You can find it here: How to Deal with Transference on myshrink.com. This forum is actually part of Shrinklady's website myshrink.com. If you haven't done any reading there, I would highly recommend it. She's explains a lot of concepts very clearly.
Forgive the hijack and . I haven't been posting much lately, I'm on a break but didn't want to just pop in and ignore you. Glad to hear you feel less alone.
It's great to be able to read other people's experiences of ET and therapy in general. It helps with the confusion (and sometimes adds to it!) but I find it very helpful to know I'm not alone and that gives me courage
These feelings can be pretty crazy making when you start to feel them, I was very taken off guard by the intensity. I know it was an incredible relief to me to find other people who felt the same way and understood. If you haven't seen it, you might find my post on Erotic Transference on my blog helpful. Or confusing. Or both.
In any case, you'll find a lot of understanding and support here.
What gets me is that she knows, T intuition and all that, (well I "think" she knows and by that I'm 95% sure she knows!) but she's waiting for me to say it out loud! Oh T!
I am new here and happy to know that I am not alone.
I have been in therapy since June 2014. While I have been feeling a lot better now, I also became so confused of certain feelings towards my T that I did not understand. I came across this site in trying to educate myself and learned that my feelings towards her (my T) has a name and it is called transference. I gained courage and told her (5 days ago) about it. She said, "I think of you in between sessions too".
While this is a beautiful feeling, it is also very painful to me. T on the other hand is very supportive and is willing to do the work with me on how to deal with it.
I have not seen her since the revelation because my sessions with her comes every other Friday. I am still terrified of this transference thing...
Well done for telling your T about your feelings towards her. That's a big step and it's great that your T is supportive and willing to work with you on this.
So I've spent the better part of 2 days reading through this read. Marathon run I know! I faithfully read the first few pages, and then skipped ahead.
So about me: this is my first experience with therapy. I'm in marriage counselling. And just a few weeks into therapy started to develop transference for my counsellor. Thankfully I did my research and found out what it's called and how it's a natural part of therapy and how the best way to deal with it is to be open and honest about it. Due to this research I was able to bring it up in a phone call with my T as well as with my husband (I told my husband first...he was quite understanding). It was a bit embarrassing but I find that I need to talk about stuff a lot, so no matter how awkward it was I was glad to be able to talk about it. And I was so relieved when I read that talking about it is the best way to handle it!
So the feelings started after my T was being especially caring and stayed on an hour long phone call with me after a depressive episode. And then during the days that followed, he gave me a specific set of guidelines, and in doing so, I realised just how effective his counselling was. Anyway, so I started having great admiration for the way he handled things so sensitively, caringly and above all, professionally. And that admiration turned into a major crush.
I love the fact that T doesn't skirt around the issue but addresses it head on, even with my husband present. I love the feeling about being able to talk about stuff, no matter how embarrassing or weird it might be. And I absolutely love that I don't have to hide this from my husband because that would put me in a guilt coma.
Anyway, so in dealing with all this, I'm now at the stage, where I have to remind myself to focus on fixing my marriage (the reason for the counselling), and to stop obsessing about T. Obviously easier said than done.
When does the transference start to lose it's hold? What shifts?
Intellectually I know T is not perfect. But we do have some friends in common (I looked him up on Facebook) and I recently saw him at an event where I was too flustered to approach him. So we do move in similar social circles and the chances of bumping into him again are high.
Although I've brought it up with my husband a few times but I'm wondering if I should stop now because I don't want him to feel that that's all I think about. And the funny thing is, our marriage has been so much better as a result of therapy. We are handling conflict better, we are giving each other more space and we are having more sex heh.
So we both definitely want to continue. If only this pesky infatuation with my T was not there, I could just focus a little better, you know?
It doesn't bother me that it's there. It bothers me how it affects my thoughts and feelings. Some weeks I am just fine. Other weeks I'm an emotional basketcase over the smallest things.
It's great that you've been able to be open with your husband too! Do you know why it's happening? Is he providing somethign you didn't get as a child? Perhaps if you can figure out why it's happening, it will lessen.
I'm not sure transference is something you overcome. It's a human experience that we can feel with anyone, and often do, not only with T. In therapy it becomes a tool or medium through which we can fully experience our emotional spectrum as it relates to relationships in one's life. Sometimes the strength of those emotions are very powerful and when they are related to our early caregivers, they tend to come out full force in therapy.
It seems as though that is what you are experiencing, and this is your opportunity - if you have a therapist who knows how to work with this kind of issue - to work through those feelings that you had as a young child with T as a proxy for your mother. It is very, very hard work, but through it you can successfully learn to heal the pain of not having had the relationship you deserved with your mother. You can heal problems that developed for you as a result of having an absent mother. You can learn to get your needs met and feel like a whole and healthy human being.
But you have to go back to this T to work through your rupture. You might think of this rupture as a fight with your parent. You wanted something, and she wouldn't give it to you - so you stalked out. It is okay that you did this with T... as long as you go back. This episode gives you information about your feelings, your responses, your triggers. Use that information to shed light on how this situation came about and how you might do something differently next time.
Wishing you well on this journey.
I can't help with your question about ET but I thought I could maybe make a comment on the other stuff.
I agree with RT that, if at all possible, you should try to return to your T and work out what it was that made you walk out and not want to return. She should be able to handle ANYTHING you say, that's her job.
I have dealt with transference time and time again in both therapy and none therapy relationships. It is only very recently that I have begun to realise, as RT said, that transference is not something you necessarily overcome or get better from. It is actually a really useful human tool. For me, transference was also about learning to accept that having needs and desires is also OK (not something to be cured of) and that it is OK to be cared for/ loved.
I have never had a therapist who was my age (always older) but I should think that, as long as she is good at her job), it shouldn't matter. I have a good friend who I have strong motherly transference issues with and she is a year younger, so if you are asking if it is odd that you can see someone your age as a mother figure, than I think no. It is more about how the person relates to you than about age or sex or anything else.
Hope something in there helps a little.
I would love to go back but I need to be emotionally stronger. I don't want to waste her and my time by shutting down because of embarrassment.
Thanks for the support.
It is ok and safe to talk about your attachment and transference here. We understand as we are going through the same thing. Talking about it here has helped me tremendously.
I agree with RT and Liffey it would be good for you to go back to this T to work through your feelings. I don´t think it would be a waste of your time, or T´s time to go now when you are emotionally vulnerable.I know it takes a lot of courage, but it would be strong of you to work with your embarrassment and shutting down with your T.
Keep posting here how you feel about that.
Wishing you the best
- Little Me
It's possible you are experiencing both maternal and erotic transference.
I fantasise about being with my T in a sexual way but I also just want her to be my mum (it's a lot more complicated than this but basically that's what it comes down to, even though I have a very good relationship with my birth mother).
Complicated. And I've not even started to discuss this with my T because it's so hard and these feelings seem wrong to have, but they're not wrong, they are normal and not as uncommon as we think.
I will reiterate what others have said and would suggest you return to your T so that you can start to work on these feelings (easier said than done I know).
If that's not an option then there's no reason why you couldn't and shouldn't find another T and you can even start by talking about your ET with previous T.
It wouldn't be as beneficial as talking it through with previous T but they will be able to help you realise and come to terms with the feelings and help to normalise them for you.
I wish you well
I am going to buy the "BCP starter" on the myShrink website and work through the material before going back to my T. I think it would help me to successfully work through my transference and therapy sessions.
You should also check out a book called The Emotionally Distant Mother and Running on Empty. I found both helpful to understand what I didn't have as a child. Ironically, I didn't know I had unmet needs or an emotionally distant mother. I knew why I didn't like her but didn't realize what everyone else HAD. Once my mom died, all of these in love feelings came rushing to the top towards my T. I went through a very angry phase with her where she felt she was walkign a plank and at any time I was going to push her off. It was very hard and intense but we made it through.
I found that my ET is about feeling close to her. It mainly happens during my sessions when I feel connected to her. I still don't have the guts to ask her to explain why - what does a baby get that I don't that transfers into these. I've read but I guess I want to hear it from her.
As someone mentioned, view the ruptures as a fight with your parents. It will be so helpful and healing to go back and figure things out. I learned so much about myself. I learned that I was taking things wrong the entire time - misjudging her actions.
Thanks for the book referrals I am currently reading "Will I ever be good enough?" by Karyl McBride which is also a winner.
I have depression and on meds for the last 10 years, I went through a dip and decided to go and see a therapist little did I know that we would come to the realization that I had an emotional absent mother growing up. My mother also suffers from depression and it could be one of the reasons that she wasn't there for me. The confusing part for me is that in my adult life my mother and I have a close relationship. I will never bring up this finding with my mother because I can't bare it to hurt her. I almost think it was not her fault that she couldn't bond with me when I was an infant.
In my last couple of sessions it felt like I was all over the show grasping at straws and my T was just sitting there with big eyes probably thinking "What is she on about", I guess a bit of frustration from my side, I want my T to fix it and tell me what to do so that I'm not so in the dark about all this. But I guess it is a process and I need to be patient. I know now what the problem is why can't I just get over it, sometimes I irritate myself.
I have a question, do I talk to my T about my feelings for her so that I can understand my issues better, or do I just go and see her every week and talk about stuff I want to better myself?
I'll look into that book as well. My mom also suffered from depression and I now think she had bipolar tendencies. She would be in a good mood for several months and then not get out of bed for a few months. So, I never knew which mom I was going to get. My parents always told me to be determined so I have a hard time forgiving her. She could have gotten help and refused when we suggested it.
Yes, it's a long process and my T. kept telling me to stop rushing through. Most importantly, DO TELL your T. all of your feelings even the ones towards her. IT was horribly painful for me to do so in the beginning but I have learned so much about myself.
I think to better yourself you need to understand your feelings and interactions with T. As my T. said, the transference is a tool to see how our past affects us and how we are with current relationships. I really feel like most of my other relationships are fine but I can see small connections between the two.
I did the same as you - started out reading all sorts of books on mothers/emotional distance/etc. They definitely helped me figure out why I was feeling the way I was - it was articulated in ways I couldn't or I realized the type of parenting I had. I then took many of those to my therapy sessions. But, talking to her was probably just as insightful. i haven't read a book in over 6 months trying to just focus on my feelings instead of the why's.