How is it helpful to have romantic/sexual feelings for your therapist? - Page 2 - Mothering Forums

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#31 of 53 Old 06-08-2009, 12:39 AM
 
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OK, Since fek has approved of us talking further... I'll ask the obvious, Thirdeye, why is moving on from this thread so important? Yet you're still checking in & posting opinion quite a bit? My question is very genuine, read below.

I've enjoyed reading & learning from the pps who are courageous enough to post. I use the word "courageous" b'c its challenging, even incognito, to put personal feelings out there.

Further - Why is this topic so uncomfortable in general... (not just Thirdeye, but anyone)? Is it societal conditioning - showing true feelings (esp if societally discouraged) is "bad"? What is so bad about any of secret's feelings (again generally) to her doc, if its been so positively proven to be "normal" over a hundred years of analysis? How are so many of us afraid of this type of relationship if its truly helpful?

And, I guess most importantly, how can we move past the discomfort so that more people who may be experiencing this type of confusion can find support & help, instead of going into self-loathing and secrecy mode... when they could be instead, finally feel better again and on the road to self-love more quickly? How should we move past our own discomfort and reach out & finally help one another? Its amazing. I see some pp's frustration (my own confusion of this as well since its not something I connect with naturally), but I don't think turning it off will help. And it definitely won't help the OP of the OP.

Edited to add : on a public forum, it'd be good to remember that for every poster with a seemingly individual struggle - there could thousands of others dealing with the exact same struggle. Its important to acknowledge this.

Rambling, I'm tired... but kept thinking of this thread as I was working out tonite... so, thought I'd ask... and came back to see fek's approval! Lookin' to learn. Once again.

"When the external begins to define the internal, instead of the internal defining the external, one begins living as a mortal rather than as a universal being." ~ unknown
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#32 of 53 Old 06-08-2009, 01:19 AM
 
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Further - Why is this topic so uncomfortable in general... (not just Thirdeye, but anyone)? Is it societal conditioning - showing true feelings (esp if societally discouraged) is "bad"? What is so bad about any of secret's feelings (again generally) to her doc, if its been so positively proven to be "normal" over a hundred years of analysis? How are so many of us afraid of this type of relationship if its truly helpful?
I like what you are getting at. Sounds like you're talking about being our authentic selves. Honoring our feelings, even the "bad" ones, because they are real and they are ours and if we are discomforted by our feelings, trying to dig deep and understand ourselves better. "Know thyself," the age-old aphorism reminds us.

I think meditation helps because everything melts away and breathing is all that remains; we all share the same air, even the plants and bacteria. I think being authentic means feeling like you have a place in the world. Maybe I will start a new thread.
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#33 of 53 Old 06-08-2009, 02:08 AM
 
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I like what you are getting at. Sounds like you're talking about being our authentic selves. Honoring our feelings, even the "bad" ones, because they are real and they are ours and if we are discomforted by our feelings, trying to dig deep and understand ourselves better. "Know thyself," the age-old aphorism reminds us.

I think meditation helps because everything melts away and breathing is all that remains; we all share the same air, even the plants and bacteria. I think being authentic means feeling like you have a place in the world. Maybe I will start a new thread.
Exactly, OliveJewel... I've learned & also unlearned so very much via meditation techniques. I'm more of a solitary person, so spilling it all to a stranger was never cool to me. I get what you say here. I would not like to see threads split, b'c it all seems to flow & if someone were on this topic... it'd be so helpful for them to follow thru to where you are going with it. I suppose its up to the OP of this thread & the mods.

On what you posted here... meditation has helped me thru three divorces btwn my parental units, the death of my dad (at age 15, altho i didn't begin meditating on it til i was over 23), a molestation from my uncle (again at a very early age, but not addressed until older), a rape at 17 (same uncle), a pg loss at 24, an affair of an 8 yr serious relationship & two other very emotionally challenging events in my life that i still can't discuss yet. I never sought modern therapy, but found myself intrigued and guided/healed with meditation.

Meditation is something I'd definitely recommend checking out, if someone feels like healing but may be shy toward typical "therapy". Meditation has also led me into asana yoga (physical release) which has also been a lifesaver as well. And so much more, yoga (asana or physical yoga - there are eight branches of yoga if anyone's confused by what i'm writing... physical is only one branch) has built my overall courage up, irreplaceable!

I think we all are actually so much stronger than we think we are. The modern uses of therapists, etc are great, but we really do ALL have the strength within ourselves to find our way out of most traumas... given that we also have supportive community - which is the glitch in modern day society - if we just sit still for a minute and give attention to our sole/soul center. And can then step outside & breathe, knowing that out neighbors & family & friends are blowing us support - we can all move on. the creativity of the OP is. What could her energy be focussed upon creating in life... if she didn't feel the need to be so stifled. And, Secret... picture your own life if you weren't taking so much time focussing on things that will not give you the creative fulfillment that you're now seeking thru someone else's belief in you?? Its well worth a minute of thought.

Sorry, fek... guess if I'm not on your ignore list yet... hahahah, anyway, I do thank you for this thread anyway, its driven more thoughts than I originally wished for. graciaxo o

Yes, Olive, I guess a separate meditation therapy thread would be good... my concern is for those who see themselves as solely traditional therapy recipients... who could shy away from med, which is most helpful.

"When the external begins to define the internal, instead of the internal defining the external, one begins living as a mortal rather than as a universal being." ~ unknown
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#34 of 53 Old 06-08-2009, 01:21 PM - Thread Starter
 
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The discussion here has little (or nothing) to do with me. I was just curiuos, so I put the question out to the universe and if I feel the need to chime in further, I will. By differing opinions, I meant that some people seem to think it is helpful, some people don't.

I started a new thread so as not to derail the old thread. I could care less if this one gets derailed.
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#35 of 53 Old 06-08-2009, 01:23 PM
 
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I think just about anything can be effective if it's effective. If it’s interfering with your life and personal relationships it’s clearly not effective.

Again, that's "just" my opinion.

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#36 of 53 Old 06-08-2009, 03:44 PM
 
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I have to agree with all of this. I also do not think this is what is meant by transference. Transference is more like looking up to the therapist or having very warm feelings like those in a close friendship. Having repeated fantasies about seducing your therapist is not normal. OP said that if she had a root canal done she would feel the same for the dentist. I think this is key. OP is seeking that kind of relationship with another man (for various reasons that I don't really care about). It has nothing to do with transference whatsoever.
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#37 of 53 Old 06-08-2009, 05:02 PM
 
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I have to agree with all of this. I also do not think this is what is meant by transference. Transference is more like looking up to the therapist or having very warm feelings like those in a close friendship. Having repeated fantasies about seducing your therapist is not normal. OP said that if she had a root canal done she would feel the same for the dentist. I think this is key. OP is seeking that kind of relationship with another man (for various reasons that I don't really care about). It has nothing to do with transference whatsoever.
This is not an accurate definition of transference. People transfer all kinds of feelings onto their therapist - rage, issues with authority, love, attachment, not just gratitude for assistance.

The relationship between a psychotherapist (whether it is a psychiatrist, psychologist, pastoral counselor, social worker, whatever) is fundamentally different from that between a person and any other professional.

Do some research into any academic material for the training and continuing education for psychotherapists and you will see that transference is much more than what you are suggesting here.
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#38 of 53 Old 06-08-2009, 05:12 PM
 
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This is not an accurate definition of transference. People transfer all kinds of feelings onto their therapist - rage, issues with authority, love, attachment, not just gratitude for assistance.

The relationship between a psychotherapist (whether it is a psychiatrist, psychologist, pastoral counselor, social worker, whatever) is fundamentally different from that between a person and any other professional.

Do some research into any academic material for the training and continuing education for psychotherapists and you will see that transference is much more than what you are suggesting here.
I'm not saying it is limited to gratitude and warmth but is NOT continuous sexual fantasies. Anyway very few scientifically founded therapist works with transference. Research lends no support to psychotherapy I'm afraid.

I'm a psychologist btw. I think I can discuss these things without reading up on it. Transference is likely part of curriculum for some psychotherapist but then again not every therapist is well educated.

Of course the client can have all sorts of positive, negative or ambivalent feelings towards the therapist due to a number of factors: gratitude, dependence, fears, shame etc. These can be very effectively worked through without any talk of transference...
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#39 of 53 Old 06-09-2009, 12:09 AM
 
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Interesting discussion here. I'm glad I found it!

Today, I'd say many therapists use some form of transference in their work. They don't have to be Freudian or psychodynamic...

I am training at a very diverse site right now, and have had other experiences in the past as well, where there are therapists with all sorts of backgrounds and we all use some form of transference, at least when conceptualizing a client.

At this point, about 80% of my professors are either Freudian or follow the Object-Relations or Self-Psychology schools of thought...In my undergrad institution, I'd say 100% of the clinical psychologists (not developmental) were Freudian, yet I have been trained in the "empirically based treatments" as well. I still practice from a psychodynamic/analytic orientation.
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#40 of 53 Old 06-09-2009, 12:19 AM
 
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Yes, I said this, although I never said "sexual" transference is necessary. It occurs, but it certainly will not be the only type of transference that occurs in a therapeutic relationship. Transference in general is often considered essential.

And I mispoke. With a well-trained therapist, transference never interferes with the therapy. It can be a disaster if the therapist does not recognize it, or does not recognize their own counter-transference. This is why we are ethically obliged to seek supervision and consultation.
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#41 of 53 Old 06-09-2009, 01:49 PM
 
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Hi, there! Posts have been removed that discussed member behavior, quoted other threads, etc or referenced posts that did. I apologize for the thread gutting, but it was necessary for this thread's return. I apologize for the loss of continuity.

A spin-off occurs when a topic is brought up in another thread that a member feels is worthy of its very own discussion. Please see an explanation of how to effectively spin-off here. In this case, a topic was spun off for better understanding of a mental health topic to not derail another thread, and that's fine Spin-offs, however, are not to be used to discuss member behavior or to quote members from other threads or discuss the actions of another member, diagnose or criticize another thread or member. The User Agreement requires that we:

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Please keep the topic of this thread focused on transference and your personal experience, opinions, etc. rather than about another thread or member other than yourself. Further discussion of member behavior will result in this thread's removal so thanks for your cooperation. Please PM me with any concerns

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#42 of 53 Old 06-09-2009, 02:52 PM
 
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Right on! Thanks for bringing it back! The conspiracy theorist laying deep inside was ready to call conspiracy!

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#43 of 53 Old 06-09-2009, 05:48 PM
 
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Hi, there! Posts have been removed that discussed member behavior, quoted other threads, etc or referenced posts that did. I apologize for the thread gutting, but it was necessary for this thread's return. I apologize for the loss of continuity. ...
Thank you, thank you, thank you. THANK YOU!!!!! :

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#44 of 53 Old 06-15-2009, 01:53 AM
 
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Well, IMO, transference can only happen when someone is not stable, so the firefighter reference is only valid in cases of mental instability. For instance, for most people, it would be: fire/call for help/rescue/thank you/the end. But for people like my MIL, it would be fire/call for help/thank you/I need you now/what can I do to put you into my life now/I think I'll find a way to see you again/you're my hero....etc.... rinse and repeat..( firefighters, neighbors, boyfriends, DIL's.....)

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#45 of 53 Old 06-15-2009, 01:29 PM
 
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Well, IMO, transference can only happen when someone is not stable, so the firefighter reference is only valid in cases of mental instability. For instance, for most people, it would be: fire/call for help/rescue/thank you/the end. But for people like my MIL, it would be fire/call for help/thank you/I need you now/what can I do to put you into my life now/I think I'll find a way to see you again/you're my hero....etc.... rinse and repeat..( firefighters, neighbors, boyfriends, DIL's.....)
As this discussion has taken place, it seems to me that transference is kind of like "projecting." Like if your husband is mad at his boss and then takes it out on you when he comes home. That would be like he is "transferring" the emotions directed at his boss to you and then you can either recognize that he is transferring and help him work through his frustration or just mirror it back to him and get mad at him for being mad at you.

In the case of the crush on the therapist, a person could be transferring feelings that they had for their husband when they first met or feelings from a past relationship where they felt really secure. Then if the therapist picks up on that (or is told that by the client) he/she can help the client to understand why they feel so safe and protected in therapy and especially why they do *not* feel so safe and protected with their partner.

This is just my take on it. It seems like this topic has about as many different opinions as could be had. Some people say it is not neccessary but it just happens sometimes. Some people say it is completely neccessary. Some people think it was only a part of therapy in the past, but is completely irrelevent today and can actually interfere with therapy. I think they're all right! Because therapy is such an individualized process.
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#46 of 53 Old 06-15-2009, 03:36 PM
 
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Well, IMO, transference can only happen when someone is not stable, so the firefighter reference is only valid in cases of mental instability. For instance, for most people, it would be: fire/call for help/rescue/thank you/the end. But for people like my MIL, it would be fire/call for help/thank you/I need you now/what can I do to put you into my life now/I think I'll find a way to see you again/you're my hero....etc.... rinse and repeat..(firefighters, neighbors, boyfriends, DIL's.....)
For those just tuning in, there was considerable discussion in the beginning about what transference is as it pertains to therapy and OliveJewel posted a description at post #4 for readers; however, I will put the link here, too, for anyone just tuning in: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Transference

Hi, Mountaingirl79,
I appreciate your view. Transference (like projection (but not the same)), mentioned by OliveJewel (above)) can happen inside or outside of therapy because we are humans. The astutely trained therapist can identify transference and manage it without ever using the word "transference" to the client. Your "IMO" above does indicate (to me) that you are among the few who understand the analogous fire-firefighter question (with parts a. and b.) presented by poster Carley, who was trying to apply a specific point about a specific situation, now removed. MG79, as you point out above, choice a. is by far the better choice. For those ppl who are in therapy or not, in a state of transference (or projection) and don't recognize it, or recognize it and ignore it, there can be all kinds of havoc in their relationships that affect those around them to the point of destroying those relationships, as such, instability. (I wish my magic wand was working!)

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So what about counter-transference? Say the patient discloses their feelings for the therapist and he responds by admitting his own "special" feelings... Is this helpful to anyone? (Hypothetical situation, of course. )
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#48 of 53 Old 06-15-2009, 04:58 PM
 
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So what about counter-transference? Say the patient discloses their feelings for the therapist and he responds by admitting his own "special" feelings... Is this helpful to anyone? (Hypothetical situation, of course. )
When are you going to get this straight? No one is allowed to have feelings for anyone! : (Hypothetically speaking, of course!
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#49 of 53 Old 06-15-2009, 05:33 PM
 
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When are you going to get this straight? No one is allowed to have feelings for anyone! : (Hypothetically speaking, of course!


Self-disclosure from a medical professional crosses professional boundaries & is unethical when the disclosure indicates feelings of "love," "attraction" or sexual desire. These feelings are personal, not professional, and the disclosure of them is excessive, hence unethical, and distinguishes the role of the professional as having a personal relationship with the patient.

Further, self-disclosure of "special feelings" towards a patient who is emotionally vulnerable (say she was in a "bad" marriage and considering leaving her husband, emotionally unregulated or hyposexual) would be a definite step over ethical and legal boundaries.

One good way to tell if it's unethical or helpful is to ask yourself these questions:

1) Did the therapist's admission of "special feelings" change your view of his role as a professional service provider into something more? Does it make you feel special?

2) Do you feel you can disclose this scenario to someone else? Do you feel your therapist could disclose the scenario to the American Psychological Assocation Ethics Commitee? American Medical Association Ethics Comittee?

How would you feel if the therapist did disclose the scenario to the aforementioned?

3) Does the scenario change the focus of your therapy? Are you distracted from your reasons for being in therapy?

4) Would you consider this scenario appropriate or helpful if it was between you and your gynocologist? Your daughter and her pediatrician? You husband and his therapist?

Think about it.

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#50 of 53 Old 06-15-2009, 07:07 PM
 
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I removed posts that were either UAVs or quoting them.
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And please start a separate thread if you'd like to discuss a different topic other than transference (see post #41 for spin-off guidelines) or if you'd like to discuss your personal circumstances to gain insight and information. It's going to really help keep this thread on the board and within the UA. Please PM me with any further questions rather than posting to this thread. Thanks!

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#52 of 53 Old 06-16-2009, 08:45 PM
 
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Here is how I understand transference, sexual, platonic, or otherwise:

Insofar as the patient/client is the same person in the therapy room as she or he is outside of it, it is natural that patterns of relating will in a sense "replicate" themselves with the therapist. Things about the therapist that are similar to the important people (or "objects") in the patient/client's past or current life will elicit a particular response in the patient/client. Difficulties in relating "out there" will inevitably happen with the therapist, and very often the therapist will feel a particular pressure or urge to respond or meet the patient with the complementary set of feelings or behaviors. This is where a therapist's training comes in. It's his or her job to understand, identify, and illuminate these phenomena in ways that can be helpful. If these are identified and worked through between the therapist and patient, then the patient has an experiential base from which to go forth and create better relationships in his or her life.

A sexual countertransference is helpful on many different levels, depending upon what the presenting issue is. If an individual is experiencing sexual feelings for the therapist, it's an opportunity to explore how he or she is functioning in this fundamental part of his or her life. Often, the ability to feel or express sexual feelings for the therapist is a sign of deep trust and connectedness, a sign that the patient is able and willing, perhaps for the first time, to allow herself to be so vulnerable. How the therapist handles the sexual transference is, in turn, a measure of his or her caliber as a clinician. It is one of the hardest situations a clinician can find herself in.

In many ways, the therapeutic relationship is, or should be, a sort of safe experimental space, a "lab" of sorts, where an individual can explore the ways in which his or her ways of relating are or are not working.

As a clinician, I love watching "In Treatment" (some of my colleagues hate it), and constantly find myself saying, "Gosh, he gets more done in a single highly idealized sessions than most of us get through in months." I also find myself saying, "If my patients talked or emoted the way Paul Weston's patient's did, my job would be easy, indeed!" One of the hardest things to learn to sit with as a therapist are the long, heavy silences. Anger, open hostility, and even sexual transference at least give you something to work with, something to grab on to.
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#53 of 53 Old 06-17-2009, 12:37 AM
 
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Here is how I understand transference, sexual, platonic, or otherwise:

Insofar as the patient/client is the same person in the therapy room as she or he is outside of it, it is natural that patterns of relating will in a sense "replicate" themselves with the therapist. Things about the therapist that are similar to the important people (or "objects") in the patient/client's past or current life will elicit a particular response in the patient/client. Difficulties in relating "out there" will inevitably happen with the therapist, and very often the therapist will feel a particular pressure or urge to respond or meet the patient with the complementary set of feelings or behaviors. This is where a therapist's training comes in. It's his or her job to understand, identify, and illuminate these phenomena in ways that can be helpful. If these are identified and worked through between the therapist and patient, then the patient has an experiential base from which to go forth and create better relationships in his or her life.

A sexual countertransference is helpful on many different levels, depending upon what the presenting issue is. If an individual is experiencing sexual feelings for the therapist, it's an opportunity to explore how he or she is functioning in this fundamental part of his or her life. Often, the ability to feel or express sexual feelings for the therapist is a sign of deep trust and connectedness, a sign that the patient is able and willing, perhaps for the first time, to allow herself to be so vulnerable. How the therapist handles the sexual transference is, in turn, a measure of his or her caliber as a clinician. It is one of the hardest situations a clinician can find herself in.

In many ways, the therapeutic relationship is, or should be, a sort of safe experimental space, a "lab" of sorts, where an individual can explore the ways in which his or her ways of relating are or are not working.

As a clinician, I love watching "In Treatment" (some of my colleagues hate it), and constantly find myself saying, "Gosh, he gets more done in a single highly idealized sessions than most of us get through in months." I also find myself saying, "If my patients talked or emoted the way Paul Weston's patient's did, my job would be easy, indeed!" One of the hardest things to learn to sit with as a therapist are the long, heavy silences. Anger, open hostility, and even sexual transference at least give you something to work with, something to grab on to.
Vishapmama, that was beautifully articulated! Makes me wish I could go back in time with my therapy and really get down to the nitty gritty. Oh well! I really like the part where you talked about how working through the transference issues gives the client an experiential base from which to draw from. That makes so much sense!
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