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Originally posted by Attachment Girl:
I appreciate you asking this because talking about all this is making me feel better about going today, because I am feeling really terrified although I know its going to be alright. I'll let you know how it goes and thanks so much for your input, I really appreciate it.

Good. I am sorry if I trailed off too much on that. I certainly respect that you know where you are therapeutically. I tend to get analytical and I hope that it doesn’t become a nuisance to anyone. I don’t intend to try to “teach” anyone.

But its also allowed me to finally process some experiences and emotions that have been stored away (and stuffed down with food) for a long time.

I so get that. That is what I have done with alcohol. In fact I was going to post an “aha moment” on this site that I had this morning. Instead of “internalizing” my emotions by dowsing them with alcohol, I am now experiencing them by “externalizing” them. What I used to feel as alcohol craving (and give into) was really a longing for unconditional love that I did not know how to get. Now through imagery and a secure attachment base I am getting it. (Insert light bulb here) Big Grin
Good. I am sorry if I trailed off too much on that. I certainly respect that you know where you are therapeutically. I tend to get analytical and I hope that it doesn’t become a nuisance to anyone. I don’t intend to try to “teach” anyone.

Hi JM,
Please don't ever worry about that. I really appreciate the input and even being questioned. I know I have blind spots which is why it is so valuable having contact with other people who understand what it is like to deal with this stuff. Your sharing your experiences either reassures me about my understandings or helps to provide insight into what I'm dealing with. Both are welcome!

The session with my T (suprise!) was really good and I'm feeling much better. I was so activated and triggered that it was actually difficult to think, I had "lost" myself. My T was compassionate and understanding. He stayed very calm while I fell apart and stayed with me asking questions about how I felt until I was able to describe it. Then we were able to look at it together and see how and why I was so triggered. Put the whole thing into perspective. By the end of the session, the swirling chaos had abated and I was able to think clearly again. Once again demonstrating the importance of a secure attachment.

Part of what got so scary was the (very irrational) belief that this was the time my T would look at me and say, that's it, that's one time too many you've freaked over nothing, you're out of here. I KNOW its not true, but it still feels so terrifying. Then I go and spend the session with him and experience that he's not going anywhere, that he's not feeling impatient with me, and helps me understand myself and its such an amazing feeling. In many ways, my T feels like the home I've looked for my whole life.

Once I calmed down, I did realize a few good things. I did consistently reach out for contact when I was triggered; I called my T, I called my sister, I posted here, I emailed a friend I knew would understand. And I didn't eat!! A minor miracle! My T pointed out that those behaviors would not always have been the case. Helped me to see that getting triggered didn't make all my progress disappear.

Thanks for understanding and posting, it really helped me get through this knowing I wasn't alone.

Hi AG!

Originally posted by Attachment Girl:
Once I calmed down, I did realize a few good things. I did consistently reach out for contact when I was triggered; I called my T, I called my sister, I posted here, I emailed a friend I knew would understand. And I didn't eat!! A minor miracle! My T pointed out that those behaviors would not always have been the case. Helped me to see that getting triggered didn't make all my progress disappear.

Good for you! This is wonderful progress. I am very happy for you. And once again I can't help but to share how much that sounds just like me (over and over and over). Especially the part where you say "Part of what got so scary was the (very irrational) belief that this was the time my T would look at me and say, that's it, that's one time too many you've freaked over nothing, you're out of here. I KNOW its not true, but it still feels so terrifying. Then I go and spend the session with him and experience that he's not going anywhere, that he's not feeling impatient with me, and helps me understand myself and its such an amazing feeling. In many ways, my T feels like the home I've looked for my whole life."

I do the exact same thing. (Were we seperated at birth?) Big Grin This must be so common for clients. It is such a comfort to know that others experience those irrational moments of panic and despair. But every time we get through it, it solidifies our secure base even more. These T’s are truly wonderful people who deserve so much more recognition than what they get. Sometimes I catch myself thinking, “My own parents couldn’t even provide this for me, yet this person who was once a complete stranger agreed to embark on this most amazing and tempestuous journey with me knowing the inherent difficulties ahead of time.” I stand in awe.
Hi Attachment Girl and River. I am new to this site and let me tell you it is a relief to read some of the things you have written on your experiences.

My therapist/body worker has told me that she feels to move our relationship into a friendship. As I understood her objective and intuition, she thinks that I can only remain a child if I continue sessions with her and she is giving me the opportunity to choose to grow up and be in an adult relationship (friendship) with her. Since she has done this, transference feelings, along with a desperate need to be with her, have arisen. I too recognise it as attachment stuff from early years and not getting my needs met. It feels like it is ripening and deepening the possibility of healing this issue within me. She reckons she is up for it, whatever comes, however, I am not so sure. My radar is saying I cant trust her. How can I trust her when we are not in therapeutic relationship?

She works outside of "psychological frameworks" and it has been great for the last few years. I dont reckon anyone else could have reached me - I was highly sceptical of such frameworks. However, at this particular point, without the frameworks,I am in chaos to communicate the immense confusion - the intense pull towards the Beauty and the Danger. It feels like some of her stuff is in there and she aint so clear on it.

OMG. How do I bring this issue up within a friendship framework? I think this is impossible and lethal. She has a friend and fellow practitioner who has followed a similar path as my T and is now studying the pyschological frameworks, who offered for me to come for a session to sort out my confusion. It is kind of tempting, however, I am wary of adding a triangle to transference issues. This other person is also her friend. Are you amazed that I haven't gone mad yet?! so am I.

I would love to hear some group wisdom and perspective at this point, as many of my friends have not experienced this. I too am thinking of further study in psychotherapy and so this live lesson will not be wasted on me. At least I learn by experience if I dont go mad in the meanwhile!
I think that was a very unwise move of your therapist as friendship and therapy CAN'T mix! There is a boundary issue that SHE has to deal with and by even suggesting this she has crossed that boundary. We are studying Art Therapy and taking a course in Ethics. There is a term 'dual relationship' that we've talked about in that course. Basically, your therapist is your therapist and NOT a friend. This sets off all kinds of bells in my head.
Hi Em and welcome!

It sounds like the change in the boundaries of the relationship with your T has put you on unsteady ground. If you have read through the previous posts on this topic you'll notice how many times we have praised and complained about our T's strong boundaries that provide the safety we need to allow us to be completely vulnerable with them. I know how much I have wished to be friends with my T, she is such a neat person. But I also know that in a friendship I am naturally more careful about what I say or do in the interest of keeping the friendship going. Plus a friendship for me is best when I am on equal ground with someone, she helps me and I help her, a lot of give and take. A therapeutic relationship is structured differently, my T gives me a listening, nonjudgmental ear, support, encouragement, insight, advice, strength, reassurance, etc, and I give her my commitment to the process and payment. I can be completely and brutally honest if I need to without worrying if she will still like me and will still be my friend. This arrangement has created the only safe place in my life that I can be completely who I am exactly as I am in that time and place. Since my life was been molded by my fear of rejection and not being loved if I wasn't perfect, the freedom to simply just be myself has been a stronghold during a violent storm.

I have experienced transference with friends and my T and both have been hard. The major difference for me is that I could admit my feelings for my T because I felt secure that she wouldn't think I was weird or creepy. I could never image trying to confess these feelings to a friend because of the burden it would place on them to either fulfill my longings or walk away and since no one can fully satisfy my longings to be cared for and loved as I should have by my parents, anyone trying would ultimately fail and eventually walk away.

Em, this has been my experience and my not relate directly to yours. For me, I resented my T's boundaries concerning her not sharing much of her personal life and not ever being able to be my friend for the longest time. But when I started understanding what transference was and how it could help heal me I became much more grateful for the boundaries. I like how AG has put it in her earlier "epiphany" post:[/URL]

I am afraid that the only helpful suggestion I can think of would be to maybe consult a therapist completely unconnected with everyone involved for an objective point of view. I do applaud you on your ability to see the potential trickiness of the situation of creating a triangle between you, your T and her friend. I think your instinct and the growth you have accomplished so far have served you well.
HI Em! Welcome to the boards! I don't have much to add to what Scott and River have already replied, both responses were really good and I think more than covered anything I would have said. I just want to emphasize and reinforce River's comment about your instincts being really good A lot of people wouldn't have thought through a lot of these issues or recognized the possibility of a triangle forming. Whichever way you decide to handle this, I would first and foremost trust yourself. And don't feel like you have to have cognitive logical reasons to do what you want to do. Sometimes we operate on a non-cognitive level and add up clues we don't even realize we took in. I know our "gut" isn't always right, but I think its good to pay attention to.

Just Me,
Thanks again for all your encouraging words, and I am starting to feel like we might have been separated at birth. Big Grin I'm starting to understand why you felt like I stole your name. Smiler And I really agree with what you said about our T's providing something even our own parents didn't. It blows me out of the water sometimes to realize the commitment my T has made to me. Especially because I know that he was cognizant of what he was getting into, that he takes his responsibility to me really seriously, which is why I can trust him so much. I don't think I've ever said thank you so many times to one human being before. Big Grin
Hello Em, welcome to the forum and thanks for your post. I know you've received some excellent advice from other members so I don't think I could add much more in that regard. However, I'm somewhat alarmed that a therapist would entertain the idea of forming a friendship outside a therapeutic relationship. So, it'd helped me to understand better if I knew more.

I was curious about a few things you said. When your therapist moved into "friendship" mode, what did she mean by this and what did it entail? For instance, how did your interactions change? Did she take on a friend role and started disclosing to you? Were you meeting outside the session? I'm also curious what you meant by "psychological frameworks". I'm also curious to know what profession your therapist is from and if she's registered? You mentioned she was also a bodyworker and I know there are few bodyworkers who are also therapists.

Hi Attachment Girl and Just Me, thanks for the reasurring comments about my double booking...I have the similar attitude about my therapist, especially when I see her going off getting so worked up about something.

Love that "had a few screws tightened". I'll have to see about getting the little gang to use it.

Hi all,

I really appreciate your feedback and advice and concern. The best thing for me was that this forum was here to read about/research what was happening inside of me. I am feeling somewhat clearer in myself. this is a core issue and will take time and careful stepping, reflecting and trusting of myself.

In response to Shrinklady's email. My T asked me for assistance with something she wanted to learn about and opened the idea of us having a friendship. It is like we have reached a point where we have an opportunity to walk a journey together as practitioners and learn from having a relationship. We are still walking the ground between friendship and therapeutic relationship. She has used appropriate disclosure during our sessions that was useful to my self-understanding. There are obvious power differences in play in this transition and all the fears that go along with that. My fears are about "can I trust"? The real question is in truth only about me. Can I trust myself to take care of myself and keep myself safe? I am beginning to trust myself to keep myself safe and to know how to place myself with someone who cares for me and has that degree of power (ie a parent). Perhaps it wont work out, however, perhaps it will. I stand to lose a lot, yes, however I also risk gaining a lot from a friend and equally from myself in relationship. Perhaps she is not the one to be doing this depth work with or perhaps this is the in depth work being worked through in relationship. Other signs in my life tell me that it may be time to move on and have other therapeutic experiences anyway. Time will tell.

There are different ways to engage in thinking about the world - left brain and right brain are useful ways to describe what I am trying to say. I think that the frameworks that we are using to discuss this here in this forum, are left brain. I suppose I am with my T in right brain territory using feminist/client lead/ community development/structural and spiritual/intuitive frameworks for trying to take this journey of relatedness. I find it helpful to use left brain language to find the words for what I am experiencing. However, the other part of me is really up for the experience and the learning that is possible.

My upbringing had me subjected to analysis and things being done to me, not with me. My folks were the experts at everything, including me, they thought. I always believed that if I opened up to counsellors etc that it would be the same power differential. Plus, as my T noted, I was so fully defended and guarded mentally that there would have been no way in. I would have argued the point and the process with the best of experts and never allowed myself to become vulnerable to their analysis. It was through the bodywork that the wisdom of self was allowed to show itself and I gained confidence in the therapeutic process and my ability to be my own expert and witness.

I have been dwelling on a conversation that I will have with my T about the process of changing our relationship. Perhaps she is not the person to work through this attachment/transference with. I am sure she will have some things to say that I can use to reflect with. I am sure the things that I bring to our relationship, as a person, will also challenge her to grow as well. This conversation will happen outside of session on neutral ground and will require me to be quite clear about my boundaries and quite clear about the truth of my feelings. It is will also be about being aware of sharing the space with her and not monopolising our relationship with my issues. We have agreed to have this conversation this week. Perhaps there are more murky waters ahead. Perhaps there is sun through the clouds ahead.

I intend to articulate my feelings of what has been defined as transference. Although the transference issue may sit between us for a time. It may be something that we can both sit with until it changes - I will find out in our conversation. Or it may have to wait until I am involved with another therapist to assist me to be with it.

It is all part of this wonderful journey called Life.

Thank you my friends. I will keep you posted on how it goes.
Hi Em,

I know that you have already received a lot of excellent input from other members and I intended to hold back because I felt there was nothing more that I could add. But After considering this over night I would like to share some insight on a particular relationship that started out as client/therapist that I am very familiar with:

This is a true life story still playing out:

One of my dear friends is a therapist. She is a very caring individual and was monumental to me when I suffered a breakdown 3-4 years ago. She was well aware of the importance of being my friend and not clouding it with trying to become my therapist too. She even stated that it would be detrimental to do that. Sensing that I had some deep seeded issues she is the one who referred me to my T.

In the meantime, however, she has developed a very close friendship w/ a previous client whom she stopped seeing professionally so that they could pursue a friendship. My friend has admitted serious error in judgment, but remains caught in a whirlwind of emotions that I believe are fueled by transference/counter transference. This relationship is so intense and out of balance that others who observe and do not understand the dynamics have made disapproving remarks about the two of them, even wondering if they are lesbians. It is really a very odd and unhealthy relationship.

For clarity I will refer to the client as Mary and the Therapist as June.

Mary follows June around like a shadow jumping at every move that June makes. If June yawns she is ready to run and get the car so she can take June home to rest. She will stand over her repeating, “Are you tired? Do you want me to take you home? Can I get anything for you?” A bewildered June finally replies, “I was just yawning.”

June on the other hand, takes on the role as if Mary (a 40 something year old woman) is her own child. Feeling the need to tell the rest of her friends that Mary feels left out and needs to be included more.(among other things) June has basically shut the rest of her friends out and only spends time with Mary now.

Mary is married w/ two children and Mary and June spend several hours a day together on a regular basis when Mary should be home spending time with her family and raising her kids. Once I stopped by to visit June and Mary was there. As usual it was impossible to have a conversation with June because Mary was moving up and down from the couch and changing the subject like a five year old. Being aware of this June even told her to calm down. (Apparently I make her nervous because she thinks that I believe that she took my friend away from me) In that visit, Mary nonchalantly mentioned that she thinks her husband wants to divorce her and the kids will probably choose to live with him, so she already figured out that she would be moving in with June.

Recently Mary lost her mother to cancer and spent the last few months helping to take care of her. June was extremely jealous over this especially knowing that Mary’s mother had been neglectful and abusive to Mary and therefore did not deserve Mary’s attention and love at the end of her bitter life.

Cause for alarm? I think so. There is so much more I could relate but I can hardly include every detail, so if there is anything you want clarified please ask me and I will try to elaborate. I am sorry that my reply is so lengthy already. Maybe this is a “worst case scenario,” but it is absolutely true nonetheless.

I would like to comment that I have desired my T becoming my friend. We would likely not carry on the way that Mary and June do. I would love to go running together and meet for coffee. I would love to have her mobile number so that I can call her directly, and have her call me because she just wants to and not because she is returning my call. I have allowed my thoughts to drift there and imagine her offering a friendship to me. It is so dizzying and sometimes I see myself whole heartedly accepting it. Other times I see myself telling her “No. You should know better than that.” Then I sigh with relief because I do not have to worry about that because my T would never cross or mix those boundaries and put me in that position.

By design we have so much to lose as clients. I have the very best of her that she has to offer me. To form anything else would be less. To gain personal access would mean losing all that we’ve achieved thus far. Instead my T encourages me to experience what true friendship has to offer with my friends. With her “in session” help, I have been able to make changes in my belief system and enjoy my friendships more than ever before. The beauty of this relationship is that she cries with me, she smiles and laughs with me and shares my joys and progress. I wouldn’t risk that for anything. Friendships are transient, therapist are supposed to reflect stability.

Welcome to our community and please take care!
Hi AG!

Maybe I should change my screen name to Attachment Twin. Wink

I am really missing my T. I am already counting down the days to Wednesday morning. I had a really hard time with the alcohol cravings last night and wanted to talk to her. Since I couldn’t I just imagined her warm, encouraging presence and what she would say to me. I managed successfully not to give in to alcohol. Instead I totally caved for the simultaneous sugar craving and bought gummy bears. So long as I don’t make a habit out of that I figure I did ok. Today’s a new day that I hope I will find less intense.
JM (Attachment Twin Smiler )
Nice to know you're not the only one, isn't it? I totally get the missing the T. I saw my T on friday (which he rescheduled when I missed seeing him on Wednesday). He scheduled my next appt for this afternoon (which when he was scheduling it, I thought he meant a week from today, I get in my car, look at the card, notice the date and think "Wow, just how bad was I today!" But I have to tell you, three days between appts is just fine! Big Grin I'm still looking really forward to seeing him. Actually, I've really made up my mind to talk to him about hugging today (if I don't lose my nerve!).

I'm REALLY glad to hear that you didn't drink! I know how hard it can get, and I definitely think that reaching for gummy bears (yummm, gummy bears, oops, sorry, I'm back) was the better choice. I know I'm joking around alot but I really do understand just how hard it is not to go there. I'm glad that your "virtual" T helped get you through.

I know you probably don't feel this way, but it is really clear that you are a very strong, intelligent woman and you can do this. Just continue to get what you need to deal with your feelings and the alcohol will continue to loosen its hold.

Or you could start eating and I could start drinking... Big Grin

Thanks Just Me, for your true life tale of one of the possibilities in this situation. I appreciate your time in responding to my post and the concern you have shown me - a complete stranger.

I have not ever desired a friendship or relationship with my T until she suggested we end the therapeutic relationship. I have found that there is always deep learning that comes from going towards the "Yes" and towards the "No" depending on what is present at the time. In the end it is all about me and working my issues anyway - either inside or outside the therapeutic relationship. And she will bring herself to this relationship to learn from and about herself. I intend to keep remembering that I am my own best friend and I am there for me. If I can be that for me, then my world will reflect me in my relationships. I subscribe to the belief that as I make internal changes then my world reflects those changes to me. As within, so with out.
Originally posted by Attachment Girl:
I know you probably don't feel this way, but it is really clear that you are a very strong, intelligent woman and you can do this. Just continue to get what you need to deal with your feelings and the alcohol will continue to loosen its hold.

Awe! You say the nicest things. Want a gummy bear? I will share with you. (te he)

Or you could start eating and I could start drinking... Big Grin

You’re welcome Em!

It sounds like you are trying to keep a level head in this decision. I can imagine how hard that would actually be. I know the temptation would be great for me. I think that your analogy of being a “best friend to yourself” is exactly what you should be. With your knowledge and gut feelings, what would you tell your best friend to do in this situation?

The termination phase of therapy can bring out many emotions that had been barely braised in therapy. Mine swung right into grief and extreme attachment issues, and termination is no longer in sight at this time. It is eventual, but not imminent.

I wish you well and I am glad that you found this forum and hope you find it has helpful as the rest of us do. Smiler
Originally posted by Attachment Girl:
Hi Sprinting Gal,
Welcome to the forums! I've never had transference occur with a medical doctor but from the way you describe him, you were getting emotional support very similiar to what you get from a therapist. He sounds like a wonderful doctor, so I can see you developing feelings for him.
I also understand your feelings of both sexual attraction and wanting him for a father. My feelings for my T tend to go back and forth. Although for me, when the sexual attraction gets stronger, its a pretty good sign for me that I'm trying to avoid something and I need to slow down and look at it. As I am working through the transference (SO much easier said than done!) my feelings for my T are becoming more a deep affection and appreciation for how much I can trust him and how much he's helped me. Any good therapist can help you work through a transference, but for what it's worth (and I want to be very cautious applying MY experience to YOUR life because it may not be true for you) working with a man has led to really amazing progress for me. I worked on and off with a woman therapist for over 15 years and we did a lot of really good work together. She was a excellent therapist and we were very close. But when she retired I ended up going to my present T. Because I had so many issues around the need for an attachment figure and an inability to trust men, I think working with a man has made a big difference. I think continuing to work with a woman would have allowed me to avoid going some places. So if you feel like your current T isn't as helpful as you would like in working through the transference, you may want to look for someone more experienced in working with it. One thing about transference, in the hands of a skilled and ethical therapist, its an incredibly powerful tool for healing, but if its handled badly it can be very damaging.


PS Sorry, I am given to novel like posts! Smiler

Thanks for the reply, Attachment Girl. He has gone above and beyond in ways I never dreamt as he had always been cold in the past. It's a complex situation in that in the course of treatment administered by another doctor that he referred me to, I experienced a terrifying medical error that has resulted in my developing PTSD. He told me (in so many words) that he too has PTSD and this is when my feelings for him really intensified and clearly, his did for me as well.

I have talked to my T about it and her assessment of the situation is that he has read me wrong and knows very little about transference. She says he is not "safe." He has never tried to do anything sexual or out of context with me, but he was clearly flustered the last time I saw him and I was met with a number of courting gestures. We speak every two months when I have blood tests but the calls are always short and to the point. My heart pounds when he calls me and I can never say much more than "yes" "okay" and "thank you" but I look forward to his calls so much! He says my name with such exuburence.

I asked my T how to resolve the transference and she told me that being aware of it is the key. That does not seem like enough for me. I asked if I should hire a male therapist in order to resolve it and she strongly cautioned me against it, saying that most would not know how to handle the transference in a non-damaging way. The thing is, I don't want any male therapist to resolve it, I want my MD to help me resolve it! I've been trying to "use" him as a tool to do it without actually involving him but currently I'm leaning towards spilling my guts and telling him while also invoking transference. There is a fear of losing him, of being banished by him because he finds me inappropriate, but the truth is, I want to leave the medical group anyway because of the trauma. He is the sole reason I have not left. But he makes me feel very, very safe and the idea of a stranger following my cancer (I am in remission and considered a low-risk case) makes me incredibly nervous!

My sexual feelings for my MD are not as intense as they once were and often I just wish he were present in my life all of the time due to it feeling like he understands what I have gone through and his obvious care for me. His kindness has been foreign and overwhelming to me. I said that his understanding of me has felt like "a personal ecstasy" because I have never had a man understand me in this way and fall right into that hole in my psyche like he has.

I have the same issues with not trusting men and needing an attachment figure. I was not physically abused by my actual dad, but there was emotional/verbal abuse and he was very emotionally detached. My family, in general is emotionally neutered and I find it very difficult to express my emotions.

The doctor that traumatized me was also a man, btw, making my original MD look all the more appealing.
Minus any sexual attraction, for me transference feels exactly like falling in love. It has all of the tittlelations of a new romantic relationship when you don't want the person to leave you for a minute. The longing to be with this person is so intense you think about them all the time, wonder what they are doing, hope they have thought of you, you try to think of things to do for them. I have had a string of transference reactions throughout my life but until recently I had no idea what was really going on. I've been drawn to mentor/mother figures in my life that usually are no more than 10 years older than me, are in a place of some authority (boss, teacher, etc.) and have shown some interest in sharing their wisdom with me. Right now, besides my T, I have at least 2 other people that evoke these feelings in me. It is exhausting fighting it all of the time. I've had to start avoiding these other 2 women as the only way I have found to lessen the intense emotions I have about them. I have no idea how one would work though transference with someone other than a T. It makes you so vulnerable that a lot of damage could be done.

Acknowledging the transference has helped a little bit. A least I know what is going on and don't feel weird for feeling this way anymore. But it still feels so real and intense. Like I said, the only way I have gotten any relief is distance. Lucky for me I haven't experienced transference with a man. With things the way they are right now in my marriage I most certainly would have an affair, well at least an emotional affair.

It is painful and frustrating and draining and I don't blame you for wanting more ways of dealing with it than just acknowledging it. Hopefully if you keep asking your T this question maybe she will come up with some more answers. Maybe you could bring someone with you to your appts to keep your doc in check. Just a 3rd party's presence would kill any illusion of intimacy/privacy. It is much harder to go astray when there are witnesses. You wouldn't even have to explain the transference stuff, just tell them you need emotional support. (Which is true.)

I do feel for you SpriningGal. I hope you find some peace about this soon.
Hi Diane,

Yes, I do have a hard time leaving when session is over. I’ve told my T that is the hardest part for the next 24-48 hours (as River and others also posted in “24 Hours to go”).
And it is true that by the time you get the wheels turning in your discussion its time to stop. I had 2 hour sessions for about 6 months until I was able to work through some tougher issues I was dealing with at the time. While it was a bit if a financial burden it did help a lot.

Hi Diane,
I once asked my T if I could live under his desk. But we both agreed it might disturb his other clients. Big Grin

It's always a little tough to leave but I went through a period where it wsa wrenching whenever I left his office. I can remember shaking his hand at the end of a session (we always shake hands at the end) and I teared up and told him that I really didn't want to leave. He very gently told me that this was one of the hard boundaries but to remember that even though I was leaving that didn't mean he still wasn't there. It can sometimes help to remember that the connection doesn't cease when we're not with them.

Hey Guys,
I am new to the therapy world, but I have been hit my the "Transference Bug" right off the bat! I couldn't stand my therapist the first 2 or 3 times I seen him and thought he was the person in the room that needed help. I made fun of him to my friends...then I really started looking at his concerned face and feeling his presence in the room...and bam!!!..It hit me like a rock...This man is HOT!!!...I managed to get to see him every week until the end of the year, and I get so nervous, I love being there and feel secure, but I can't tell him how I feel I am afraid he would tell me to go somewhere else...and I would die!!...Please help me...can a Therapist turn you away for transference...I have been reading your blogs for several weeks now trying to get my nerve up to post...I love my husband dearly, (but we are having some mid life crisis) and I do not want to pursue a romantic relationship with my T..but I crave a hug or embrace... would that help me to go on my way...or send me reeling into another world??Help me out here guys...I'm drowning in my thoughts..C.
Hi Charlotte,
Welcome to the forum. I know that drowning feeling! But you’re ok. Smiler

No, a therapist is not going to turn you away because of transference. So let me try to alleviate that fear for you front and center, because that is exactly what I was afraid of when I finally confessed my feelings to my T. I was afraid that she would find me disgusting and my feelings intolerable. (We are both hetero-sexual females, so as you can imagine this threw me for a loop because of the homo-erotic transference.) But when I did tell her, and believe me it took most of the session to even get it out and I did a lot of squirming and shifting the whole time, she was very sympathetic, warm, and she reassured me that this was a normal phenomenon and that she is ok with it and absolutely would not terminate our sessions or send me away. I was sooo relieved! I am sure that your T will tell you much of the same and that transference is a good thing because it allows us to mend the past through a present relationship. Every thing you are feeling in the transference with your T is manifesting from past experiences from your primary attachment figures (parents) and needs to be worked through. It provides a looking glass so to speak and through the gentle guidance of your T you will be able to discover a new sense of self and uproot many old beliefs and patterns that inhibit your life and relationships to this day. Many of us have been and are in the same boat and Shrinklady has posted a great page on transference, you probably already read that but just in case you missed it here’s a link:

As you describe how you came to notice the “concerned look on his face and feeling his presence in the room,” you are describing a sense of someone who is completely there for you in that moment that strikes a limbic chord that reaches far back into your developmental years. This is a beginning of myriads of connections that a good therapist can make. This is a very intimate relationship where he is hearing you like no one else ever has, or could for that matter. This is all a good thing Charlotte. When you tell your T, and I urge you to tell him, watch his facial expressions, listen to his reply. I am sure you will find gentleness and understanding there that you deserve. I hope this helps alleviate some of your desperation. You are not alone Charlotte, as you can tell by the transference thread being the most active thread on the site. And as far as your emotions, you are exactly where you need to be and are on the threshold of many emotional, yet exciting changes in your life. It will be a roller coaster sometimes, but if you don’t allow yourself to go there you won’t get better.

And Charlotte, what is going on between you and your husband may have more to do with unresolved childhood issues on (likely both) your parts which manifest themselves in relationships throughout our lives, and quite frankly more intensely in our mid life if they hadn’t yet been dealt with properly. Another clear indication that there are things that need to be resolved personally. And as for a hug from T, I encourage you to ask him what his policy is on hugs. But be prepared that if he says no it may FEEL like a million tons of rejection, but that would be something you need to talk about and work though for its meaning is far deeper than the present feelings of rejection. If he allows a hug and where that hug could plunge you emotionally is hard to tell, but again that is what you would talk to him about and he will guide you through it, hopefully in an utmost professional manner worthy of your trust.

Again it was good to hear from you. I hope you stay in contact and ride it out with us. I wish I had this forum 2 years ago when I was struggling with it so hard.

I am going to make 2 reading recommendations for you right off the bat:

1) In Session- by Deborah Lott. This book is a wonderful tool for understanding transference and how it affects clients. It helped me to feel “normal.”
2) A General Theory of Love-Thomas Lewis, MD. This book is great in helping to understand the neurobiological connections that are happening to you and why they need to happen. There is also a “book club” type thread on this forum too.

I hope this helps.

Well done Charlotte for finding the courage to ask on this forum.

To update you all, I went for a long walk with T and we discussed many things including transference. It hasn't been as strong compared with the time I first wrote. I entered the conversation as a friend with an idea of the things I needed to clarify and explore with her. The flow of conversation felt full of grace - relaxed and easy and mutually shared. I feel like have gained a very dear friend where there is deep levels of trust and respect between us. I feel blessed. I feel as if I have grown. I was able to say "I love you" to her without restraint or fear or being overwhelmed by the power of my own love. And she received it with joy.

We are making the transition to friends/colleagues and it feels good for me. The transference is my issue and we are both aware it will be there from time to time. I attend a therapeutic group facilitated by her and another (the third party) and I am finding the thought of attending that much easier. The trigger occurred at the last one and I am sure it will be present again - this time I can ask for that third party to hold the space for me, while T triggers me. In my opinion, there is nothing like some raw feelings to take me deeper into my being and the Beauty.

Thank you all for your support through the thick of it. I am looking forward to knowing myself in all the new ways that are now possible.

"All roads are made smooth as I gracefully surrender to the magnetic pull within my heart."
Thank you so much JM,
I was desperately waiting on someone to reassure me of the feelings that I am haveing and that they are not just the fantasy of a psycho woman! I have been going over and over in my mind what to say to my T next week, but don't know if I can get it out when I see him face to face...He melts my heart with those sweet but firm eyes!!..I will try to break the ice a little first I guess..I'm still not sure he won't kick me to the curb..thanks for caring enough to give me your views...I really apreciate all you have a way with words...keep up the support...and I am glad to be a part of this thread...I plan to read those books as soon as I can get out to find them...Charlotte
Thanks Em,
It sounds like you have been down a road most traveled. I hope I can get the courage to do the same...I love my husband and want so much to feel his love again...and be able to return it in "TRUE MEANING" but until I get thru this process...I can only think of my "man of the hour". Keep me in your thoughts this week, I will let you know what happens....If it happens...Charlotte
Hi Charlotte!

It’s good to know that we’re not psycho even though we feel like we are sometimes. Wink I understand the whole preparation and anxiety and even going over and over what you will say to your T and how you will bring this agonizing subject up. Perhaps when you see him next you can simply open with “Can we talk a little about transference, because I think that’s what’s going on with me?” While he might be inclined to start asking you questions about what exactly you are feeling (which if you can answer them fine) if not tell him, “This is really hard for me can you tell me your knowledge and experience of it to help break the ice?”

I don’t know if this is how you are feeling, I tend to make things more complicated sometimes, but I know the fear that no matter how many times you hear that it is ok and that transference is completely normal and acceptable, you still stand back and wonder “Then how come it doesn’t FEEL normal? Are you sure I’m not a nut case?” Setting a completely honest and open dialogue with your T is the best thing you can do for yourself. It opens up the hollows of things long thought lost and helps them to know how to help you. If there is a physical attraction to him, allow him to know that (not in a flirtatious way-Although I know the temptation may be great)Big Grin but so that he knows what you are going through and what you are experiencing. He won’t kick you out to the curb, but he will know that you are now primed for the real process and work of therapy to begin and any detail you reveal helps him to apply his knowledge and experience in how to best help you.

Meanwhile I am glad that your desperation has eased up to some degree. It’s an occasional facet of therapy that we all love to hate.

FYI: Last I knew both of the books are available on

Keep us posted and enjoy your journey!

Thanks JM,
I read your response over and over, but not sure it will come out that way. The other issue I have alot of doctors involved with some health issues going on. They are all different kinds of neurologists,My T is a psych-neurologist and I am afraid that it will get back to them and maybe to my husband, who is "old school" and would never get over it or forgive me. I am so scared of losing my husband, he has always been my rock and my security until he hit 52, it all hit the fan...(mid life crisis mabye?)he is so impatient and takes everything personal!..He is so different than he used to be. Always exercising, taking vitamins, admiring himself in the mirror. I truley love him but my T is in the back of my mind all the time! What do you think? I'm in a delimma again! Charlotte
Hi Charlotte,

I am so sorry that you still feel such a dilemma, but it takes time to work through the shock of this big thing that just came down and seemingly hit you out of nowhere. And the more you educate yourself and realize that you can trust your T and that he will not violate his professional boundaries the more at ease you will become.

I don’t know if this is true in your area, but around here we have HIPPA law that prevents a health care provider from sharing ANY information with anyone else even other healthcare providers unless you sign a specific release. And even if you are dealing w/ his colleagues they cannot and should not share information w/o your consent. Anyway, I seriously doubt that your T would share the transference information w/ the other docs since this is not anything they’d even need to know. But I certainly understand your fears and I would even discuss this with your T.

My husband was not all for me entering therapy in the beginning. He had a bad attitude that therapists mess with people’s heads and his ex-mother-in-law is a psychologist and a total wack job herself. But he has watched the transformation in me over the last 2 years and thinks my T is doing a great job and he respects her immensely. Even though he does not understand the whole transference thing he does not feel threatened by it. On the other hand he did say he might feel a lot different if my T were a male. But frankly, keeping your hubby in the dark is going to raise more suspicions of their own. I believe that honest open dialogue w/ our spouses is of utmost importance so you don’t go around acting and feeling that you have something to hide: Though I understand maybe not sharing the sexual attraction with him at first, especially if there are some insecurities going on with him right now. I would start with a more simple explanation as to how it relates directly to your parents and filling the void they left in you so that you can heal. I even printed out Shrinklady’s page on it for my husband to read. When I asked my T how I should go about educating my husband she told me that “you can’t explain transference if you don’t understand it yourself.” Once you get a handle on it, then try to educate your husband in a manner that he will (hopefully) understand. In my opinion, if someone is looking for reason to be suspicious they will find anything whether legitimately or not.

You say your husband would never forgive you. Forgive you for what? Transference is not infidelity. It does not lead to infidelity-not if you have a good T. It has a lot less to do with our sexual desire than you feel right now, and that will calm down as you begin to work through the true nature behind the transference. Meanwhile, as much as you admire your T, focus on your husband. Don’t focus on ways that you feel your T may seem superior to your husband, instead focus on your husband’s positive qualities and what you love about him, he is bound to pick up on those signals. Wink

You said that you see a lot of doctors, especially neurologists, so I wonder if exercising and working out with your husband is an interest that you can share or if you are limited in that capacity? If not, find something that the two of you can share together and join him in his quest in taking better care of yourselves. (Not to say that you already don’t- It is hard to get a grasp on a situation I know nothing about.) All this being said, I hope I have not stepped on your toes. I'm at a bit of a disadvantage to truly advise you when I don’t really know you or your circumstances. So please understand that my advice is free and you can take it or leave it, but it is meant with good intentions. Smiler

Feel free to tell me that I totally missed it if I did. Big Grin

JM, How can you step on my toes when I am the one seeking for all the advice I can get. I am way stronger than you think in that respect. I can take out of what you say and understand what I need for my personal use and forget the with that said, I thank you for some really good ideas. I wasn't thinking about HIPPA and I will ask him about that. I sure hope the sexual attraction does subside soon. It has me so flustered sometimes especially when I am trying to focus on my marriage. My husband has it going on in the sex department and always why am I thinking of my T during this time...the more I try to focus...the worse it seems to get...I guess that's why I feel like I'm cheating on him...I suppose that is a part of the tranference??...anyway...I have tried the exercise and the doing things together... it seems to be working some..but not I just started dressing a little more dressy and my hair done a different way..(It looks much better)...lost a few pounds and wear makeup most of the time now...I guess I had gotten pretty slack after 30 years...this seems to be attracting him more than anything else...but my question now I doing it for my hubby...or because of the new feelings for my T?? The medical issues are not yet resolved. I will let you know after all the testing is complete, but thanks for caring. I really need all the prayers I can get right now.. you are a very kind person have taken in my problems and offered to help me out as much as possible. I really thank you for that. I have always tried to help those less fortunate than myself. I am glad there are others that do that too. you have such a great way of explaning things. I feel like I have known you for a long time. Don't worry about my toes...They have been stepped on, stomped and crushed over the years...and I lived thru it every time!! to you soon, Charlotte
Originally posted by Charlotte:
JM, How can you step on my toes when I am the one seeking for all the advice I can get. I am way stronger than you think in that respect. I can take out of what you say and understand what I need for my personal use and forget the rest....

Hi-I’m JM, I worry too much. Red Face :embarassed:

Anyway, it is a relief off my mind to know that you are ok w/ whatever I say, and I promise that I will only say something if it comes from my heart. It is not that you are any less fortunate than I am; it’s that I am just as fortunate to have found this website and many people to relate too. We all have very similar experiences with our therapy and I am sure that many others will tell you the same thing. There is a good sense of community here on this forum where we take turns helping each other; each having so much to give with their own valuable insight and experience. We all experience our ups and downs, our love and hates, our fantasies and disillusionments about therapy and our therapists. This certainly is a grounding station for me. Smiler
...but my question now I doing it for my hubby...or because of the new feelings for my T??

I can relate to this too, Charlotte. I started therapy 2 ½ yrs ago fringing on obesity. I had made up my mind that this is not where I wanted my life to go anymore and had begun eating healthier smaller portions w/ minimal results. But when I entered therapy I also started exercising, I believe in part because my T takes such good care of herself that she became a role model for me (I am sounding like a broken record with this line, but it fits). The pounds began to shed away and I liked the way I was looking: More like the me from four years past and more like the young woman my husband married, who was enjoying this too. Wink But something else was manifesting during this time and that was the sexual attraction to my T and part of me wanted her to notice me too. Big Grin I was able to go out and buy new clothes, I styled my hair differently and I received a lot of comments from everyone not just on my looks, but on the new inner person that was being revealed. Therapy was changing me from the inside out and for the better and I took advantage of its momentum and made even healthier choices, often with my T in mind. (I started running again and would always imagine her running beside me) But what became the most important factor is that “I liked” what I was seeing and feeling about myself and it was being done for "my benefit". The bottom line is that we can’t hinge our changes on someone else (husband or T) because then it won’t last. However, we CAN use those results as a catalyst but then we need to make sure that this is ultimately for our own benefit as I’m sure you already know.

BTW: We are having an interesting discussion on the” General Theory of Love” thread. River brought up this very thought, on how we do become molded by our T’s. Even if you have not read the book yet I think there are some juicy tid-bits being shared that you might enjoy. Hopefully there will be more comments on it, but our T’s DO become this new lens that we use to compare our old thoughts and beliefs to more positive new ones of their design. So there is a great influence.

Allowing our relationship w/ our T to be what it needs to be and walking the line of obsession and “fantasy cheating” can be a tough one. I’ve been there, ok. And I am sorry that I can’t promise that this will be a short-lived feeling, but it will require a lot of work on your part to try to neutralize it the best that you can and this will require (and yes, I’m going to say it again) honest, open, frank discussions w/ your T. There is no other way around it. Oh and if I am in anyway making this sound easy, don’t even think about it being easy. It is not easy to sit face to face with your T and divulge your inner most thoughts and fears about him. But it does GET a LITTLE easier each time.

It is really nice to get to know you Charlotte. And I really hope that you can experience a real healing from your therapeutic relationship and that your husband will see the benefits for you and that it will benefit him too. Let us know how your session goes this week.

Talk to you soon!
Hi Charlotte, and welcome to the forums! Sorry to have not chimed in earlier but I was out of town for a long weekend visiting colleges with my oldest child who's a senior this year.

Just Me has covered a lot of good stuff but if I could just throw a few more thoughts at you.

I want to reinforce that what you're feeling is pretty normal and not at all uncommon for people in therapy. I know the feelings between your husband and therapist can get really confusing. My therapist was actually my husband's therapist first, then we were both seeing him for marital counseling. I had been seeing a woman for a number of years and was still working with her individually, when she retired. It was a bit of a shock to realize that I was developing an attraction to the man working to save my marriage. Talk about feeling stupid! At first, I didn't think too much of it because it wasn't all that strong and he's an incredibly gentle man who made me feel listened to for the first time in a long time. Who wouldn't fall for a man who actually sat and listened AND understood you? But it kept growing and I did some research on transference and I'm grateful, I ran across a website whose author was a psychaistrist and strongly recommended telling your therapist about your feelings. So I made an appointment alone with my T and told him how I felt. One of the scariest things I've ever done. He was really awesome about it. He completely understood and was very accepting of my feelings. I was also terrified he would send me away but that didn't even come close to happening. As a matter of fact, it really led directly to me working with him on an individual basis.

I've needed the secure relationship with my T to help me work through the issues in my relationship with my husband. Our marriage has improved considerably and continues to do so. And although the attraction started out as a very strong erotic/romantic one, it has slowly changed into more of a paternal feel. I want him more as a father than as a romantic interest now. Although those feelings do surface occasionally.

The amazing thing about this happening in the relationship with your T is that usually what plays out in that relationship is what you do in most of your relationships. Some of my biggest breakthroughs have come from realizing that I have been acting out a long term pattern in my relationship with my T. But because a T is non-defensive and understands a lot of the issues and has clear boundaries, its a chance to talk about how you feel and what you want without fear of being judged or being sent away. Its a chance for you to understand why you do what you do and why you want what you want. In the hands of a good therapist, its an incredible opportunity for growth.

All that said, I know it's terrifying to think about telling him. And embarrassing. I swing between feeling like a clingy three year old and a 13 year old with her first crush. It can be a very out of control feeling. But you're not alone. There are a lot of people here who will understand. One way that I have found to handle it when you have to talk about something so uncomfortable is to talk about how you feel about telling your T BEFORE you tell him. Something along the lines of "I need to talk to you about something, but I'm scared if I tell you I will be sent away. I'm also feeling embarrassed about what I want to say, but I feel like its important to say it." One, it breaks the ice and commits you to saying it and secondly, your T can then offer reassurance which will make it easier to come out with it.

And I'll also back up what Just Me said about privacy. Your therapist cannot discuss your case or what happens in your sessions without your express permission even with other medical professionals. Anything you tell him is covered under client-therapist priviledge. So I don't think you need to worry on that account.

Let us know how you're doing and feel free to talk about all your feelings. If you've been reading the posts you'll know that we all run the gamut from triumphs to being in some very dark places. You don't have to do this alone. I'm looking forward to getting to know you.

That is such an awesome accomplishment. I am in awe! I have only been controlling my eating so far, I still need to add in the exercise. But it's really encouraging to know you lost so much. I've gone down at least a size but I have a lot further to go. But I'm happy as long as the numbers are going in the right direction.

Actually I think the best part is that instead of feeling like I'm being controlled by the food, the food now serves as a good indicator of how I'm doing. When the urge to eat gets really persistant when I'm not hungry, it's like someone screaming at me, "don't you think you should pay attention to how you're feeling?"
I think, in my case, food was a symptom, not the problem. Now that I'm finally dealing directly with my emotions, I don't need the food the way I used to. And honey, I would kill to be a 14/16 as right now I'm like a 28/30. Mainly, I want make sure I'm here to see my grandkids and have the ability to chase them around. Smiler (My kids are 15 and 17).

Don't worry too much about telling your T tomorrow. You will or you won't and either way it will be ok. You really can trust yourself for the timing. But I think you'll be able to do it. And definitely let us know what happens. And one thing I can definitely tell you is that its an incredible relief once its in the open. Not that is doesn't get painful again at times, but at least you don't have to hide it anymore. And as far as the obsessiveness, we've all been there, but recognize it for what it is, an indication of how important this relationship is. In some ways, my relationship with my T is something I've been looking for my whole life (that's the secure attachment that I've always needed and is such an important part of why I'm healing) AND the fantasy I've been chasing to try and avoid the pain of what I went through as a child (the part I need to mourn). But I wouldn't have realized either if I hadn't been able to talk to my T so openly about ALL my feelings about him with boundaries firmly in place to keep me safe. I hope it goes really well for you.

Originally posted by Charlotte:

Hi Charlotte,

Yea, I wish it were that easy, but it isn’t. In the words of my T, “We are not looking to get rid of this.” I am anxious to hear how it went with your session today. I think I was a little numb for a few days after I brought it up the first time, but that eventually faded the more we talked about it.

And let me add along with AG that you have made some extraordinary accomplishments in your weight loss. 4 lbs from your goal last Christmas is nothing to balk at, you did great! And don’t get discouraged about where you are at right now. (easy for me to say, cause I do the same thing) You’re still a lot better off than where you started. But I know it can be so discouraging. I am impressed with you swimming 30 laps- Wow! I am going to take swimming lessons this winter at our local rec center as a new challenge for myself, because once you hit a plateau with your weight it means you have to change something in order to burn the fat and calories you were burning before. It makes sense because we have less weight and therefore less resistance to burn the fat. But the good thing is muscle burns fat and swimming tones different muscles. (Cross my fingers) It is during these plateaus that we often turn around and start putting weight back on too. So I am learning to always challenge myself. (Ok, I try anyway)

Talk to you later!

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