Need help breaking free from addiction?
Call 24/7 for treatment options. Who Answers?

Is It Transference Or A Real Crush?


I’m a 19 year old lesbian and am having some sort of difficulty with my new support worker. I’ve only seen her three times so far, but within ten minutes of seeing her for the first time, I realised how beautiful she was and how great her accent sounded (which is really only one very small reason why I like her so much). The first session went well, but I couldn’t stop my thoughts heading back into the “She’s gorgeous” direction. She’s the 4th person I’ve been referred to see so far. I felt the other three didn’t really help me very much and I didn’t feel comfortable talking to them much. However, I do feel comfortable talking to my new one, but it’s hard because I kind of censor the things I tell her because I want her to like me. I can’t stop thinking about her. She was my first thought in the morning and last thought at night. Usually my crushes develop after months of knowing the person, but after only a day or two I knew I was crushing on her. My third session wasn’t one on one so I didn’t really get to speak to her much or see her much really. But when I did I could feel my eyes kind of locate her and stay put until I felt ashamed and looked away. Sorry, my question is, I’m, according to the Wikipedia article, on Transference. That’s when someone reminds you of someone from your past. So I know it’s not that. It has nothing to do with her devoting an hour of her time to listen to me because I wouldn’t mind if she talked for the hour or no one talked. I just want to be near her. During the 2nd session I just wanted to get up, go over to her and kiss her. I didn’t of course, but it did cross my mind. I don’t want her to get into trouble and I don’t even know if she’s gay and, if she was, I doubt she’d like me. Do you suggest I tell her that I’m crushing on her, or would that just make things awkward? Would she still want to continue see me if I tell her? I want her to like me and that might make her not want to see me anymore. And yes, she knows I’m gay, I told her during the 2nd session and she reacted positively (or maybe she had to because it’s part of her job…). I’m scared that if this continues I’m going to start to fall for her, hard and fast. I just don’t know what to do. I crave her touch.

This Disclaimer applies to the Answer Below
  • Dr. Schwartz responds to questions about psychotherapy and mental health problems, from the perspective of his training in clinical psychology.
  • Dr. Schwartz intends his responses to provide general educational information to the readership of this website; answers should not be understood to be specific advice intended for any particular individual(s).
  • Questions submitted to this column are not guaranteed to receive responses.
  • No correspondence takes place.
  • No ongoing relationship of any sort (including but not limited to any form of professional relationship) is implied or offered by Dr. Schwartz to people submitting questions.
  • Dr. Schwartz, Mental Help Net and CenterSite, LLC make no warranties, express or implied, about the information presented in this column. Dr. Schwartz and Mental Help Net disclaim any and all merchantability or warranty of fitness for a particular purpose or liability in connection with the use or misuse of this service.
  • Always consult with your psychotherapist, physician, or psychiatrist first before changing any aspect of your treatment regimen. Do not stop your medication or change the dose of your medication without first consulting with your physician.

The difficulty in attempting to answer your question is that it is unclear what you mean when you say this woman is your “support worker.” I do not know if she comes to your apartment and delivers some type of practical service or if she is your psychotherapist.

It sounds very much like she is doing psychotherapy with you, but, I am not certain. The answer has a lot to do with how to answer your question. So, let me begin with this explanation:

There is no difference between transference and a “real crush.” Transference reactions happen all the time with everyone we meet, from friends to lovers. Your feelings towards this woman are both transference and crush.

What you need to ask yourself is this: “When was the last time I felt this way?” What I mean by that is when did you last fear that someone might not like you if you told them you are a lesbian? That is where the transference is for you. Your fear is that you might turn her away from you if you reveal how you feel sexually and romantically to her. Knowing when you first had these types of doubts might help you understand your reaction to her a lot better.

I get the sense, or, I am intuiting from your E. Mail, that you fear that you might try to kiss her or make some type of inappropriate gesture towards her if you continue to feel this way.

My thought or idea is that it would be better for you to discuss with her the feelings and fears you have been having towards her. Talking over both your sexual feelings and your fears could help you accept, within yourself, what you are experiencing, and help her to understand you a lot better.

Caution: You and she have a professional relationship and that means that neither of you can or should do anything. The idea is to use words and learn. It would be the same if you were heterosexual and she was a handsome man. The rule is “No Action, and Only Words to help learn.” Remember: No action, even if she feels the same as you.

In fact, I would strongly advise you to start the conversation by telling her that “you know this is professional and you have no intention of doing anything, but, you want to let her know that you find her attractive and fear she will not like you if you admit to your feelings.

After all, she is there to help you and this is part of it. There are plenty of women who are lesbians in the outside world who you could meet and fall in love with and the same for her, regardless of her sexual orientation.

Best of Luck

More "Ask Dr. Schwartz" View Columnists

Want to get help, but not ready to talk? Find Out More