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29 Nov 2004

Feelings for psychologist? This is not normal.
Hi Cybershrink,

I am a great fan of yours and read this forum all the time and sometimes participate in trying to help. You are just fantastic and I think you are doing a brilliant job here, so thank you for you!

I just feel the need to ask you a question, I want to know if the way I feel about my relationship with my psychologist is normal? She is going away for nearly two months...this is how I feel...

She did not even say goodbye, I phoned her today, she was still here. All I wanted was a sms, thats all. Just to say bye. Now I suppose she is gone and my heart is ripped out of my heart. Teaches me a lesson for letting myself get attached to people huh? The more you give in to people, the easier it is for them to hurt you. I have now been hurt for the last time. I cannot take her pain anymore, she affects me worse than anyone. She hurts me so easily and I dont know why. The pain is so bad that I cut myself sometimes because I allow myself to feel that way. Sort of a punishment for letting someone get to me. I think it is better I dont see her anymore and that I find someone else to talk to. She is bad for me, and I know it.

I feel so much for her and she feels nothing for me, to her I feel like just another person to cross her life, that she sees now and then. I know she is a psychologist and everything- I know that is how she is supposed to be, but then why do I feel like this? It cannot be right can it? That I feel that it is a completely one sided relationship? Is it supposed to be a realationship at all?

What is wrong with me? Why can I not accept the fact that she only sees me as a client, yet I think the world of her? I cannot go back and see her, ever again. Don't get me wrong I am not in love with her or anything, I just think so highly of her and I love her as I would a good friend. I just dont really feel worthy of her... I dont know, I need your help on this one...I am really stuck on this one.

Thank you ever so much for your time...

Answer 398 views

01 Jan 0001

Hi Wacko,
Hmm. Well, it isn't unusual for someone in therapy to grow over-attached to their therapist / shrink ; it tends to get called Transference, because it isn;t entirely deserved by the shrink herself / himself, but also a transferring of powerful emoitons one had for parents and other important people in one's life, onto the shrink. A shrink ought6 to be aware of this potential, and to deal with it.
If a shrink was to be going away on planned leave, I would expect them to notify their patients in adance, and make proper arrangements for emergency cover if this might be needed. One wouldn't normally expect an SMS of farewell. A psychologist is also expected NOT to allow themselves to become over-emotionally attached to a patient, as this is not only considered doubtful in terms of professional ethics, but lso is not good for either party --- it does not help your treatment and may make it much less effective. To expect more than that is unrealistic and unhelpful. It is supposed to be a very special type of relationship, and not like purely social relationships.
Treatment needs to be caring but not loving. You don't need a surgeon who weeps for you during surgery --- they must maintain a major degree of professional objectivity, they're there to be an expert adviser, not a lover or purely a pal. It IS supposed to be a one-sided relationship, in some ways --- it is NOT supposed to be like a friendly or loving relationship in general, where it would be entirely fair to complain of it being one-sided.
Is a surgeon being one-sided because he operates on you, but doesn't allow you to operate on him ?
I'm disappointed that your shrink apparently didn't notice or deal wth these issues with you. This shouldn't feel like a "heart ripped out" issue. But what would probably be best all round would be for you to return to your shrink when she returns from leave, and raise this very specific set of issues with her right there in the session, and deal with it. THAT can be very much productive and helpful for you.
Very understndably, but unhelpfully for you, you have fallen if not in love, then in very deep like, with your shrink. To run away from these issues and start again with someone else would not be best --- better top deal with it with the person who already knows you well.
And NLM's example of the advert is excellent. We tend to want, even if we recognize that it's not realistic, the shrink to have a unique and exclusive relationship with us, and may even resent the idea that they must have a personal and private life, as well. We can, if unwary, feel like we're being cheated on by an unfaithful shrink, simply because they see other patients too, and care, appropriately, for them, as well.
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