My Beautiful Therapist

I have been seeing a therapist for over four years now, he is male, I am female I am a few years older than him. I was first sent to him by a "third party" who knows both of us (my pastor) I am married and my therapist is married both of us for over 20 years. After I had been seeing "my therapist" for about a year my pastor decided that the two of us were "becoming too close"(the therapist and I) and he wanted the therapist to stop seeing me. He ask that the therapist stop, and because the church was paying for the therapy, the therapy was ended. I was heart broken and was in the hospital for many weeks because of this. Several months passed and I called the therapist even though he had said he could never see me again, because I was too attached to him, and after talking for a long time he agreed to start seeing me again (as a private pay client with no third party involved). The therapist was by then in his own office with no one in charge but him. From the very first time we met we seemed to like each other, there seemed to be this easy flow of talk between us and there was something "more" though I could not for the life of me "put my finger" on what it was I was feeling toward this man and his reactions to me were well "different" but I was just slow I guess. I had not even thought in the terms of "the male female "interaction" in so long. It took me a few session to realize that "this man was HOT" wow" how odd. And took me even longer to realize he "LIKED ME". He said many things in passing at first that I though at the time (WOW did I just hear that) but I felt too foolish to stop him at the time and ask) "wait what was that", partly because I knew he was saying things that he was not suppose to say and I did not want to call him on it and because I did not want him to feel he had to change what he had just said. Yes I was and am crazy about the man. He has told me so much about his life, as a child a boy a teen (the first time he had sex) his marriage his mom and dad his sisters brothers, his friends, what happens at work, his doctors visits, his health, things at home, his son, he has told me that he is attached to me and that he does not attached to many people at all and not to any of his other clients. He says he cares more for me than his other clients. He has hugged me in the past, but says now that if we hug he is afraid it would lead to more. That if we hug it would stir up more feelings. But that it is not easy to tell me no.He calls me in between sessions just to talk. He has told me he is highly sexed, and that he moves a lot durning sex, and that sex with his wife is "like ok let's get this done so we can get some sleep". Often in our session we both get upset and it is more like just a man and a woman in a relationship getting mad, hurt, and upset and then he calls me the next day to see if I am ok. I use to call him but I stopped that a year or so ago, and low and behold he made the call, and he has been the one to call since then. He has been a good therapist and has helped me in many areas. So much of the time we are just two people a man and a woman who like each other a lot spending an hour alone together behing closed doors. So what do you think? What's going on?

Ben's Answer:

This is 100% unprofessional and unethical behavior on the part of your therapist. Whatever the feelings might be between you, his sexual comments, and extreme personal openness with you about himself and his intimate life are just plain wrong and extremely dangerous. You said you were in the hospital after you couldn't see him anymore... and yet he not only took you back as a client, but then proceeded to remove nearly all professional boundaries. You are paying him for a service and he's calling you for his own gratification. Wrong on so many levels, I'm sorry to say. I've seen people get very wounded by therapists who do this, and then need to see another therapist just to heal from the emotional abuse of the last.

Therapy can be extremely intimate, honest and loving without the therapist using the client for their own ego or sexual gratification. When a therapist tells you about their sex life, and says you are their most "special" client - it is a big red flag. You are there to work on your feelings - not to soothe his.

There is nothing wrong with falling in "love" or having a crush on your therapist. It's very common. Handled in the right way, you can move past it, and it can strenthen the therapy relationship and evolve into a more trusting relationship (with very good boundaries). A good therapist will handle that with dignity, respect and kindness and will NOT then use their power to gratify themselves. Your therapist is very misguided.

I'm sorry if this feedback is upsetting. He may have helped you with things and you may have real feelings for each other, but this behavior has no place in a therapist-client relationship.

You might benefit from a session with another therapist, just to get their opinion about all this.

I wish you the best.

Ben Schwarcz, MFT

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