In love with your therapist?

If your answer is yes, then you’re definitely not alone. It happens more often than you’d think.

Usually this isn’t the “real” love, but rather transference.

We can easily see the therapist as an ideal friend or even more, because of the way therapy works.

I’m really glad it happened to me too at some point, because it got me thinking a lot about love. About my past relationships and about love in general. I also learned a lot about myself.

This can be a great experience and help you grow in many ways, if you’re dealing with it in the right way.

For me it was a bit scary experience in the beginning, because I really didn’t want this to happen and I also didn’t quite understand what exactly was going on.

Thankfully I was surrounded by some great therapists, so I got this thing cleared up.
It wasn’t easy to process all of the emotional drama going on inside of me (dealing with BPD and CPTSD really doesn’t help here). But it wasn’t easy to start talking about it. It’s still hard sometimes.

No matter what will happen next, I will always be grateful to have met him. And to experience such intense love, even though it was just one sided. This was also the safest love experience I’ve ever had. Things might end up very bad if we’d met outside the office walls, considering my dealing with such intense emotions.

What is love actually? How do we know that we really, truly love the person on the other side?
Do we really or are we just projecting some feelings from the past, because it reminds us of some other person?

What about you, do you have any similar experience?

Further reading:
A Client’s Guide to Transference
Real Love and Transference-Love
What is Transference and Countertransference?

16 Replies to “In love with your therapist?”

  1. It’s a funny thing I don’t so much have a grasp on. I often feel badly during therapy sessions that I’m not asking questions about them! There have been several times I’ve thought to myself β€œ I wonder what they’re doing today?” Referring to my therapist. It is a testament to the power of being heard and spending quality time with someone. Powerful stuff!

  2. I used to feel bad for my therapist that she had to listen to people’s problems all day. I don’t think I was very good at the whole thing. When we tried different things like EMDR it never seemed to make a difference to me but I didn’t want to say so and make my therapist frustrated. Here’s a question: did you ever put your therapist to sleep? I had two therapists who ended up nodding off on me. It seemed like the ultimate put down!

    1. Sorry to hear about your experience. I’ve seen even worse reactions, but not with my current therapist. She also encourages me to tell if I won’t feel ok about anything that she says or do, so we can clear things out right away. Even though it’s therapeutic, it’s still a relationship and both sides need to work on it.
      Talking to your therapist about this might be a good way to sort things out as quickly as possible, so you don’t get too uncomfortable. I wish you all best in therapy.

    2. Those situations only mean that they weren’t the perfect therapists match for you. I would like to leave here the following message:
      When you are seeking professional help, be it for mental health, health issues, law issues, or whatever. Allow yourself, and be free to find someone new that will help you.
      When it comes to therapy, the other person should be the bridge between chaos and peace, not another nightmare. πŸ˜‰

  3. I would think that, with BPD, it’s having a person who helps ease the chaos.
    One of my best friends met one of my ex’s not knowing she was my ex and said she was very certain my said ex was borderline. I was dismissive, but I eventually caved saying it did make sense and I just thought nothing of it because I grew up in a sort of emotionally chaotic household.

    Factoring in that I was always good at listening and calming her down putting out perspective a lot made sense.

  4. Maja,

    I do love this post because this situation is so frequent but stills a taboo. I read the article and podcast What is Transference and Countertransference? And it only reinforces my thoughts that psychologists, psychiatrists, couples therapist or even a nurse. There should be a test that attests their emotional and cognitive capacity to work with other people.

    When dealing with emotional states and mental health issues, more than offer therapy, we need to offer real humanistic support, but also understand the only role to perform is to lead our patients to a better place. That is our mission, but there are cases where real love can happen not because it was a transference situation, but because it did happen. And when this happens, the therapist will suspend the therapy, and the patient will be followed by another professional.

    Have a lovely weekend! πŸ™‚

    1. I strongly agree about the tests for emotional and cognitive capacity.
      I’ve been saying this even before the beginning of my nursing career. But how can we achieve this?

      Real love does happen too, indeed, but transference also. It’s good to acknowledge what is going on actually on both sides. Sadly, not everybody is willing to discuss or even explore it’s own feelings. Probably because it’s a taboo, like you’ve said.

      Thanks for your thoughts Alexandra and a great weekend to you too πŸ™‚

      1. I would say that these tests should be done before the entrance of the university. This summer, in Portugal, a couple who was studying psychology in Lisbon, the man killed his girlfriend and then killed himself in jail. The reality is that many pathologies aren’t visible, and some individuals are real artists disguising them.

        I’ve seen people going to psychology to treat themselves, and have no idea of what they are doing. As I said before, mental health or health careers require people with emotional skills and mental stability to be great in what they are doing. Nursing is a very demanding career, and I hope that when you need, you seek therapy and also good social support around in times of need.

        Sending you love <3

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