Pre-occupation with therapist

by Sue
(Charleston, SC)

I'm in therapy for the first time in my life (for depression) and after a year find myself very pre-occupied with my therapist. It's not a sexual attraction, more of a dependency thing (I'm heterosexual and we're both female). Anyway, I've talked with her about it, but she doesn't think it's a big deal. I do. She says it will get better with time, but it doesn't. Now I'm wondering if I'm too attached to be helped - I care too much about what she thinks, and this is both highly unusual and highly uncomfortable for me. Should I find a new therapist?


Ben's Answer:

The issues that come up interpersonally between a therapist and client, are usually the very things that need to be worked on. It's a reflection of the issues you carry from your own past. It's normal to become very attached, and emotionally intimate with a long term therapist. That can make for a powerful therapeutic experience - but it needs to be talked about. It shouldn't be disregarded, minimized, nor seen as a "problem."

A therapist often takes on the role of parent or other significant person from your past. You will automatically project that onto the therapist. By talking openly about those feelings, you have a valuable opportunity to resolve issues that you may have with those other people in your life. So don't be so quick to give up therapy because of this. But it's not nothing. Be sure your therapist recognizes the importance of these feelings and is willing to talk about it until you're feeling good about the therapy.

Take Care,
Ben Schwarcz, MFT
Santa Rosa Psychotherapist


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