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Should I Switch Therapists? Sara, Nov. 4, 2008

Question:

Question is based on the posting to be found at the following URL:

http://www.mentalhelp.net/poc/view_doc.php?type=weblog&id=407&wlid=5&cn=91#wl6863

Does that mean that I should switch therapists, then? Because the one I’ve been seeing has hit on me! Though I do find him attractive (very much so, truth be told). I always seemed to manage to put that aside as I have a couple of issues that I feel really need work….plus, I’m a married woman (part of what I’ve been seeing him for, as…well, let’s just say there’s ‘trouble in paradise’…I have some unmet needs, etc.). I don’t know how it happened, but he kissed me…..and I kissed back! And though it shames me to admit it, was HOT! I guess he was attracted to me too? Because, even though I was completely open and honest w/him, I did NOT flirt (if I ever flirt with you, trust me, YOU’LL KNOW *lol*) I don’t know how to go back without the fear of things being awkward now…And I am afraid of how he feels. Does he regret it? I can’t believe I’m saying this, but part of me doesn’t want him to…. Maybe I should change therapists, as I can see now this is now become WAY too complicated than it oughtta be…Thanks for letting me vent!

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Answer:

Sara, I want to be crystal clear about this: Under no circumstances should a therapist kiss a patient or client. In addition, a therapist should never touch, hug, caress, flirt with or make any advances towards a patient. The fact that you feel attracted towards the therapist and find him to be "hot" makes no difference. In fact, patients are allowed to have their feelings.

During the course of therapy a patient will experience many feeling towards the therapist: love, lust, anger, hatred, hero worship, and etc. All of that is material for patient and therapist to learn about and understand. It is strictly forbidden for a therapist to use the emotions of a patient in order to make sexual advances.

It is the same thing whether someone is going to see their Medical Doctor, Dentist, Chiropractor, Lawyer, School Teacher and so on. It is imperative that the patient feel safe within the bounds of the treatment.

Actually, your therapist is open to litigation for kissing you and could be in danger of losing his license to practice. If you do not wish to pursue the legal route, I understand. However, by all means, find another therapist and never see this one again, nor recommend anyone you know to him.

Remember, this was His fault and Not yours.

Best of Luck

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Comments
  • Sara Steel

    Thank you doc for your honest (and QUICK) response! I don't profess to be a professional, however I am aware of the aspect of 'transference'... I do have a casual interest in psychology, btw...'how psychotherapy really works' by Willard Gaylin is one of my favorite books...*sigh* I wish I still had it :.( In all honesty, it was after reading this book that I finally decided to even GIVE therapy a try!

    I don't know...from what I can assess myself, it was a combination of really being physically attracted to him (as he IS handsome, although is notably older than I), the way he listened so intently and the way we engaged in conversations, it lulled me into feeling I was cared for, also the feeling (or perhaps it was an illusion) of him being the closest person to actually understanding me. He seemed more interested in my thoughts, feelings and opinions more than my husband ever did.....but I guess that's his JOB right (but isn't that also my HUSBAND'S?? *LOL*)?? Add to that the fact I noticed how intelligent and insightful he was (again, just part of the job requirements, right?? I realize that now.), 2 qualities I already find attractive in someone. In addition, there were times the conversations would take a turn towards HIS personal life (his opinions, personal interests and tastes, etc). I suppose this established a level of intimacy that shouldn't have even been there, yes? (I'm sure it didn't help matters that I identified much with his opinions, interests & tastes). Maybe it was an attempt to make me feel more comfortable, maybe he felt so comfortable with and/or attracted to me he forgot his place and opened up...again, I can't make an official analysis, I leave that to you, doc *wink*

    All I can say is, from what I DO know about the profession, is that none of the above should've happened. Another thing was, I referenced my difficulty about my marriage earlier. To sum it up: Once married, husband immediately proceeded to let himself go and take me for granted. He made it abundantly clear he will not attend therapy w/me. About this issue or anything else. Husband comes home tooting and scratching himself, asking what's for dinner instead of how my day went. Making a beeline for the sofa. Having his hands all over the remote control for the rest of the day, leaving me to wonder what's wrong with ME , whereas my T made subtle compliments about me that made me flutter inside, like how intelligent I am, how attractive, how I have alot going for me, what a catch I am (not his words), how I'm better off alone (w/o husband). So from this, I gathered he was attracted to me as well...as I already knew most, if not all, of what I described above was not supposed to happen. One recent session, the hour was almost up and I was crying about something that happened in my past and he moved to sit beside me and hugged me. It didn't feel sexual....but it felt SOOOOO great (especially since I haven't been held LITERALLY IN YEARS) that I leaned into him and let him when I know now that I shouldn't have. Since I was attracted to him, I avoided looking him in the eye when we finally pulled away (I guess in a feeble attempt to keep anything from happening). But when I thought he wasn't looking, he was...straight in the eye. At that point it felt like magnets drawing together, I couldn't pull away....

    Since you mention other authority figures, like teachers, I guess I seem to have a pattern for getting entangled with authority figures in the wrong way...The best example: My 1st kiss was not from a classmate, but from my teacher!!! Yet one MORE reason I need to see a shrink? Oh, goody!!! *LOL*

    I know one of the dangers of this kind of behavior is that there is a chance I'm not the only one. That the majority of the time this happens where a therapist makes a pass at a client, he does so with other clients...Now THAT thought makes me cringe!!! Eww! So much for thinking I was special *lol* j/k

    BTW, he's called me a few times since then...left me messages since I wouldn't pick up. Asking when I'm going to see him again. Haven't called back, don't know if I will, especially now. Heh...sorry, I've said too much. I don't want to bend your ear. You've been more than helpful. Thanks again!!!

  • Kriistene

    Years ago I saw a Surgeon for a procedure, my family etc had procedures, dad , brother etc. We fell for each other instantly. We have beautiful twin boys our families are happy. Is that the same? we have been together 14yrs. K

  • hale

    I came across this as I googled "therapist hits on me." This is what I am experiencing with my own. He is a good looking guy but I feel very uncomfortable when he comes onto me. I am in therapy for sexual abuse I suffered as a child and I have two options to address this. First, I can switch or my second option would be to address it with him and wait for his reaction. If he stops, then I would see if I feel comfortable again...but most likely I will be switching. It is a terrible situation for anybody to be in. Please do yourself a favor and stop yourself from being the victim. Take control of your own life and find someone who is confident and not creepy.

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