Relationship with Therapist

Question: “I have been in counseling for almost two years. My parents are divorced and my dad was out of the picture most of the time. I am divorced and remarried. I have had hardly no men role models in my life and have had a problem being shy or snotty around priesthood holders at church. My feelings for my counselor have been changing lately and I think about him a lot. Almost to much and i am wondering if I’m just obsessing about him because he is a positive male role model in my life or if its nothing. And should i continue to see him?”

Answer: Great to hear that you are working through some of the family of origin issues. Sounds like with your parents divorce and your subsequent divorce then remarriage that some counseling would help you ferret through your past and get a sense of what happened and how it impacted you. Most importantly though, how you can move forward with your life and remain happily married now. You mentioned that you become shy or snotty when around ecclesiastical leaders at church. I don’t have all the history but wonder if these men in authority or power are subconsciously seen by you as ones that may abandon or checkout on you? What does your husband think about the behaviors at church, has he seen them? How do you act around him, can you trust him? Do you find yourself snotty or shy around him? Answers to these questions will help you better delineate what and why you are acting in that manner around them at church. Now, with respect to the therapist you are seeing, I have few questions. How often are you in session? Weekly? Do you feel the relationship during session is healthy, meaning that you feel like the client and he is the therapist? You may be seeing him as more of a friend and be developing a new perception of your relationship to him, I am not fully sure.  Could you potentially be meeting your emotional needs that you did not have met by your father, now with this therapist? Might you be meeting these needs with the therapist as they are not met by your current husband? I realize I have posed lots of questions here, but I want you to think through them and the answers to them will help you figure out why you are thinking about him so much. You mentioned that “feelings for my counselor have been changing lately and I think about  him a lot.” What feelings changed? What were they before? When you do think about him what is it that you think about? Is it romantic, dreamy, or otherwise? If you are thinking or finding it difficult to not think in those terms I just listed it may be time to get another therapist. In order for him to help you, it is imperative that it be a client-therapist relationship. If you have in fact been seeing him for sessions for two years you may have developed consciously or not a relationship that is beginning to go beyond treatment and actually into a relationship itself. I’d recommend thinking through what I have written here and then if you will, bring the feelings you are having up with your therapist next time you meet. You and him can dialogue it and sift through what you are feeling then follow the course he directs you in. At times, clients can start seeing their therapists as best friends and the boundaries get diffuse and the therapeutic relationship becomes blurry. Let me know how it goes; post a comment to this thread after you talk with him.