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Shrinklady,
Just read the updated "Transference" page. The additions you've made provide even more clarity on the subject. I really appreciate it as I know so many people, including me Smiler, struggle with it. I am really amazed at how well you explain difficult concepts and make them so accessible. Thanks!!

AG
Original Post
I too, appreciated the update on transference....however, I am still stuck with trying to process the fairly recent "experience" with my therapist...the one wherein she gave my prescheduled apt to someone else following an exchange of words (so to speak)....interesting how "reading or hearing beneath the words" simply did not happen...after years of therapy, where was the attunement that you speak of? Where was it on that particular day.....my heart is still so broken...even though she shared with me the "why" it happened....it doesn't take the pain away.....and I feel even more insecure that ever before....While I think writing or speaking about the wonders of therapy (healing) is so so easy, delivering seems to be a separate matter altogether....

A broken-hearted Sarah
Sarah,
I'm sorry I know this must be painful to deal with. The thing that is so helpful about transference is also what makes it so difficult. For me, transference has been the way that many of my struggles with intimacy, expectations, trust, anger, etc. that I experience throughout my life have all surfaced in the relationship with my therapist. The MAJOR difference has been that he has remained a steady, calm, accepting presence throughout. BUT, he doesn't always get it. We've talked about rupture and repair. I spent a lot of my time and energy trying to NEVER get hurt in a relationship. As my T put it, getting hurt in a relationship is inevitable since both people involved are human, so the real trick is to learn to heal from the hurt and repair the disruption. There was a real rupture in the relationship with your T and I think she messed up and didn't handle the problem real well. But, and this is the really hard part because I know for me the terror can get so bad it feels like the air is screaming, is to, against all instincts, continue to reach out and stay in the relationship despite the pain. This teaches us its possible and can be done. My T has a great analogy about playing rugby. Most healthy people could go play rugby for three hours, get the tar beat out of them, go home, take a hot bath, and with the exception of a few aches, feel fine the next day. People who have experienced healthy attachment and been taught to regulate themselves handle emotional pain in the same way. Yes, it hurts, but they quickly come back from it. People, like me, with a real lack of secure attachment and lacing an ability to regulate myself are like a hemophiliac playing rugby. One play could be fatal. We get hurt and have no resiliency to come back from it. We still have to learn how to do it. Its phenomially hard work, and can be painful and really scary, but its worth it in the end. Because its how you heal. Hope that helps somehow. Have you seen your T again yet? Do you have plans to?

AG
Hi AG:

Wow...thanks for all of the words of wisdom....!!!!!You have just an amazing way of explaining things!!!! Yes, I have seen my therapist.....one small part of me, no matter how hard I try to understand her rationale for abandoning me when I needed her most, is so devastated by this experience, I continue to crumple to the ground (I know this sounds so dramatic, but it is the God's honest truth). How do I ever trust her, or any other human being ever again? Insecurity/lack of trust have been my biggest issues...indeed, she (my therapist) played out things just as I had always imagined. I have always mattered less to everyone I know, even her...not that I wanted to matter more....I just wanted to matter as much...this probably isn't making sense....In fact, I am having a real hard time putting things into words....another of my issues....Thanks again AG for your words of wisdom....

From broken-hearted headquarters,
Sarah
Sarah,
Hang in there. I konw its scary and painful but going back time and again and seeing that the relationship is STILL there despite what happened is what will teach you that some people can be trusted. And that our mattering is inherent, not something bestowed by someone else. You are worthwhile and matter incredibly because you are Sarah. That is something no one can take away; they can convince you to FEEL otherwise, but that don't make it true. Often when people fail us, it has nothing to do with us, its about the other person. It's taken me a long time and a lot of hard work (and incredible patience on the part of two therapists) but I've finally come to understand that the abuse I suffered from my father had NOTHING to do with who I was, it had everything to do with my father's trying (in a pretty poor way) to deal with HIS life. That was difficult to realize because that left me face to face with my own powerlessness to affect what was going on, but in another way its freed me to live my life. Please hang in there, it will get better and as much as it feels like it, you will not always be in pain.

AG
Sarah,
That's one of the nicest compliments I've ever gotten! Big Grin Thank you! No, I'm a technical writer, I've just been in therapy so long and read so many books something was bound to rub off. I've also been learning a tremendous amount from my T. I have thought about going back to school and training to be a counselor but I'm not sure how well I would do keeping my own issues out of the room. But thanks again, you made my day! I'm so glad that you find my words helpful.

AG
Its been very interesting finding this site. My T and I have been discussing transference and counter-transference. Knowing that many have dealt with this subject with their therapists helped.

I agree with Sarah, Attachment Girl you have quite a way with words and explainations. The rugby analogy was right on point. Thanks for the input
Ellison,
Welcome! And thanks for posting, its good to see a new face (not that the old ones aren't wonderful. Big Grin ) Thanks for your kind comments. The rugby analogy was told to me by my T and when I told him how apt it was he broke out in a grin like a four year old on Christmas morning and said, "thanks, that was one of mine!" One of those awesome moments of connection. Just wanted to give credit where its due. But I agree, great analogy.

AG

PS Sarah, thank you so much but you really need to stop, I'm actually starting to blush. Smiler
Hi. I am a newbie. I really enjoyed the article and posts about Transference. I know that it is good therapy fodder but it is so dang hard. I feel tormented all the time with the longing to see or talk with my T. I deal a lot with social anxiety so in between sessions it is hard to connect with others to lessen the pain. Reading the posts here have helped so I didn't want to keep "lurking". Thanks to everyone for being so open and candid about your experiences. I will try to do the same.
Hi River,
Welcome to the site, and thanks so much for posting, its good to hear from you. I hope this will be a good place for you to connect and get support for how you're feeling. I know it can be really tough to deal with at times, but it does get better, and you're not the only one who feels this way, it happens to a lot of people in therapy, so there are people who understand what you're going through here.

AG

PS Hi BW, good to hear from you too!! Smiler
Has anyone had a strong transference experience with someone other than your T? I have with my boss for years but I didn't know it until recently. I can be a pretty shy person so I have kept all those feelings contained so I wouldn't make a fool out of myself in front of her and freak her out or something. I know what is going on now but I still don't know what to do about it. Has this happened to anyone else?
River,
I've never experienced transference as strongly as I have with my current T but I really think that's because he's given a space to express it and deal with it. I definitely went through a time with my first T, a woman, in which I intensely wished she was my mother but never really talked to her about it. But all through my adult life I've had a series of "crushes" which I wasn't able to really see until I started working on the transference issue. For me, the transference has turned out to be a need for a secure attachment, I think in some ways that has been what I've been searching for my whole life and has affected most of my close relationships. I have revealed my feelings in varying degrees depending on the person. I will say that for someone not trained to handle it, it can look pretty weird. So I think its good to be careful how much you talk to someone about how you feel. On the other hand, if they can handle it, and let you work through it, it can be incredibly healing. Sorry I know how crazymaking this can feel, but it really does come from a healthly place. These kinds of feelings are a sign that you are seeking connection and relationshp which is exactly what you should be doing.

AG
AG,
I am coming to accept that having these "crushes" is actually a good thing even though it feels like torture because I am trying not to scare anyone off. I haven't yet been able to express any of these feelings to anyone but my T and even that took a really long time. I guess I am afraid that if I reveal myself even a little bit then I am wide open to rejection but if I hide too much then I am invisible. Relating to people just does not come naturally for me, I always feel like I am trying to learn a foreign language. So, is there anyway to find "relief" from the crush experience with someone if you are pretty sure you won't be able to talk to them about it?

-River
River,
I think you're doing it actually. The best way to find relief in the long term is talk about the feelings with your therapist. Working through them and getting to the root of them can solve the "longing" allowing us to be more balanced in our relationships. I know that doesn't much help in the short term. For someone you really can't talk to I would probably try to limit contact as much as is practically possible. I really relate to how scary it is to reveal yourself. I've spent my whole life believing that if someone actually knew all of me they would leave. That real intimacy was impossible because it would end the relationship. That's at the heart of my transference with my T. Is he really going to stay? Is it really safe to express all my feelings? etc etc. Its a very different experience and sometimes its unspeakably wonderful and at other times its sheer hell. But I will say that its getting steadily better, just at a much slower pace than I would prefer (which would be instantaneous. Big Grin ) Sorry not to be more practical help but I can always listen!

AG
I have recently found out some information that is really bothering me. I have talked about my "crush" on my boss in therapy a couple of times. This last time though my T felt compelled to confess that she knows this person. Turns out that her kid and my boss' kid are friends. Anyway, she told me because she thought that I might figure it out on my own eventually so better to be upfront about it. OK, I agree, I appreciate the honesty. But this collision of my worlds feels like an emotional car crash! What are the chances that out of everybody in town I happen to have transference issues with these two? The two people that I have such deep feelings for and whom I would love to be best friends with may actually be friends with each other and I won't ever be a real friend to either of them. I feel this horrible rejection and betrayal at the thought that they may be friends. Intellectually I know that there is no actual rejection or betrayal but it feels devastating nonetheless. I loathe transference.
Interesting... some of the insiders here want to desperately to know what our T does all the time... where she eats, where she spends her free time, etc. We had many a discussion about boundaries, and 'personal life' vs 'work life'. But when it comes down to it, I think have the 'two worlds collide' as AG put it, would be stressful and would put one in a difficult position. That being said, we did see a T years ago who also went to our 'sister church' which meant we would see her 'private life' often... in church meetings etc. It put an interesting spin on therapy at times, and once got us into trouble for 'sharing' her views on church politics with others!
Antoni
I believe some T's keep quiet about themselves because their clients aren't required to keep anything they say confidential like they have to with us.
It does drive me crazy sometimes not knowing much about my T's "outside" life. My last T was very open about hers so when I started with this T I didn't understand why she never told me anything about herself. I figured she didn't trust me to respect her privacy and that really annoyed me until we finally talked about it and she explained the whole "blank page" thing. She didn't mention the transference stuff then but now I wish she had. I struggled with those feelings for a long time before I found out it was normal.
I talked to my T yesterday about my problem with her and my boss being friends. OMG! It was so hard to talk about. I felt so embarrassed because my feelings had no logic to them. But I finally spit it all out but was still afraid to ask if they really are friends. Luckily she saw my struggle and volunteered the information that no, they are not friends just acquaintances. Well, that information as well as finally spilling my guts and not being judged at all or thought ridiculous has really made me feel worlds better!
When I think about all of this, I think what I really wanted was to know if I could trust my T. Would she really protect our relationship? Is this new level of intimacy going to backfire on me like it has with others in the past? So far so good. Hopefully the next time something like this comes up I will just be able to ask the question instead of getting all tied up into knots.
Thank you guys for your support this week. It meant a lot to not be alone.Smiler
River,
I'm so glad you were able to discuss the situation with your T and even happier that the answer was a good one. Big Grin It's amazing how much anxiety can build up and what a relief it is to pull it out in the open. And every time you do that makes it just a little easier to do it the next time. I completely understand wanting to know if you can trust your T. I am still struggling with it after alot of intense work (not due to any actions of him but just because its such a major issue with me). And I'm really glad to know you found support here.

AG
Hi everyone, such an interesting discussion about transference. It's definitely not easy. Just wanted to say that I know many people have been viewing it, and I imagine it's been very helpful for them. I'll put a link back to here on the transference article...maybe we can interest a few more folks to come by.

River, I was wondering if you could tell me more about the "blank slate" thing? I'm familiar with the term but I was just wondering what your perspective on it was.

Shrinklady
Hi Shrinklady,

The blank-slate concept I believe is my T's way of helping the transference happen by allowing me to see her in whatever way I needed to, like a mother, sister, or friend. Her personality, emotions, and reactions to things are genuine but she tells me very little about herself and she doesn't often share any of her experiences that may relate to mine. When I asked her about this (finally) she explained that this time was supposed to be about me and not her but I was welcome to ask her questions. So at least then I didn't feel like she didn't trust me or something.
When she did share a few more things about herself it really helped me relax and trust her more (and I told her this.) It was too easy to idealize her and think her life was way better than mine so she couldn't possibly really understand what I was going through. And one time when she shared something about herself that she has in common with me I swear I heard an almost audible "click" of connection and mutual understanding.
When I asked her what transference was was when she brought up the blank-slate idea. I can see why this is part of her standard operating procedure but I am very susceptible to transference and it would have happened no matter what. So for me the blank-slate has been frustrating but for others, it may be what they need to allow the transference to happen. I guess we don't know until we get there.
Thanks for that River. Nice explanation. Yeah, it's true...we don't know until we get there.

I appreciate the concept of therapists not disclosing too much of their lives in order to avoid having the focus be on them. I understand that there's sometimes a fine line there...giving enough of their own experience so the client feels understood but not too much that the client can't feel the transference or ends up taking on the therapist's own stuff (Frankly, I'm not altogether of the mind that it's necessary to encourage transference to happen...there might be other ways for healing to occur, but I also know in some cases it just pops right up there. I'm certainly not an expert on this subject either but I like exploring the ideas around it.)

But I also wonder to what degree therapists are emotionally available to clients. When I've read some of the comments in the articles, and feel the torment some people go through, I get the feeling that they aren't getting enough of the therapists' feelings about what's going on between the two of them. I get the sense that the therapist is not really "showing up". It's pretty hard to learn about connection when the therapist is invisible!

Being emotionally available to my clients is definitely not something that I learned about in my early training. (Heavens that just sounds barbaric when I think of it now.) Yet, we now know (from neuroscience) it's where it's at for creating therapeutic change. Thankfully, I learned how important it is through my own therapy and being in my study group. And, what's really interesting is that, I really "get" how it is that I can only take my clients as far as I am able to go myself.

Shrinklady
Shrinklady,

I am mystified by how therapists get through their work day. Seeing 8 to 10 clients in a day for 45min each one right after the other and being able to be focused and present and emotionally available to each one! It sounds impossible to me. I have always thought (and hated) that a therapist has to have a certain amount of clinical detachment to keep going. The therapist/client relationship is unusual and wierd. I find it difficult to learn about connecting to others through it since with everybody else I usually know them as well as they know me. And I don't have to squeeze a whole conversation into 45 minutes and then wait a whole week before we can talk again. I wish my life were that predictable and organized! Who set this system up? Does it really work for most people?
River,
I agree with you about the detachment. I've actually told my T I what to throw things at his head because I can't get a rise out of him. And the fact that he is impossible to pick a fight with it sometimes drives me nuts. But I also can't imagine how exhausted a T must be by the end of the day. But as artificial as the situation is, I also realize that without those boundaries I would never have allowed the kind of intimacy I have with my T to occur. If for no other reason than the fact that we're both married and getting this close to another man without those safeguards would feel really wrong. I guess what I'm trying to say is that the incredible freedom within therapy to be exactly who you are and express any and all of your feelings can only happen within the boundaries. Not sure I'm making any sense, I'm groping for what I mean, I think because I'm still trying to work it out. I agree with River though Shrinklady, how do you make it through your day?

AG
Hi River and Attachment Girl, thanks for your question.

It sounds impossible to me too. I'd like to meet the therapist who's able to be emotionally available to 8 - 10 clients in a day and who also has a life. I can't imagine who could do that and be emotionally available to each of their clients. Now, not to say there aren't "developed" therapists out there who could do that, but I think they are few and far between. I'm certainly not there.

I see 5 - 6 clients for 50 minutes each and I have a good 20-25 minutes in between clients. I need that so I don't carry stuff from my last client forward. I need to discharge the energy if any has built up. That way I'm hopefully present with each one.

I also think it's a question of boundaries...not taking on others' stuff. It's an energetic thing. When I'm not listening to my own body as I go along in a session I can easily be left with residual feelings that a client may not have been in touch with. So, for instance, I might be left with a tight jaw that's characteristic of unresolved fight. The client wasn't in touch with the anger he or she was holding and I felt it and carried it.

Body psychotherapy is enormously helpful in this regards. Because I frequently get my clients to "check in" they tap into their own emotions and it's less likely that I'm left holding them.

Spirituality has also been helpful to me. I recognize in an emobdied way, now more than ever, that I cannot interfere with another person's journey...I cannot "rescue" them from their own feeling. Working through their own feelings will help them in their next step. If I take on their feelings, there's a good chance they won't learn from this experience and it will affect whatever is coming up for them next. For instance, if a client comes in really angry about something outside our relationship and I respond by being all upset, I start to carry their emotion.

The hard part as both of you alluded to is being emotionally available when it comes to our relationship. That's hard, but so worthwile for the client. It's challenging for a therapist but also tremendously rewarding.

Shrinklady
Shrinklady,

Most T's that I have seen or have had some exposure to their practice, tend to work fewer days a week and therefore see more clients a day without any time in between. It seems to be the more common way of doing things. I'm guessing then that they for the most part aren't able to be emotionally available to all of their clients. How would I know? Is it obvious? Is it something you say or do or just something you feel while you are with the client? How does it affect treatment?
Yeah, I"m aware that most therapists pile up the clients one right after the other. Then in the off days, they work at a center or college to balance out their clinical work.

It was one of the first things I changed about my practice when I started coming into my body. I knew I didn't want to put myself in that position...having only 5 minutes to run to the lou or grab a bite or answer a phone call. It's silly when I think back on it. You're so rushed and you risk passing on that pent up energy to your clients.

Some therapists feel they don't have a choice. They will tell me when I question this practice, that clients won't be able to handle appointments that fall on the quarter hour. But I've been doing this for years and there's no problem. It's a matter of how you, as the therapist, are settled within it yourself about it.

Some therapists don't charge the full value of their worth and do a lot of sliding scale fees so they need to keep their client list up to make their practice profitable. Again, this is their issue around money and worth. In my opinion, good therapy is totally undervalued in our culture.

You've asked some darned good questions. I'm hoping to be able to offer videos and better information to help people understand what good therapy looks like.

Talk to you later,

Shrinklady
"Some therapists don't charge the full value of their worth and do a lot of sliding scale fees so they need to keep their client list up to make their practice profitable. Again, this is their issue around money and worth. In my opinion, good therapy is totally undervalued in our culture."

$$ for therapy is a hot topic! I keep telling my T she should pay us for the privilege of working with us but she doesn't bite that one...

:P

Scott
Therapists that I've been to do a '50 minute hour' which I think sucks. And is expensive to boot! And a lot of people I know who could use therapy can't afford it... so then what??? I suppose it's all a matter of priorities for some, but doesn't it sometimes become a 'thing' for the rich when those who could use it the most can't afford it?

just some q's...

Antoni
I just want to be done with therapy! It is painful, unnatural and costs me about 15% of my income. I don't know if that sounds like a reasonable amount to anyone else but after 2+ years it is really starting to add up. I know you can't but a price on your health but everything is getting more expensive and my company is laying people off. So on days like this I wonder if it is worth it? I don't know sometimes if I feel better or worse or the same. I guess better in some ways, worse in others, and well, overall it seems to add up to being pretty much the same as before therapy. I really don't like the transference part. I feel like I am at someone else's mercy. I am at such a disadvantage. I need her and she doesn't need me. I don't have anyone else right now, and she has many people to attend to. It is unnatural, and unfair and I just don't understand how this is helpful.
Hi River,
I'm sorry you're having such a difficult time. I've definitely been there, struggling to figure out if I feel worse or better and that feeling of being at someone else's mercy. Neither are a lot of fun. I will say in my experience that I often feel my most confused and discouraged right before I make a lot of progress. I know its a cliche but its always darkest before the dawn. The problem is that therapy is one of the hardest things you'll ever do when you're working at it. And your T may have to attend to other people, but within the boundaries of your appointment you are the ONLY thing she is attending to. I would definitely try to talk to your therapist about how your feeling. She might be able to give you some perspective on your progress and at least should be able to hear how you're feeling about the money and your relationship with her. Hang in there!

Safe hugs,
AG

I actually posted a while back when I was feeling the same way I want to quit, although I know I shouldn't
Hi River, so sorry to hear how it's going for you. I know whenever I come upon a heavy emotional part in my therapy--and it's always to do with the relationship with my therapist--it's all consuming on my life. Emotional stuff just grips me inside and rips the joy of of my days. So I can imagine how it is for you.

I really like what Attachment Girl was saying. It's true. When you are in session with your therapist, YOU are who she is attending to. I hope you can take heart in those words.

Yes, I think it's sometimes hard to notice how we're changing. I liken therapy to education. It'd be pretty hard to imagine how your life would be, if you hadn't gone to college for instance. And like therapy, while you're in school it's hard to pinpoint how you're changing. But therapy, like education, does change us, often for the better.

You are investing in yourself with your therapy. If you are different, your life will be different. The more emotionally balanced we are, the more choices we have in what we want to do with our lives. We can take charge of our lives, not merely let life happpne to us. Most people would agree that it's pretty hard to put a value on that.

Take care, River,

Shrinklady
I fell asleep last night thinking about boundaries and how much I can struggle with them, how painful it can be when I bang up against them. I had been reading a book which covered transference and countertransference. I woke up an hour later and realized that my mind had done one of those lateral slippages where it all finally comes together, that you've been working on it somewhere out of sight, unconsciously and I had one of those moments of insight where I experience the knowledge instead of just knowing it. I realized that the boundaries feel so painful not because of what I'm not getting from my T, but because of what I didn't get from my parents. I needed to be loved, I needed to be cherished, I needed to feel like I was someone special, and I needed to feel like my needs were important enough to be met. That's still difficult to say. I didn't get those things and its incredibly painful. I'm letting myself feel what it felt like and it hurts and leaves me grief stricken. I'm struggling so hard with the boundaries because on some level I believe if I can just force my T to give me what I want then I won't have to experience the pain of the loss. Which is why my T could never do enough, even if I was all he paid attention to 24/7, even if he said everything I thought I wanted to hear from him, it wouldn't change a thing. Because I had very deep needs that went unfulfilled and it hurt. And I was furious and angry that I wasn't being taken care of. I get angry at my T because I want him to make it not have happened. (How's that for an unreasonable demand?)My T has been telling me this in one form or another (with a great deal of patience) for a while, but I'm now getting it in my gut. I need to let myself feel this so I can mourn it and heal. My T can't make it not have happened but can give me a safe place to let the feelings in and grieve and be met with understanding.
I have been struggling for a long time with wanting to be held by my T. I've barely been able to speak about it because I couldn't be sure that expressing my need to be held would be met. My T has told me a number of times that I'm not willing to express a need unless I knew it could be met. I didn't get that before but I think I'm finally understanding that too. What I really want is physical contact, an embrace, that is about taking care of me and nothing more, one that won't turn into a demand, that won't turn out to be about another's needs. But I also realize that there are good reasons why that's a line you don't cross in therapy so I couldn't even talk about it because the thought of having my T say no was just too scary and painful. I promised myself a long time ago that I wasn't going to put myself in a position to hear no again and be hurt that way. And it feels scary to even want to be held because I know where that always ended up. As if wanting to be held, especially as a child, is anything but normal and healthy. Actually, realizing how many normal things and my understanding of them were warped is part of the grief.
This hurts very badly but is strangely comforting. They're my feelings and its a relief to feel them. And I know that I can feel them and be alright. I won't always feel like this; I don't always feel like this. And I know that my T will be there no matter what which is really comforting. I am thankful he has given me what I needed instead of what I thought I wanted and helped me find the strength inside myself to know I could endure feeling this.So I will grieve knowing that I can also rejoice and rejoice knowing I can also grieve. There's a wonder and a mystery and a terrible beauty to that but above all it feels like I'm alive and present. Which makes experiencing the pain more than worth it

I emailed all of this to my T last night (I'm going on vacation tomorrow and won't see him for three weeks) and got a wonderful reply. Working through the transference is one of the hardest things I've even done but I continue to be amazed at what it has revealed about me to myself.
Wow, Attachment Girl, thank-you so much for sharing that. It feels like you really got to the heart of something.

So many folks struggle with transference and in the back of my head, I'm not always sure that they're getting the kind of connection with their therapist that's required for healing. So, it's nice to hear how your therapist is with you, that he is truly there for you. I get that.

I wish I could describe what a good connection feels like for folks. I feel like I haven't adequately answered River's question on what it looks like when a therapist is emotionally available for a client. So, it's another reason I like your post, because I get the feeling your therapist is maintaining good boundaries but still being present and emotionally available to you.

Wish you well,

Shrinklady
AG, your last post is an incredibly wonderful revelation! Some of what you describe I have been conscious of and some I haven't but you have described a lot of how I feel way more eloquently than I ever could have!

I am right there with the not wanting to ask for what I need for fear of being refused. I have that problem with everyone, not just my T. My needs were virtually invisible to my parents and as an adult I have heard too many yes's that have never materialized to be able to trust anyone with what I need. I don't ask, I can't ask. It is the hardest thing for me to do. It is hard for me to trust that people ever really mean what they say. Once after she was away on vacation I confessed to my T how much I had missed her. She said she missed me too and I see that as her being emotionally available by expressing her feelings about me. However, even though I honestly don't think she would lie to me I have the hardest time believing it. I guess I can't internalize it. I don't understand how on her vacation she would think of me, actually miss me in some way. She has many clients, I can't believe that she misses us all while she is on vacation!

No, I haven't talked to her about this but I may when she returns from the seeming endless vacation she is on now. These have been the longest two weeks of my life since the last two weeks of my pregnancy five years ago.

(I don't think time has ever moved more slowly than that last month of pregnancy!)
Hi Antoni, thanks for your question. I actually prepared an answer and I wanted to reflect on it for a bit but now I can't find it...so, I'll have to give it another go. It's a challenging issue that relates to both the political and the personal.

I'll get back to you on that.

Hi River, I noticed your comment about your therapist. I don't think I'm much different than other colleagues of mine, but thoughts of my clients float in and out of my mind whether I'm at work or not. I have relationships with these folks and like others I have relationships with, I think of them from time to time. So, I could easily imagine that you had crossed your therapist's mind here and there.

Shrinklady
quote:
I needed to be loved, I needed to be cherished, I needed to feel like I was someone special, and I needed to feel like my needs were important enough to be met. That's still difficult to say. I didn't get those things and its incredibly painful. I'm letting myself feel what it felt like and it hurts and leaves me grief stricken...


Wow, this is my experience to a T. I think I just experienced transference for the first time on Friday when I became totally upset and freaked out when my T announced he'd be gone for this week and forgot to tell me. I felt betrayed, heartbroken and scared to death, not to mention furious.

He completely welcomed these feelings toward him and acknowledged his mistake and apologized. He even equated his mistake and my response to it to a recent experience with my father where my father wandered off without me while my family was on vacation. At the time I just thought it was my dad doing something kind of odd, but my T pointed out that it was yet another instance of my dad walking away from me, essentially abandoning me. (Abandonment is a feeling I've totally repressed my whole life.)

So I think in mentioning this, my T was actually inviting me to realize that my feelings toward him were actually pulled from feelings I've had about my dad for years but was unable to feel or express them.

Then a really freaky, disturbing thing happened last night; I had a dream about my T. He came into my room while I was going to sleep, put his hand on my shoulder and apologized for his mistake. Man, this TOTALLY freaked me out. I sure hope this is transference, and I sure hope he'll be able to help me through it to the other side.

I just found this site yesterday, and I can't tell you helpful it's been. Thanks for everyone here.

Russ
Welcome Russ, your post was spot on. It sure sounds like transference and it also seems like you're on your way to the other side...I know from both my personal and professional experience, when we get to a place where we are owning and feeling (not just cognitively knowing) where the feelings originally arise from, the power of the transference starts to lose its edge.

It was great to hear your therapist being right there for you. That dream was like your brain was re-working the old memories using the good connection with your therapist to resource you through those early feelings of your dad.

Thanks for your post,
Shrinklady
Hi Shrinklady,

Thanks for your input. The insights in your posts here are really wonderful.

I was reading Attachment Girl's post about her wanting to throw things at her T's head to get some kind of emotion out of him. This sounds familiar. My T betrays very little emotion and sometimes I feel this as a real lack of compassion and support from him, which really bothers me. I told him this once and he just sort of agreed and then steered the discussion toward what it was about words of encouragement that I find comforting? This triggered a bout of sobbing on my part, which felt good, and feeling emotions that are just beneath the surface is a main goal of our work. Before therapy, I don't think I'd cried for about 15 years, despite my enormous stock pile of sadness, anger and loneliness. No wonder I developed an anxiety disorder.

Anyway, I just wish the guy would offer a word or two of encouragement once in a while.

At the same time, his insights are really excellent, so I guess you have to take the good with the bad in therapy.

Thanks again.
Russ
"Hi Antoni, thanks for your question. I actually prepared an answer and I wanted to reflect on it for a bit but now I can't find it...so, I'll have to give it another go. It's a challenging issue that relates to both the political and the personal.

I'll get back to you on that."

We read a book called 'Street Lawyer' by John Grisham a while back. It was all about this rich lawyer who decided to work with street people as their lawyer (it took place in USA where I believe they have larger 'issues' than in Canada on this in terms of the systems available etc) Anyhow, as we are planning to take training as an Art Therapist, and eventually work in the field, the issues of 'money for therapy' is one we think of often, in terms of if people will (eventually) be able to 'afford' us ... and also the personal cost for therapy is a continuing issue. However, I believe that if people see the benefits, and have the resources to search out therapies (i.e., social workers lean them towards that) then it can be a win for all involved. I think that in any work one does there should be an aspect of volunterism. That is to say, one has to make ends meet (financially speaking - get the $$) but also there is some intrinsic value in volunteering ones time or decreasing the $$ in some cases. When we worked in the childcare field (day care) we were also 'sunday school supervisor' at the church we were in...volunteering plus $$ for working... we would like to be able to work with 'troubled kids' on a volunteer basis as well as 'working for pay'.

I hope some of this made some sense (cents Wink )

later,
Antoni
quote:
Originally posted by the dude:
quote:
I just wish the guy would offer a word or two of encouragement once in a while.


could you elaborate on what you mean? I think if a T isn't giving encouragment on the work you've been doing them something is missing.

Antoni


I guess what I mean is that he's not a "hey you're doing great, hang in there" kind of guy.

When I feel wretched, I go in there and I go off on how I am never going to get better, how this therapy is useless, how I should be better by now, that I'm helpless in the face of my symptoms etc, etc.

When I do this, instead of words of encouragement, he generally points out - in his way - that (1) I *am* slowly but surely getting better and (2) that the part of me that is going off on the negative comments is the part of me that is responsible for my symptoms; the critical me, the gremlin, my inner bastard, whatever you wanna call it. And, this thing is just getting the better of me that day, and that IS NOT the actual, true me.

He's also very good at getting me to FEEL the emotion behind my symptoms - the stuff that my anxiety is trying to keep me from feeling. So I'll end up sobbing, which almost always makes me feel MUCH better.

So, while it's not your typical encouragment, it does feel good to get this perspective and to get some of that poisonous emotion out.

Hope this makes some sense.

Russ
Russ,

This is the part of your post that really struck me:

quote:
My T betrays very little emotion and sometimes I feel this as a real lack of compassion and support from him, which really bothers me.


I totally understand the need for this kind of encouragement. If my T didn't show me any emotion I would feel like I was talking to a wall and not a person. It is very hard to be the only one in the room experiencing any kind of emotion when discussing very emotional things. When I feel her sympathize and empathize and in general just act natural and normal I know she is getting it. She doesn't get carried away or anything but rather it can feel like she is traveling along side me not just watching from the sidelines. I really appreciate her willingness to do this. It is at these times that I feel most encouraged and hopeful.

Unfortunately, the feeling fades after a day or two so I guess this is way I wish I saw her more often. I wish I had more people in my life willing to travel "along side" me in the journey which is really my ultimate goal for being in therapy in the first place.
River,
Thanks so much for your response to my last post, it is always good to realize that other people feel the same thing. Although I wish we were sharing feelings that were more pleasant to have. Smiler But thank you for the encouragement. And I agree, there is NO space of time longer than the last month of pregnancy!! Even missing a T doesn't compare, hang in there.

Shrinklady,
Thank you so much for your comment, it is always so encouraging to hear from you. And you're exactly right, my T is completely available emotionally while being extremely careful about the boundaries, allowing me to hear both heard and safe. I think a major part of the epiphany was recognizing the things that I am getting from my T that I need so much versus what I want from him that I'm not getting and how good it is that I'm not. His ability to be available and accept all my feelings and let me discuss them is what has allowed me to see the underlying issues and how its really been about avoiding the pain of my childhood and the need to feel it and mourn it. And his being available has also created a place in which I can do that. I am incredibly grateful to have found this man. And grateful that I've been able to do this work (see I'm learning, I'm taking some credit! Big Grin) I also agree with what River posted, when I am dealing with really difficult stuff and the emotions are really strong, I can feel my T right beside me every step of the way, sometimes he will ask about one of my reactions almost before I can consciously register it, that more than anything else has communicated how much I matter and how much he cares.

Russ,
Welcome to the boards, I'm so glad you're posting! I know this is really difficult but it sounds like you're in a good place (as horrible as it feels). I'm really glad that what you've read here has helped. We've all found that having a place to be understood can really help you get through it.

Sorry this had been so scattershot, but I'm still on vacation and internet access is limited!! Thanks!

AG
Transference is just the most awful thing. It has consumed my thoughts and I can't stand not being able to stop thinking about it all day. Sitting in therapy is the most uncomfortable, embaressing, ridiculous experience. Why bother to explore all of these feelings I have to someone that I don't have a friedship with and never will?
Hi AG!
Been catching up on recent posts since I've been away for a few weeks. (Boy did I miss my T terribly. I had a wonderful vacation but missed being in her presence. I was so busy preparing for vacation that it didn't dawn on me how much I was going to miss her until it HIT me the day before I left and I just started crying. I called her on the phone and expressed my insecurities to which she was so attuned to.

It's funny how I can relate to so many experiences here and it's helpful to know that I am not alone. I especially relate to your statement "I woke up an hour later and realized that my mind had done one of those lateral slippages where it all finally comes together, that you've been working on it somewhere out of sight, unconsciously and I had one of those moments of insight where I experience the knowledge instead of just knowing it."
Those moments of epiphany are amazing!

It is painful not having our needs met in infancy and childhood and thus the desire (longing) for our T's to take care of our needs and to nurture us, to love us and understand us, to make us feel important & secure, and to hold us. Although they cannot do this directly they do so symbolically through this wonderful relationship we call therapy. I've learned that I can go back (mentally)and nurture myself at those crucial moments as they come up. I can even imagine my real parents taking part and becoming the ideal parents I never had, but fantasized about my whole life. It is truly a healing experience.

Anyway, just wanted to feel in touch.

JM
Last edited by justme 2
Hi Diane;
You may never have a friendship with your T, but you will find this to be one of the most significant, healing relationships you will ever experience. What makes you so uncomfortable about sitting in therapy? Do you share your inner most thoughts and secrets w/ your T or are you still developing the trust before you can give in to full exposure? Doing so is what will bring relief to the distress you feel about it.
Hang in there it is worth all the consuming thoughts, longings, obsessions, fears, embarrasment...it is all part of the process for you to heal all those uncomfortable feelings that have plagued you throughout life.
You can do it.
JM
Last edited by justme 2
i guess everyone's experience with transference is different. for me, i was pissed at my T for neglecting to tell me he was going to be out this week and later next month, but that being pissed converged with the river of hurt feelings i have about my dad and other people in my past...feelings that are always just below the surface...and it turned into heartbreak.

still, i have no desire for my T to be the dad i never had or my best friend. in fact, i like not knowing any thing personal about him. he just happens to be the guy who has been instrumental in helping me bring these feelings out and understanding them.

does this make any sense?
Hi Russ,
Yes, you DO make sense.

Oh I get mad at my T too! Twice she has dbl booked my appointment both times stating that this does not usually happen and appologizing. The first time I was more forgiving and gave up the appointment to the other client. The second time I was pissed and we spent the whole hour discussing it and how that made me feel forgettable and unimportant.
If I can say one thing that I appreciate through all that is I could not have had that sort of dialogue w/ a friend who dissapointed me that way or with my parents when I was a child. To be able to work out my feelings and relationship problems current and past as they come up and however they are triggered proves to be very healing for me. I learn that I can be disappointed by someone I love and care about and that it is not the end of the world or the relationship. I learn that my feelings are important and that I can express them (hopefully in a civilized manner). I learn that despite my childish expressions that my T will be there and (despite her human faults) she will continue to represent the secure attachment I need so that I can improve my other relationships in a more adult manner.
-I hope I make sense. =)
Has anyone here ever experienced transference with their medical doctor? I am and want to resolve it desperately! He treated me for cancer and has been incredibly caring, supportive, and available to me. He has crossed boundaries with me a few times (self-disclosure, expressed desire to save me) and acts completely differently towards me than he has in the past. It's been very confusing. I alternate between having sexual fantasies about him and wanting to be his daughter.

Needless to say, my father was completely useless during my childhood and beyond. He was not emotionally present.

I want to take care of this once and for all; I have done this with middle-aged authority figures for my entire adult life and it has been nothing but frustrating. This is the first time I have ever stepped back and have been able to see what I am doing. That has helped, but now what?

I have been in therapy for the last two years, but my T is a woman and is very CBT oriented. Is it possible to resolve my transference without going into analysis with a man?
Hi Just Me,
Good to have you back! Thanks for saying hi! And it was really good to know you got my description of the epiphany, I always feel like I sound a little deranged when I try to explain it. Smiler Sorry it took me so long to answer, I was away on vacation on for two weeks and then buried for a few days after I got back. I found my vacation much easier to deal with than my T's vacation. And doesn't that just seem unfair? Big Grin

AG
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.

AG

PS Sorry, I am given to novel like posts! Smiler
quote:
Originally posted by Attachment Girl:
Hi Just Me,
Good to have you back! Thanks for saying hi! And it was really good to know you got my description of the epiphany, I always feel like I sound a little deranged when I try to explain it. Smiler Sorry it took me so long to answer, I was away on vacation on for two weeks and then buried for a few days after I got back. I found my vacation much easier to deal with than my T's vacation. And doesn't that just seem unfair? Big Grin

AG


I know just what you mean AG! I was on vacation for 2 weeks in August and I was ok. Yesterday when my T announced to me that she is going away for 2 weeks in Oct. I found my heart wanting to fall into my stomach and I was immediately bummed. I even think a thought bubble appeared over my head that said "Oh no, please don't leave me." She deserves it though.

Anyway, welcome back.
A thought bubble that says "Oh no, please don't leave me." Too funny, Just Me, it describes the feeling perfectly! If its any comfort a lot of good work came out of me having a hard time about his vacation, but you still have my sympathy. The trick is for you to go on vacation at the same time. Big Grin My T's wife is a school teacher so he usually goes on vacation during the February break which works really well because we usually vacation then too. It's awesome since it cuts the time away in half.

AG
quote:
The trick is for you to go on vacation at the same time.


LOL! I am actually considering that. My husband has another week of vac left for the year and we had thought of doing a Calif coast trip. But last time we talked about it my husband said that we have a lot to do around here esp w/ his father's house. (who passed away a year ago and we need to get it ready to sell. A lot of work yet to do that I wont get into.) Now that I know when my T is going on her vac I am wanting to go away one of those two weeks too. It WOULD be a lot easier.

BTW: Shrinklady, why do you T's do that to us? Wink (just kidding)

Anyway, I am working through so many attachment issues that were only brased through my trauma therapy. I used to hold back and now it's like the floodgates have opened and this little girl takes over. I swear one of these days I'm going to show up with an over sized chair and a teddy bear and do my best impression of Lily Tomlin's "Edith Ann." I wonder if she'd notice? Sometimes I feel so childish. But that's ok. Big Grin
quote:
Originally posted by Attachment Girl:
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.

Hi Sprinting Gal,
AG is right on about that. I've seen first hand a mishandled client/therapist relationship-thankfully not mine! I would also believe that your MD is likely not educated as well in how to handle it. However, I think what you are experiencing is a totally natural place for trasnference to occur. IE: The Florence Nightingale effect. Same as transference/counter-transference.

Before you would stop seeing your current T, have you talked to her about your feelings for your MD? Express how you need to resolve the issues that trigger these feelings for you. She SHOULD understand. See what she says and how she recommends working through it with you. She may be able to help. Some male T's have successfully fulfilled therapeutic mother roles, and female T's have fulfilled therapeutic father roles. See what works for you.
You WILL feel better having worked through it.
quote:
Originally posted by Attachment Girl:
...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.


This just hit me AG. I never thought about that. Is this something that your T has confirmed or what you notice on your own? I can say that my sexual attraction to my T has waned considerably as I have really opened up and worked with the otherwise "maternal transference." I know I certainly do have avoidance issues.

Anyway, it is also my understanding that sexual desire/attraction/arousal are innate and stimulated by the same endorphines as when a mother nurtures her infant by feeding, caressing, talking and cooing etc. In that way it is very natural to become sexually attracted to our T's who by the inherent nature of their job trigger those endorphines in us. This is esp true for those of us reared by parents who thought that holding your baby too much is spoiling and that it was healthy to let your baby cry for 30 minutes or more to learn to sooth themselves. When in fact we would usually just wear ourselves down and fall to sleep because of exhaustion.
-Does this make sense??
I hope I stated that right. Correct me if I am wrong.
Just Me,
It's something I realized because I started to notice that whenever I talked about something "big" in my relationship with him and got to the underlying issues along with the sense of relief was also a shift in my feelings towards a more paternal mode. But my T and I have also discussed that because of the sexual abuse my expectations of relationship became warped so that I have an expectation of sex needing to be included in order to get what I need from a man. He has also likened my feelings for him to a little girls' saying "I love you Daddy, and I'm going to marry you when I grow up."

I also totally agree with what you said about endorphins and our desire/attraction/arousal mechanisms. I think our sexuality tends to be very complex and is highly impacted my our early relationships so when we are dealing with such strong desires and emotions like the one's invoked by our T's and needs that were never fulfilled, it makes sense that it "bleeds" over into our sexual desires. From reading I've done, our desire to merge in a romantic/sexual relationship with no boundaries between us and our lover is very akin to the merger we once knew with our mother when all our needs were met and there was no boundary because we didn't know an "I" existed at the time. So it all fits.

Sometimes I spend a lot of time trying to figure out the nature of the my feelings and other times I realize its not really that important. The boundaries of the relationship are really clear and carefully maintained, especially by my T (which is why I trust him) and he's phemonally important to me for a lot of good reasons. I try to leave it at that. Big Grin But my T keeps telling me that coming and talking about all my feelings especially in relation to him is how the work is getting done. I can never figure out if his wanting to hear all this is a sign of incredible compassion or complete insanity. Smiler But I'm grateful for it either way.

It is easier when the erotic pull isn't very strong, it can get pretty distracting. I hate sessions where I realize that I'm just sitting and looking at my T instead of listening to what he's saying. Haven't gotten snagged so far that i know of which is good because I would die of embarrassment. Big Grin Although the man never looks flustered so I'd probably survive it. He's stayed very calm when I've talked to him about how obsessive the relationship feels.

AG
quote:
Originally posted by Attachment Girl:
It is easier when the erotic pull isn't very strong, it can get pretty distracting. I hate sessions where I realize that I'm just sitting and looking at my T instead of listening to what he's saying.


Yea, that is so distracting and so embarrassing. I don't know if it makes it any worse, but imagine that happening w/ a female T. And I think she does notice when I notice. *sigh* I hate the homo-erotic part of my transference. But she never seems phased by it one way or the other.

It is getting better, but I do still feel it from time to time. Keeping an open dialogue, though extremely uncomfortable, is helping to understand where these feelings originate.
Actually, it has been a while since these feelings have surfaced.
Last edited by justme 2
*sigh*
Ok I am very disappointed in my T. I was having a bad time Saturday night and I called and left her a message. I was aware that she was out of town for a conference and that she said she would be limited in her availability to get back with me, but that I could still call her. So I did, not expecting to hear from her right away by any means, but still expecting to hear from her eventually. Sunday, Monday, no phone call. Last night I was really beginning to wonder when I would hear from her. I reached out in need (as she has ecnouraged me to do)and I needed to hear from her. After a very restless night last night along with some infancy body memories I woke up this morning feeling very disillusioned. Very let down and hurt that she had not called me by now. So I called her this morning stating that I really need to hear from her, which I did within 20 minutes or so. She said that she was not able to get my message until late Sunday night and since she had not been able to respond directly to the needs I expressed Saturday night she assumed it had passed wasn’t planning on calling me back at all, and was expecting to see me tomorrow for my session. I said, “But I still needed to hear from you even though the original purpose for my call had passed, I still expected I would hear from you to make sure of it." She heard me, but did not seem phased or moved that she let me down. I mean she SHOULD have called me! I believe the message I left indicated that desire at the same time I acknowledged her limitations. I am pissed and I feel let down by her. Damn it I am so tired of being let down by the people who are most important to me in my life!!!
Confused
Just Me,
She figured it had passed!??! I can understand you being frustrated. They KNOW its scary to contact them, so why would they possibly think its ok to let it slide? Do they have any idea what runs through our heads when we don't hear back!?! I'd talk to her about it. Again. And let her know how angry you are that she doesn't seem to be all that upset about the fact that she made things difficult for you. I can definitely see you feeling pretty disillusioned and frustrated. But overall, your T sounds like a good 'un so hopefully she'll be able to hear that she kind of messed up on this one. Hang in there!

AG
quote:
Originally posted by Attachment Girl:
She figured it had passed!??!


Yea, that was her story. I went to session today and we talked this through. She explained her understanding of my circumstances at the time, and I was able to be heard. She did admit that she did error in assuming that all I needed to do was vent w/o her returning my call. She admitted to not being attuned to my needs and her knowledge of me. She reminded me that she will fail on occasion, but we will always work through it. She will always be right here. So that was good and it helps me to see my issues I still need to work through.

Thanks again for listening and understanding AG. I appreciate that.
Just Me,
You are more than welcome and I was glad to hear that things went well today, Kind of distressing when that stuff happens. I was glad your T stepped up and admitted that she hadn't been attuned enough. Everyone messes up sometimes, its how we handle our mistakes that really matters.

If I may in turn share my diaster today...

My usual 8:30 on Tuesday morning appt wasn't open, so my T scheduled me for today. I entered the appt in Outlook (which is how I run my life) but left the appt card on my desk. I'm getting ready to leave the office at 11:05 for my 11:30 appt when the receptionist at my office tells me I have a phone call. I pick up and its my T who says "I have you down for today" and I answer "yeah, 11:30, I was on my way out the door right now" and he says, wait for it, "no our appointment was at 10:30" I'm looking straight at Outlook which says 11:30 and then I pick up the card and see he wrote 10:30. Now, my life is basically revolving around my therapy appts so I cannot believe I have messed this up but I'm so upset I go on autopilot. My T reschedules me for next Tuesday then asks my how I'm doing? I'm so stunned I'm bascially like, ok, I'm fine, really sorry I screwed up the appt time, see ya later. Hang up the phone and go into a complete meltdown. I'm sobbing so hard I have to close my office door. I got triggered like I haven't gotten triggered in a long time. Every horrible message you can think of is hammering at me. Like someone ripped off the lid of the abyss and I'm suddenly plunged into a swirling chaos. Now, rationally, I understand I just made a mistake and entered the wrong time (and a time I usually don't see my T at) but emotionally it felt like I had screwed up major. Like beyond forgiveness, the relationship is over. So two minutes later, feeling like a pathetic idiot, I pick up the phone and leave an emergency message for my T who calls back in like three minutes. (Probably expected it because I'm really good at the delayed reactions, this has happened once before where I said I'm fine and then called back right away). I told him how triggered I was and how scared. He told me everything was fine, he wasn't angry and stay with it and try to talk about how I was feeling interspersed with telling me to breathe (I tend to stop breathing when I'm upset Eeker ) He asked if I wanted to come in earlier on Friday at 1:30, I said thanks that would be good. Then we got off the phone and I started to worry that I had gotten the appt time wrong, so I ended up emailing him to verify. I got a very nice reply in which he told me everything was ok and said in such a way that I was sure to hear. So I'm feeling better, but it was really hard. I felt so stupid, and pathetic and childish. I knew I was grossly overreacting, sorry let me rephrase that, I knew my reaction wasn't about here and now. It really threw me because things have been going really well lately with a lot of progress and this suddenly felt like all the progress dissappeared. Very frustrating.

I was also braced to talk to him about something I've been trying to get to for a long time so realizing I wasn't going to see him today was like having the floor yanked out from under me. I couldn't calm down so I ended up calling my sister (who completely gets melt downs) so eventually it got better. But I also realized that part of what made it so hard was realizing how much I need my T and how much I hate that. I really thought I had come to terms with that, so I just felt so blindsided by my reactions. I know they're feelings and they come and go, just felt like a lot of lost ground. Plua, you know that lovely feeling that you're a complete wingnut and "normal" people will think you're reaction is insane? Oh yeah. so thanks for listening to my tale of woe. I'm glad I'm going on friday and gee, I think I know what I'll talk about. Big Grin

AG
I hear you AG, loud and clear! Our lives DO revolve around our T’s. (For now and how ever long it takes) How wonderful that Your T is also phenomenally understanding and nurturing. Before I entered therapy I, for one, never had a clue how deeply significant a relationship between a client and therapist really is. My oldest sister has been in and out of therapy for 20 years with several different therapists and she does not relate to my relationship with my T at all, but she says it sounds great and she’s happy I found such a good one. (I think she’s even a little jealous.) But in reality it is probably the most significant relationship we will ever have. So when a scheduling blunder occurs or anything threatens our access to them it can feel earth shattering.

I get the delayed reaction thing too. I do that all the time. But at least we get there. I am amazed at how much some of us here have in common. I think your frustration and fear of your progress disappearing is relatable as well. I know I take my share of “Look at me! Look how good I’m doing. I’m so happy and dancing around like a fool. Life is good! I love My T…” Then BLAM! One little disruption and our world seems to crumble. It really feels like that. So we make connection with our Therapist-mom (or dad) and symbolically crawl onto their laps as they hold us close and whisper, “Everything is ok. I am right here and you are safe.” Our lips begin to quiver as we inhale their stability. Ok, that does sound deranged doesn’t it?? But it really is about getting those important needs met. We are on the road to a brighter, happier, more productive life. In fact, look how much better off we are already and we’re not even done. Not even close. (ha ha!) Big Grin

You are ok, AG! And you don’t have to worry about “normal” I’d rather be a “wingnut” anyway; we so much more understand each otherthat way. LOL! I hope that you are feeling better each day. Just one more day and you will be able to sit in his presence and let it all out.

Hope to hear from you and how it goes for you tomorrow. Until then (((hug)))
JM,
quote:
I think your frustration and fear of your progress disappearing is relatable as well. I know I take my share of “Look at me! Look how good I’m doing. I’m so happy and dancing around like a fool. Life is good! I love My T…” Then BLAM! One little disruption and our world seems to crumble.
Thank you so much for responding and understanding so well. When I can draw breath and get some perspective I can stop being (quite) so hard on myself. It makes me feel so much better that you get what I'm talking about and you understand how it feels. Part of what's so tough right now is I'm trying to allow myself to feel and process alot of emotions from when I was really little that didn't get handled at the time because I finally feel safe enough to and like I have the ability to feel them without it destroying me (which is what it felt like before) but when the emotions come out they are so raw that they almost make the present dissappear. The trick is hanging on to my adult self and my T while allowing the stuff to surface. Thanks for encouragement about the progress too. I've actually talked to my T that as wonderful as I'm feeling and how much better things are getting, I can still feel part of myself sitting on the edge like a meercat on watch looking for the coming disaster. That to trust anything good is a foolish action. My T has made it really clear that he completely understands my feeling that way, but the truth is that the progress is real and I can trust it.I KNOW the fear is not true but I need to experience more of it being not true before I'll trust it. I'll let you know how tomorrow goes since you were enough of a wingnut to ask. Big Grin Thanks again!

AG
Hi guys, I'm just popping in to say how much I am enjoying your discussion. It's reminding me of my horror story...from the other side of the consultation room...a therapist's worst nightmare happened a few months back--I doubled booked myself and I didn't discover it until I opened the door of the waiting room. It was totally my fault. Thankfully, I was forgiven.

I'm off to LA for the weekend. I'm learning about Internet marketing...I'm learning how to promote therapy as a good idea...a bit of a hard sell as you can imagine but your conversation certainly helps the cause.

Thanks again for posting.
Shrinklady
Hi Shrinklady!

Nice to hear from you. I too appreciate your honesty and how you felt when you double booked. I don’t know if you noticed my post about my T doing that to me not once, but twice! Both times that is how she came to realize it; walking into the waiting room and seeing 2 of her clients sitting there as she froze in time muttering a certain expletive or two. Eeker The first time I pushed it under the rug more or less and she apologized profusely-which I felt worse for her than I did for myself. The second time I was not so understanding and we spent the whole session on it. But we did work it out. Even horrifying events and misunderstandings in our relationship with our T can be worked out and we (clients) really need to experience that. I think if we don’t get to see their humanness we might forget that they are not perfect and therefore miss opportunities to learn how to work things out not only through them but with them.

I don’t know about anyone else, but I don’t want a perfect therapist. I enjoy some of her imperfections. I like the way she rambles on sometimes extrapolating details. I grin when she gets all wide eyed and over-reacts to things I say. I love her sarcasm at the same time that it drives me crazy. Roll Eyes But I relate to that. I see ways that she is a lot like me and then I see this wonderful role model to look up to and I am very proud to know her the way that I do. If I realized that my T was still horrified over double booking me not once, but twice mind you, (far be it from me to keep bringing that up) I would want for her to let it go. It gave me opportunity to learn something about myself and to work something out with her, which in turn, strengthened my bond with her.

Thanks for your insight from the other side of the consultation room.

Hope all goes well in L.A. Remember you poster children back here if you need any convincing arguments on why therapy is a good idea. (Otherwise there’d be a lot more loose nuts running on the streets.) Which reminds me of a comment from an acquaintance some time ago who said “I really see a difference in you, in the way that you carry yourself. You have a more positive attitude. What are you doing?”

My reply, “I’ve had a few screws tightened.”

Thanks again for developing this community for us. To my knowledge there’s nothing else like it out there. I wish some therapists would drop by from time to time: Even if just to read if they didn’t want to post.

JM
Hi AG,
quote:
The trick is hanging on to my adult self and my T while allowing the stuff to surface.

Hanging onto your adult-self sounds counter-productive. Unless I am misunderstanding something, doing that can get in your way- therapeutically. Accessing the right brain should be more “free flowing.” My T always states "let whatever comes up, come up." If you are intentionally holding onto your adult-self and to your T, isn't that a left brain tendency? Which would be more appropriate at the end of session where we may analyze what came up (or out of the right brain experience). I am sure that your T knows how to proceed, and if he is aware that you are hanging onto your adult-self, then I am sure that is not a problem as I perceive it. Just a thought I had as I read your post.

On the other hand, being aware of our present (we are an adult now and our T is sitting across from us) is a safety measurement keeping us grounded, but not distracted. So of course we want to do that, but it’s just awareness at that time. I know that letting go and giving full right brain exposure is difficult. Like you mentioned “the fear is not true but I need to experience more of it being not true before I'll trust it.”

We’ll get there AG. And as your T stated, “The truth is that the progress is real and you can trust it.” Such a simple statement but what an impact that has.

I look forward to hearing from you and how your session goes today.
Hi JM,
I definitely meant it in the later sense, of being aware of the present especially of being aware that I am in a safe place and with someone who is attuned to me and can help me regulate the emotions. I didn't put it well and I can see where you got the impression you did.

One of the major realizations for me in working with this T was understanding just how cut off from my emotions (ie my right brain) I was. I have spent an enormous amount of energy and a myriad of coping mechanisms to avoid my feelings mainly because there was a time where they would have overwhelmed me because I didn't have resources. As the trust and sense of safety have grown with my T, so has my ability to feel my emotions and be in my right brain. And from my experience, I really have to agree with Shrinklady that the healing occurs when you are in and/or connected to your right brain.

I have formed a secure enough attachment now and am now feeling enough of my emotions to have created a lot more "space" and energy inside which is the progress I've talked about. I'm doing a lot more especially in the creative arenas. 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. Which is where the scary part comes in. But it's my awareness of safety and trust in the present that allow me to go back and feel the past, process it and heal from it.

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.

AG
quote:
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.
AG

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.

quote:
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
quote:
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.

AG
Hi AG!

quote:
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.
Scott
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: http://psychcafe.ca/eve/forums/a/tpc/f/2391009181/m/443...664#9421002664[/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.

AG
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.

Shrinklady
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.

Shrinklady
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!
JM
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

AG
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.
quote:
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)

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


ROFL!!!
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
quote:
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.

AG

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.
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