a lesbian and am so confused with all of this.  I have told her things that I have never told anyone else in my life... I feel that connected to her.  I don't know how to deal with these feelings.  I feel like it's wrong but I don't want to stop seeing her because she totally gets me.  What can I do??  I'm so looking for answers.

    Erotic Transference - Allan N. Schwartz, PhD - Jul 15th 2013

    Mark, it's important that you set very firm boundaries with you client or, and she should know this, you will not work with her and you will refer her elsewhere. The boundary is that she must restrict communication to the sessions and never outside of those session. The is undermining her therapy by acting out instead of talking about things. Telling you that her "nipples are hard" is sexually provocative and inappropriate.

    An erotic transference is usually harmful to therapy and that is why clients are transferred. She might do better with a female therapist.

    There is another worry that you should have. By acting out the way she is she could be endangering you in terms of future allegations on her part that you were or are seducing you. This is less unusual than you might think.

    Set very firm boundaries with her as the first step in dealing with her. It's better for her to know that you are not weak and can handle her.

    What do you think?

    Dr. Schwartz

    transference - Mark - Jul 12th 2013

    I am a male heterosexual mft intern and have been struggling with

    a client. She is overtly flirty in most sessions, calls me and texts me all the time, wants to hug me at the end of every session and

    has said that i make her nipples hard.  She has called me on a weekend, drunk, saying she had feeling for me.

    I am a happily married man and even if I was single and not a therapist, I would not be attracted by this lady.

    I want to help her and understand that a lot of the events that happend during her childhood probably caused her to over sexualize

    everything in her life.

    I do have the feeling that if I were a female therapist, and she was a male client, this would feel more like sexual harassment.

    I just want a wise opinion on how to approach the topic with the client and start creating a healthy boundary.

    Thank you.

    Kissed - Allan N. Schwartz, PhD - Apr 2nd 2013

    Your therapist crossed a critically important boundary when he kissed you and he could actually lose his license and worse for having done that. My very strong recommendation is that you immediately stop seeing him and find a new therapist.

    Dr. Schwartz

    Kissed ... now what? - Jane - Mar 31st 2013

    I've been working with my therapist for over three years, twice a week for the past year.   I'm in the middle of a divorce.  He's been invaluable to me.   Last week in an emotionally charged session he came over to me and kissed me - I kissed him back.   We kissed for  a while.  We met later on that evening where he told me that was not okay and he wasn't going to abandon me, but we had crossed a line and couldn't do that again.   The next session he assured me we could continue working together and the next day, he told me he didn't beleive we could or should work together and that I'd need to find another therapist.   He's willing to work to help me find someone, to make sure the transition is smooth and to support me until I have other support lined up.   But it doesn't feel good: being kissed, pushed aside, and then given the offer of his help.   I don't want him to help me, I don't want to rely on him.   But I had made myself dependent on him, and now, at a critical time, I'm without support.   Is it wrong (or less healthy) for me to continue working with this therapist or will I be better served by abruptly ending our relationship and find someone else to work with now?

    Transference - Betty Kaplan - Mar 30th 2011

    I have significant experience with this emotion as I have been in therapy most of my life.

    Recently, I started with a man, previously I was in therapy for 30 years with the same woman.  I am heterosexual female.

    I fell in love with my male therapist and I told him.  Thank G-d he is very skilled.  I find I do not get what I want, and I get very angry.  Like a small child, I act out and threaten him to quit.  I know I am important to him.  It's possible he feels some sexual feelings toward me.  I appreciate that he doesn't tell me and keeps boundaries.  Sometimes he looks at me, and I feel it has some sexuality in it.  It makes me feel beautiful.

    My husband is sexually inhibited due to molestation by his mother when he was a child.  We are married, a good marriage, for 19 years, but very little sex.

    Each of us is left to rely on individual fantasies to feel sexual at all.  It hurts, but it is the way it is.

    I fantasize about the therapist a lot, but recently I broke down in front of him because I never had a father, he left when I was born; my fantasies about the therapist were to cover up that huge loss.

    I find that I still fantasize, but it is more manageable.  I was never anyone's daughter.  My mother unavailable, my father left.  So sex has come to symbolize belonging to someone. Hence all the fantasy about the therapist.

    In the end, I realize I was never somebody's daughter, so now I feel loved by the therapist.  I am his patient.  I belong to him as a patient.  Sometimes that is enough, even with the frustration that it will never be what my fantasy demands.

    It is good to relegate it to the realm of fantasy and explore what is possible between me and my husband.  I am growing every day and bless the struggle, betty

    INTERESTING - OLIVIA - Sep 25th 2010

    PARAGRAPH TWO YOU SAY...THERE ARE TIMES WHEN A 'THERAPIST' WILL FEEL EXTREMELY ATTRACTED TO THE 'THEREAPIST'....FREUDIAN SLIP FOR SURE.  I, AS A PATIENT WAS LOOKING FOR INFORMATION ON COUNTERTRANSFERENCE ISSUES.  I SUPPOSE I FOUND IT.  YOU ARE SADLY AN EGOCENTRIC BUNCH.

    Why a sudden change? Intereference Issue. - Rick - Aug 31st 2010

    Ive been seen by a pt once a week for several months, now all the sudden she said she has to switch me to another pt and told me I like to research and to look up transference issue? I did and kinda got the concept that i may be kinda stuck in past events and being comparitive with people that have done me wrong in the past and takingit out on others because of a look or expression or something similar that triggers the subconscious negative events from past to the present, thats my interpetation of what I read. Did I understand what I read? And if so why would I be transfered to another pt because of that? It dont make sense to me. I trust my pt and dont want to talk to anyone else, is there a logical explaination?

     

     

    Therapists flirt with patient too - A Shame - Feb 27th 2010

    My therapist flirts with me now and only had 4 sessions with her and Im also a woman.It's not just the patient feeling toward the therapist.My therapist is getting weirder and weirsder with questions she ask me.She stare at me 5 mins in each session and start to ask or comment on some weird shit.I don't know what to do if she try to touch me.

    Transferences towards a therapist - JustMe - Feb 18th 2010

    although a majority of the comments that I read were posted over the years, it was helpful.  thanks to you all.  I am currently in therapy and have erotic transference feelings for my therapist.  I have not talked openly about this with her yet, but I am building up the nerve to get it out in the open.

    just  a sidebar... I know nothing will never come of this, and I know these feelings are symbolic for something I have yet to understand... but until then, they are powerfully expressed, and they give me erotic pleasure...

    I kind of like it...  Does that make me weird?

    -JustMe

     

    Countertransference - Liz - Jan 29th 2010

    Hi Dr Schwartz

    I am a 40 year old female in therapy with a 40 year old male. The issues that I have had to deal with are amongst others a history of CSA. I have feelings of attraction for my therapist and have hinted as much. Of late his face has been going very red and he looks uncomforable. When I asked him about his discomfort he replied that he often thought about these feelings, had metabolized them. He insisted that it was his stuff and that to be declarative of his feelings would affect the safety between us. He said that I had to trust him to manage himself and the space and that I had to trust him "not to act out his feelings".

    I suspect that he also has physical feelings for me and am not too sure how I feel about this despite being attracted to him. Is it possible that I am projecting these feelings ie because I have physical feelings, I am reading this into his behaviour and explanations? I always thought one projected what was unconscious but I am definitely aware of my feelings.

    Thanking you in advance.

    Liz

     

    obsessing about therapist - cowboi - Feb 28th 2009

    Hello,

    About 6 months ago, I started seeing an existential/humanist therapist. I had no idea that such a focus existed until then.....I simply went to an agency that offered sliding-scale therapy and they paired me up with this woman. I have been to therapists in the past---at least 4---and they were helpful, but nothing terribly notable ever occured. I am a lesbian and all but one of my therapists have been straight women.

    When I first entered into therapy with this new T, I thought she was attractive, but she is straight and married, and I didn't think much of it. Then after about 2-3 months into the therapy, I suddenly found myself having a huge crush on her, and I simply had to tell her. She responded with, "I'm not freaked out about it", "this has happened before", "it's only a problem if it becomes a distraction", etc. After about 2 other sessions, she began to reveal her own feelings towards me----that it felt "intoxicating" to her, that I was "gorgeous", that she wasn't sure if she could keep the boundaries. When I said, "I thought this had happened to you before", she said, "not like this". We are the same age, share a common friend, have similar interests, and, she said, "emotional makeup". Of course, in any other situation, we would likely progress to another step. Because of her consummate professionalism, nothing but intense feelings between us, and our acknowledgement of them ever occured. I wanted more, but she got "outside help" to deal with it. I have complete respect for her, but it was painful.

    Since that time, she has gotten stronger boundaries after dealing with her feelings in supervision----which seems unfair. I'm left to deal with my feelings with her, while also working with her. I do not know what to do. I decided to take a break because I have been obsessively thinking about her and I feel like I'm going mad. I'm also angry at these new boundaries she has put up......I told her that we both created the "800 pound gorilla in the room" but she gets to go home and use that energy towards her husband, and I'm the one left to wrestle with it in her office. It sucks. After this month and a half long break, I'm supposed to decide whether or not I want to process this crap with her, terminate completely, or see another counselor that she will recommend. I have no idea, even now, what the best idea is........no epiphanies. I will say this: I feel a lot calmer being away from her, but I feel very sad thinking that I will never see her again. Part of me wants to say screw it all, come back to see her in 2 years, and start a friendship.

    Here's the other thing: my last relationship was with a married, "straight" woman who left her husband for me. So intellectually I know that my T and I will never get together, but it is not my experience---I have dated mostly straight/bi women. My emotional side hangs on to the possibility because it's happened before for me. And the fact that she acknowledged her feelings for me also keeps me hanging......I want to continue to try to seduce her.

    I told her she is too expensive to have as a surrogate lover---for many reasons---and she agreed. But I yearn to talk with her, share myself. I've shared more with her than anyone else simply because I've made her my "lover" in my mind. But in the telling, I feel closer, and only feel more love for her. I know I'm not "in love" with her (whatever that means) but I do have love for her. It's a terrible Catch-22. I try to see what she symbolizes for me, and I do believe there is some of that, but I also know there is a reality working in the room as well........and I cling to it. Intuition and projection are two different things.

    Before this time, I had never heard of transference (I apparently missed the HBO special), and certainly never countertransference. I'm sooooo confused about reality at this point. How does one know what is real if all relationships have this happening (in theory---though I don't know how much I trust dead white guys). If love is never actually love, what is the point?

    I do not suffer from any mental illnesses, depression, or the like.......I'm simply fascinated by the inner-workings of my mind and am always trying to "better" myself. Therapy is completely voluntary at this point----should I volunteer for an absolutely heartbreaking, unrequited, non-reciprocal, finite relationship? Why?!!

    Thanks in advance for your thoughtful reply. I truly appreciate any and all insight.

    glad for this website - Niezapominajka - Feb 8th 2009

    Hi Dr. Schwartz

     Thank you so much for such a quick response.

    I do feel more comfortable with "my transference", now it has been few days:) since my discovery, so it's not as new and scary. I have also read up many articles online and talked to my friends so I am a bit calmer now.  I am also trying to pay more attention to it, and just feel it as it is. 

    In some way it's very pleasurable and exciting. I'm looking forward to my new journey, and I am getting ready to receive new and let go of old:)

    I just wanted to respond to your comment; you do not have to post it.

    Thank you once again.

    I'm truly glad for this website.

     

    Transference - Allan N Schwartz - Feb 6th 2009

    Hi Niezapominajka,

    The answer is yes, transference can occur after three sessions and even after one session. Transference happens to everyone, all the time, in and out of therapy. It is a good thing and nothing to fear. It is important that you discuss your feelings but, give yourself time and only say about it what you feel comfortable saying.

    Good Luck on your adventure into psychotherapy.

    Dr. Schwartz

    Transference just after three sessions ? - Niezapominajka - Feb 6th 2009

    I'm very new to therapy. I was trying to resolve many issues on my own, and by using other tools like meditation, joining different meditation schools and so on.

    I found my therapist through my friend, and I trust her opinion. I only saw him three times, and we are just getting used to each other, or I am for sure.  Is it possible to develop transference just after three visits? Or this means that I really need help? :) My feelings are very strong and driven with lots of sexual power. 

    I cannot wait to talk to him about it. I cannot wait for his reaction. My gut is telling me that he is going to handle it just right, but my desire wants otherwise.

    I would appreciate any comments, because like I said all this is so new to me. 

    The Therapist - Allan N Schwartz - Nov 4th 2008

    Sara, I am posting your question and with my answer under "Ask Dr. Schwartz." However, let me just say that, if any therapist kisses, touches, makes advancements of any kind, toward the patient or client, that patient or client should immediately leave that therapist and find another.

    Dr. Schwartz

    so what do I do now in light of this article? - Sara Steel - Nov 4th 2008

    Does that mean that I should switch therapists, then? Because the one I've been seeing has hit on me! Though I do find him attractive (very much so, truth be told). I always seemed to manage to put that aside as I have a couple of issues that I feel really need work....plus, I'm a married woman (part of what I've been seeing him for, as...well, let's just say there's 'trouble in paradise'...I have some unmet needs, etc.). I don't know how it happened, but he kissed me.....and I kissed back! And though it shames me to admit it, it was HOT! I guess he was attracted to me too? Because, even though I was completely open and honest w/him, I did NOT flirt (if I ever flirt with you, trust me, YOU'LL KNOW *lol*) I don't know how to go back without the fear of things being awkward now...And I am afraid of how he feels. Does he regret it? I can't believe I'm saying this, but part of me doesn't want him to.... Maybe I should change therapists, as I can see now this is now become WAY too complicated than it oughtta be...Thanks for letting me vent!

    Further question - Carol - Aug 12th 2008

    Maybe this is an unanswerable question, but how would a therapist help me resolve the transference?   Saying that he/she would help me "explore" my feelings is a bit vague for me.  It would help to read about an example of successfully resolved transference.

    Maybe Allan or Seanno could comment?

    By the way, this point is fairly moot since the pain that drove me to post so much on the grief of termination has pretty much abated.

    Feelings towards the therapist - Allan N. Schwartz, PhD - Aug 12th 2008

    Peter and others,

    The fantasies you describe having about your sister are problematic and I would suggest, for that reason, that you see a therapist.

    For others: Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, as well as other types of therapy and All types of relationships, arouse Transference feelings. Any good therapist, regardless of the type of therapy they use, should be aware of this and able to handle it and help their patient resolve it. Reading that a therapist refuses to deal with transference feelings indicates that something is wrong.

    Dr. Schwartz

    peter... and carol... - seanno - Aug 12th 2008

    peter, you might have better luck with responses if you post your question in the Community section ( http://community.mentalhelp.net/ ), since it is off-topic here and it probably will not be addressed by those who might have some insight in this area.

     

    carol, psychodynamic psychotherapy is really about examining the transference you have experienced.  undoubtedly if you were to go to a therapist who was willing to explore this, you would find a transference developing with the new therapist as well.  instead of just focusing on specific problems or issues (which you seem to be saying your CBT has really helped with), psychodynamics or psychanalysis helps you learn WHY you think and feel the way you do, instead of just treating obstacles as 'problems', you learn about how your mind and emotions work--it's really valuable knowledge to have and something that can positively affect your life in untold ways, even if it seems like the major 'issues' have been worked out through CBT.

    The reason  I suggested a new therapist is because you seemed genuinely troubled (or moved, or concerned) about the transference you developed toward your CBT therapist, which indicates (according to psychodynamic theory), there may be some deeper issues that affect your feelings and decision-making.  I don't mean to scare you by suggesting this, as the fact is we each have our own unique set of 'deeper issues' that affect the mind and emotions.  Psychodynamic psychotherapy can be a great way to identify those issues and just learn more about "why am I the way I am"--if that sort of inquiry interests you.

    have i got a problem - peter - Aug 11th 2008

    hi there im wantng to know if i have a problem as i fantisise about sleeping with my half sister /? i cant help it i have e dreams about it all the time and  when im around her i feel all horny and stuff she is fgrom same dad but diffrent mam? is this wrong i even have snatched her warn knickers and sniffed them quite a few times? so please can someone tel me is this is wrong to feel this towards her? as i feel like she is the one for me and when i masterebate i think of her and if i dont think of her my climax isnt like it is when i do think of her why do i think this way about her ? i mean im a normal lad have a girlfriend who i love and a baby girl but i allways think about my half sister please someone  giz some advise thanks

    I did see your comment - Carol - Aug 11th 2008

    Yes, my therapist is insisting on terminating therapy and it is my job to "get over it."  He has been a good CBT therapist but this is his weak point, I believe.  I am left wondering what I would go to another therapist about, really. At this point, the grief is lessening and I am detaching.  What would be the point of going to another therapist about this?  (By the way, I get that this is a father-longing thing going on between me and this man.  I loved my own father dearly and he has been dead since 1991.   Many of the interactions between me and the therapist were very like those between me and my dad)

    Thank you for your input.

    Carol, I hope you see this... - seanno - Aug 11th 2008

    I hope you see this, Carol, even though it has been several months since you posted.  Hopefully you've discovered this information on your own.

     Transference can (and often does) happen in many different types of therapies, not just psychoanalysis or psychodynamic psychotherapy.

     As long as you bring up the transference issue with your therapist and describe your feelings, it is the therapist's responsibility to follow-up on this line of inquiry.  If the therapist does not do so, he or she is not fulfilling their duty to you.  "Not being strong in psychodynamic therapy" is a poor excuse for not exploring this issue with a patient.

    CBT therapists and MFT therapists and CSW counselors and LPCs all have a responsibility to understand and explore a patient's feelings of transference, even if they are not psychiatrists or psychoanalysts.  To do any less or claim, "that is not in my field" is, in my strong opinion, a grave injustice and a breach of duty to the patient.

     In short, your therapist needs to do a better job in this area, and that is not your fault.  If your therapist continues to blow you off or insists on terminating the therapy even after you bring this up again, I encourage you to seek a new therapist to deal with this issue specifically.

    An observation - Carol - May 20th 2008

    I have posted elsewhere about my own transference issues for my CBT therapist. I did tell him in the most intellectual (and hopefully nondemanding) way that I had a "transference" for him. I brought it up because he had recently said that I was approaching termination in my therapy for pathological gambling. It appears that my feelings of not wanting to leave, of attachment, fear, grief etc are to some extent irrelevant to my therapist. I say this because he does not appear to be interested in exploring these feelings in any detail.

    I think this is because he does CBT and psychodynamics are not his area of strength. Therefore, I just need to go through the pain of the grief pretty much on my own.

    My point is that what Allen wrote about transference being useful for a therapist to explore may not apply to a strictly CBT approach. (Or should I say it won't be useful to try to explore with this therapist?)

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