Psychotherapy - Transference
June 30, 2014 8:01 AM Subscribe
I have been seeing an older male psychotherapist (psychodynamic/analytic orientation, I guess) for a year to deal with issues related to my divorce, self-esteem, trauma, grief, and so on. At 34, I am finally resolved to living a conscious life and so I decided to commit myself to long-term psychotherapy. Our sessions have been fairly productive--I have gained some insight into the faulty and harmful ways I deal with men, and have accessed deep wells of grief that I had repressed for a long time. My shrink is (was) wonderful....until...
posted by Jaspersen145 to Human Relations (33 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
About three months ago I revealed to him, quite bashfully, that I "preened for him" before sessions. His response was to tell me "did you ever think the feeling might be mutual" and "if I acted on my feelings it would be incestuous and exploitative." He also asked if "I want there to be sexual tension between us." So, I left with the impression that he did indeed acknowledge a certain kind of sensual chemistry between us, that he probably found me attractive and harbored his own (to what degree I don't know) fantasies about us. But he held the boundaries and was adamant that nothing would ever happen.
Fast forward to this past month. In session he asked me what my fantasies were. I simply said "I wish I could be your mistress." He laughed and said "How do you know I want a mistress." I said something to the effect that it was a hypothetical scenario (thought this was patently obvious!). He said "so you want me to be deep inside, skin to skin, as close as two people can be?" Then he said "are you afraid that your feelings aren't reciprocated"
I said, well, of course, but expressed that he did indicate some mutuality ( I forget my exact words).
He looked extremely uncomfortable and said "you think I am preening for you? Lusting after you? You are wrong. I have never thought of you sexually. Ever. It would be inappropriate. "
I felt dead inside--as if I had been gas-lighted. Told him that I felt betrayed, led on, etc. His anger was palpable when I said that he could no longer be my therapist because some fundamental trust was broken and I needed a therapist who was congruent between sessions. I left and he muttered a sarcastic "good luck" as I closed the door behind me.
Two days later I called him, in tears, asking him to basically take me back. Told him in the next session that I could not bear the thought of not seeing him again (in the ensuing days after the fatal session I was on the bathroom floor at work sobbing). He called what happened a "misunderstanding" basically.
Is it harmful if I continue with this therapist? I vacillate between wanting to be a "good patient" and continuing despite the pain and wanting to leave.
I wish I could find a story similar to mine, but could not (seduced and then punished by a therapist), which is why I am posting here. Was I seduced? Punished? What the hell happened?