Falling In Love With The Therapist: Erotic Transference And Psychotherapy

E. Mail Samples:

1) "......Erotic transference at first feels like falling in love and has a euphoric quality, but my experience is that it has the potential to be quite emotionally damaging and lingering. For me, after nearly two years, there is still a deep longing, restlessness, and melancholy that will not subside. The pain is also much deeper than a regular crush/unrequited love. It's described as torturous by some of the patients on this website and I think that pretty much sums it up. Also, it seems there are different forms of transference, and my experience is with the most serious – eroticized transference.

they've made a wrong move. But I have to say, with all due respect, that many therapists appear to be clueless and have no idea how to deal with this or understand what the patient is going through...... For me, it's an experience that is unprecedented in its intensity and will probably stay with me."

2) "...a part of my brain was pricked during therapy and a poison was released and I can't clear it out. I've also thought about writing about my experience in hopes it would help the pain go away..."

3) "I've been in psychodynamic therapy for over 10 years with a female therapist. I have suffered eroticized transference to her for nearly the whole time. While I have become accustomed to the idea of it, recognizing that it derives from my deficient attachment to my neglecting mother as a young child, for several years this was highly upsetting to me, as I am a heterosexual married female. 

I have discussed my feelings with my therapist at length.  Still we are stuck......

This doctor is committed to my healing. Her boundaries are in tact. She has helped me in rebuilding my life in countless other ways. Yet, the pain of missing her and yearning for her remains."

Discussion:

These three are excellent examples of the types of pain some people have experienced in the erotic transference to their therapists. These patients are women but the erotic transference happens to male patients in relation to female therapists or homosexually to male therapist.

This is what is called transference. When transference involves sexual feelings it is called erotic transference.

Transference:

Transference refers a person bringing their past experiences into the relationship with the therapist. The most important types of experiences that are transferred are those carried from earliest infancy but are not remembered. Those early experiences are repressed (forgotten) and, later, become attached to the inappropriate figure of the therapist in the present. The therapist is inappropriate because he cannot gratify wishes coming from the past. In terms of psychoanalytic psychotherapy this is called transference neurosis. In other words, the patient reenacts those experiences from early childhood in the therapeutic relationship. This "transference neurosis becomes the focal point of the therapy and the ultimate cure. Just for clarification, it is important to keep in mind that even though a person has a "forgotten memory" tha is remains stored in the brain where it can interfere with how that person functions.

Transference occurs in all types of psychotherapy. Therapists who use cognitive behavioral therapy, brief psychotherapy, family therapy and group therapy, can become the target of transference feelings and wishes. In the other types of therapy, the therapist does not focus on transference. In these cases, there is no need to intensity the therapeutic relationship because that is not the goal of the treatment. Instead, the focus is on the here and now in the life of the patient and not on the past.

It is only in psychoanalysis or long term psychoanalytic therapy that the transference is discussed in detail and resolved before the patient is ready to leave treatment. One of the major features of psychoanalytic therapy is that it is very intense. That intensity is fostered by the fact patient and therapist meet three or more times per week. When patient and therapist discuss the transference treatment is further intensified.

The therapist must be fully aware of the power of the patients transference feelings and never allow him or herself to be seduced and act upon those feelings. For one thing, patient transference emotions are not realistic. Instead of acting, the therapist must provide a safe and secure environment in which relationship problems can be unraveled, and understood in order that this person can resume their lives in ways that are healthier and more fulfilling than previously.

Types of Transference:

In other types of psychotherapy it is hoped for that the relationship between therapist and patient is a positive one. This is called a "positive transference" and the positive nature of the relationship is what makes the work possible. It is difficult to accomplish cognitive behavioral therapy if the patient has angry feelings towards the therapist. Of course, this can happen but the work is then to look at the patient's thoughts, determine if there is evidence for those thoughts and then look at more realistic ways of thinking. This far different from psychoanalytic psychotherapy. Even if the patient mentions some feelings about the therapist the focus remains on the present time in the life of this individual.

Sometimes a person may develop a "negative transference" to the therapist, meaning that the therapist has lost the trust of his patient. The angry feelings are so intense that, in most circumstances, the patient leaves the treatment.

There are many reasons a patient might develop a negative transference towards the therapist. The very young and childlike feelings of the patient cause him to believe that the therapy charges should be much lower. After all, would mommy or daddy charge money for care? Another reason might be that the therapist takes vacations and this is viewed as unfair. In this case, the wish of the patient might be to go on vacation with the therapist or to feel very abandoned when he leaves for vacation. Then, too, it is common for children to wish they could be the only child in the family. In the context of therapy this can lead to resentment of and jealously towards the therapists other patients.

There is something called an "idealizing transference" in which the patient holds the therapist in the highest regard possible. In fact, such a person may identify with and want to become like the therapist. In such cases, the individual may decide to pursue a career in psychology or mental health. Other people with such a transference may wish to emulate the therapist but in the way of pursuing higher educational goals. This idealizing transference is very positive and often leads to the successful completion of many therapies with the patient going on to become quite successful.

Erotic transference:

Erotic transference is just what it implies. It occurs when the transference begins to include sexual feelings directed to the person of the therapist. Because of the nature of erotic transference, the patient is yearning for and even demanding sexual intercourse. This patient is convinced that only when the therapist satisfies these cravings can real happiness be achieved. The patient explains that only in this way can the love of the therapist be proven. There is a repetitive and compulsive nature to these demands. Frequently, the flip side of the erotic transference is hatred. This hatred is expressed through the endless demands for the love and sexual attentions that is so desired.

Erotic transference does not always occur. In other words, there is nothing inevitable about it. The reason why one patient develops an erotic transference and another does not has a lot to do with the patient's diagnosis and therefore, with the types of things they experienced from their earliest life. A person who may have felt ignored or neglected by their parents may become someone who has endless cravings that are placed onto the therapist. In this type of scenario, the patient actually believes that the therapist has the power to gratify these wishes and that such gratification would be curative. Of course, this is never true.

There are times when the erotic transference cannot be resolved and the patient leaves treatment angry and disappointed. I suspect this is what happened in cases #1 and #3.  In fact, case #3 went on for ten years and ended unsuccessfully.

The fact is that the purpose of all psychotherapy is to help the patient improve their functioning. Therefore, in the context of psychoanalysis, it is the goal to resolve the transference, erotic or not, in order that the patient find appropriate intimate partners in the outside world and live well adjusted lives. This translates into the patient entering into adult relationships in the outside world where they can live fully intimate and satisfying lives with the appropriate type of partner who can gratify adult wishes for love, sexuality and family.

Transference, erotic transference and therapist training:

One of the pre conditions for those psychiatrists, psychologists and clinical social workers who become psychoanalysts is that they receive many years of their own psychoanalysis. The reason for this is that they come to make conscious and come to understand their individual transference issues. In addition to their own therapy, these types of therapists receive large numbers of hour of supervision for their psychoanalytic cases. The purpose is to help them come to grips with the powerful transference feelings that the patient brings to the office and places in them.

In fact, long after their training and supervision are done, psychoanalytic therapists meet either in groups or on an individual basis to receive continued supervision and guidance with the patients presenting especially challenging transference problems.

All of this training and supervision and ongoing education is necessary because of the powerful nature of transference, whether it be erotic, negative, idealizing or seemingly absent or blank.

Did the therapists seen by case 1 and 3 seek supervision with these difficult cases? There is no way to know but one hopes this was true. It is even respectable and permissible for a therapist to refer the patient to another therapist in order to help the transference move along. The purpose is not to reject the patient, although there is always the risk of a patient feeling rejected. However, it is sometimes necessary to refer to someone with greater skill and ability, if nothing else works.

Do all therapist receive this type of training?

The answer to the above question is largely "no" because not all therapists are psychoanalytic. Cognitive behavioral therapists work in a very different way, in which the relationship with the patient is important but looked at in terms of present day thinking that leads to depression or anxiety. In addition, the training that psychiatrists receive today is largely non psychoanalytic as compared to thirty years ago. Psychiatry tends to look at mental illness biologically and neurologically. Therefore, their approach tends to be more medication oriented. Certainly, people trained to become marriage and family therapists do not dwell on transferential issues but on patterns of interaction within the family.

None of this implies that these professionals are not excellent. It only means that the way they see mental illness and work with people is quite different and equally if not more effective than psychoanalytic therapy.

Who should go for psychoanalytic psychotherapy?

If an individual wants to learn more about their inner mind, their unconscious self and their deeper motivations, then psychoanalysis is a good idea. I suspect, and there is some research to support my suspicion, that some people with personality disorders can benefit a lot from psychoanalytic therapy. I have also found that people in the arts, such as musicians, painters, actors and writers, are helped a lot in their personal and professional pursuits because the very nature of psychoanalysis helps them unlock their creativity.

This is a complex issue. Therefore, I invite the reader to submit questions, in addition to making comments and sharing experiences.

Allan N. Schwartz, PhD

Comments
  • Anonymous-1

    Interesting information. One blindspot is that clients often leave therapy as a result of actual abusive treatment, which has nothing to do with transference. Inflated fees say more about the therapist's bloated sense of entitlement therapists can try to seduce their patients or be overly concerned with their own problems, and even in the throes of an erotic transference the patient remains aware when a therapist is rude or abusive and will opt to leave rather than pay to be treated badly or intentionally hurt. An idealised transference usually is as illusionary as a negative transference - not everyone measures success through academic achievement or becoming a therapist. Why would a therapist wish to make carbon copies of him/herself? Hero worship and emulation is dangerous as everyone has flaws and a failure to recognise another person's humanity - good and bad features, is somewhat stunted. Shouldn't the client be free to develop their own identity rather than be moulded to be a clone and share another person's beliefs and values?

  • Sue

    A therapist can do untold harm dismissing a client's negative reactive to him as "transference." More likely and logically, the therapist IN ACTUALITY is doing something hurtful. Therapists can be bullies, they can be dismissive, they can be peremptory. They actually can lead their client toward over-idealization, which is a disaster waiting to happen.

    "Transference" is a convenient excuse for a therapist not to own examine own bad behavior when a client reacts poorly to him.

  • Anonymous-2

    This was a third party transference...my father's physician. My father is 90 years old. I am 54.

    This took place in a teaching hospital and beleive it or not this doctor was teaching erotic transference to his students. I was already aware that something was going on but could not explain this feeling I had for him. It was not like me at all, as I am happily married. It was totally out of character for me. Luckily, I had some experience as I had a midlife crisis at 40. Thank God I snapped out of that.

    I started doing some research on physician/misconduct and came on to this particular site that explains in detail about cross transference...etc. This doctor was quite cunning especially when manipulating objects to trigger my libido. WOW.!!! The way he moved, his body language was so intoxicating. But was really caught my eye was when he spoke to his students about how to seduce patients in the waiting room. He would never make a physical move but was hoping I the victim would. ie.. "Okay now it's time to make eye contact and stare for 2 minutes.." Hello, I could hear his comments. What does he think I am deaf. I played along with it...to see how far this would go. HE DID SHOW UP AT MY HOME,BUT I DID NOT LET HIM IN. It's been like 4 years and I still dream about him. It's a good thing I am wise and well read on the subject because I know in life for every action there is a consequence. Beware of white coats.

  • Anonymous-3

    Omg - this feeling is extremely overwhelming, so much so I no longer have feelings for the my now ex-boyfriend of 7 years who I thought I'd never stop loving. Have had three erotic dreams about the analyst, one of which produced a dramatic, painful, yearning psychophysiological type reaction in my nether regions which lingered nearly all night! Never experienced that in my life and have worked in the sex industry so know my in and outs pretty well. Very bizarre.

  • jane oct.30 2010

    I am so worried that this feeling I have for my therapist will never subside. I leave counseling so frustrated all the time, I just want to forget about him. I have been fighting with my feelings since the beginning but they won't go away. I am worried I am going to end up more harmed than helped by him. I am afraid to not face these feelings of love for him because if I leave this unsettled, it will happen again. I need to break the pattern, but it hurts so much in the process.

  • Lost

    I went to psychotherapy for 1 yr, after 3 months started having very strong feelings for my therapist, I started callling him wanting to meet with him, I ended my sessions and we started to meet and also had sexual contact with each other, I wish he would have been the better person and ended the relationship. I have feelings of hate towards him and love so many emotions at one time. It has been 4 yrs now and I still think of him. I wish I would have known about transference before I started therapy!!

  • George

    I've been seeing my therapist for about 7 months, and I've noticed erotic transferrence to him over the past few weeks. It makes sense to me as I'm dealing with intimacy and desire issues. I realize that I'm trying to fill the void of having someone in my life (there are also co-dependency issues on top of it all) and "using" my therapist to fill that hole.

    Although I'm uncomfortable with it, I made the effort to talk about it with him and he understands what's happening. I hope that as we work with my relationship issues, this will resolve itself since I realize it's about me and NOT about him or what he desires.

    To me, the first sign is recognizing that it's happening and not denying it, but to work on yourself to accept that certain desires are at play, however unrealistic they may be.

  • Ive

    I've turned to the Internet looking for answers because I'm very confused. I've been in therapy for two years and four months. There are many things I have not dare to share with my therapist, mainly my feeling for her in general. I've always been worried about the end of the treatment, since the very beginning. I think is because I have a deep fear of abandonment and I need to make sure that whoever I trust with my secrets, problems, etc., is going to stay in my life. So far that hasn't been the case and hence why I can't trust people in general and talk about how I truly feel. I believe my story is very rare, very complex. I started going to therapy trying to find answers about my sexuality and for other reasons too. I was really attracted, maybe deeply in love with someone I thought was an angel. She turned out to be pure evil. I went through hell until I finally couldn't take it anymore and without thinking about it, after enduring very hard things, I simply turned my back on her one day. I happened just like that. I took one day at a time. She tried to pull me back a couple of times but I resisted and in the end I won, freedom, independence but the price was really high. Through it all, my therapist was there. She was the only person in my life who knew exactly the hell I was living and she was the only one who kept me going, she kept me out of the dark. I never told her, I just couldn't do it. I just couldn't expose myself to her like that. There was a time I was in so much pain because of my other relationship that I simply wanted to end everything in my life and start from scratch. I avoided my therapist for a while until I couldn't anymore. I went to a special session after she called me and there I told her that I didn't want to continue. She tried to make me reconsider but I just wanted to stop seeing her because I felt that since everything was going so bad in my life, that I would somehow end up very attach to her and in the end, get really hurt by her when she would leave. She tried as much as she could to make me agree to go to another session to end the treatment properly but I refused. And then I look at her and she was crying, she said that I was hurting her. I told her that I just couldn't believe that she out of everyone would try to manipulate me just like everybody else had done my entire life. I remember I said that she was the one hurting me and then she said that she didn't mean to do that, that it was out of love. I got so scared and I was hurting so bad for my other relationship but when I saw her, I just couldn't walk away. I promised her I would be there for one more session and I ended up staying one more year and four months. It always worried me, more so after that day, when would therapy end. I needed to know how long I was going to have to tell her everything that I had kept, how long would I have before she would walk out of my life. I was slowly adjusting to the new me, to actually be talking about me and not to be narrating the horrible "romance novel" that my life had turned into for three years. I asked her one more time when were we going to end treatment and she finally told me that she was probably going to move to another city if her partner got a job offer. I remember I looked at her while she asked how I felt about it and I just couldn't tell her that I was heartbroken, I just couldn't share any of my feelings. I tend to joke a lot when I feel uncomfortable and I did just that, although she knows me so well that she could tell something had changed. I moved as far as possible from that topic and before I knew it, the session ended. I just felt a deep void inside and cold, but not it's-winter-cold, it's the cold I feel when I'm losing something very dear to me. I felt it so many times before and after ending the very toxic relationship I was in, I thought I would never feel like that again: I was wrong. I wanted to cry, but I swallowed my tears. It was a matter of pride, sort of. I couldn't even look at her when I said goodbye, I think it was because I didn't want her to see how affected I was by the news. She wished me a good weekend and I replied something polite and walked away. I turned to my work and stayed up until I couldn't do it anymore. I went to bed and cried myself to sleep. As soon as I woke up, I remembered everything and I wanted to cry again. I feel like there's a deep hole in my heart. I just don't understand any of these feelings. I've wished all day long that I've never met her and I just can't imagine my life without her. But how do I tell her that? I am so angry that she didn't let me walk away when I wanted to, so angry that she didn't warn me about this but more than anything, I'm very sad. I've been fighting back my tears all day long. I don't know what to do. I think I won't go back to therapy. I can't. I can't see her again knowing that in a matter of months I won't see her anymore. I just feel completely lost.

  • Anonymous-4

    I love my therapist. He reminds me. of my father in many ways. At first he was a real pain and I dreaded seeing him but after sticking with it for three years, one day I walked off a cliff and I fell deeply in love with him. I would run away with him if he asked me. But he won't because he is a man of principles and I know I am safe with him since he is the perfect man. He would never hurt me unlike my father and husband. I often am satisfied with vivid fantasies about him, some sexual and others just domestic ordinary life. I think does he like pancakes when I eat breakfast, just like that I think about him all day. I would like to believe that their are other dimension than this earthly one and in each he plays a key figure. In one he is the love of my life and myhusband. In another alternate reality he is my perfect big brother protecting and caring for me. And another one he is my son and I shower him with all the love, attention and patience he has shown me. My only way to recognize my unrequited love is to bestow it to people around me. I know in my right mind that I will never have him nor would that be right, but somewhere out there in the great unknown I know we are tethered together. He saved my life, how could you be normal and not love that person.

  • Renee

    I was at a lost until I found this article. I am overwhelmed by my sexual feelings for my therapist. I'm also very upset because my therapist has shut me out. I expected him to help me through these feelings but he won't take my phone calls and he won't see me. I am so focused on him, I don't know how to stop these feelings. If anyone can offer me advice, please do.

  • Sarra

    Been seeing a female therapist for 2 years, 2 times per week, probably a combo of psychoanalysis and CBT. Therapy was sought for unyielding anxiety and depression and immobilizing fears of abandonment from childhood and failed relationships. She has remained a "blank slate". I know very little about her, which I understand is proper. Not knowing about transference, in the beginning, I was very guarded, did not reveal much. Slowly I began to trust in her, told her about my deepests thoughts and events of my life....who wouldn't like someone that is listening to them 2-3 times per week, that has been emotionally starved for a very long time and under nurtured as a child. I see this in retrospect now, but at the time, the transference feelings of affection, caring, respect, connection were overwhelming and frightening. I looked forward to my sessions each week...it felt so comfortable and safe there, yet I was embarrassed about feeling that way. She sensed this discomfort and we discussed transference, its meaning and how it was normal ect. etc. My anxiety depression has dissipated tremendoulsy as we have dissceted my life and realtionships, like the peeling of an onion. Of course at times of stress, they rear their ugly heads but hopefully not as powerfully. About 2 months ago she told me that starting July 2011 we woud be cutting back to 1 time per week: that I had come a long way, and that I should use the other hour session to do something out in the wolrd for myself.. Intellectually, it made sense, even though my gut reaction was abandonment and hurt. However, my elderly parents have become very ill and the stress on me daily is enormous, as is the fear of their death, which was an issue before they were ill. I also was surprised, since at our begining sessions she told me I most likely would need to be seen 2-3 times per week for 3-4 years. I tried to explain that I felt this wasn't a good time for the change frequency and why. She insisted I could handle it. So...this is the question or confusion.... I feel abandoned, and hurt, even though this might be in my best interest, it doesn't feel that way. I also recently told her I loved her, but not in an erotic way, in an effectionate, caring, grateful, appreciative way. I fear maybe she felt I was too transfixed on her, and this was the only way to force me into more social situations outside the therapy. However I feel she is not taking serioulsy the strain of the family situation I am in and the entire set of anxiety and depressive issues that is raising. In addition, the heat of the summer has always triggered my emotions in a negative way. I brought the issue up again last week, as it is now into July, and the 1 session per week feels so inadequate. How do I get accross to her that I really need to see her, to deal with the issues that come up almost everyday with my mom and dad, not because I am too fixed on her , but because it's true and that this summer heat causes a video like playback of every loss in my life ? I know tranference is really about what was missing in my childhood and the therapist fulfilling that role, and the "love" not being real 'love' but more of an illusion. I have no fantasies of her as my friend, I know what it is, and the boundaries are intact. I think the "i love you" might have flipped her out. I live accros the street from my parents so it's and every day thing. Finally, I do have a small circle of friends. I am not a hermit or anything and up until this point I have been able to function at wok on a very high level as a professional but lately my emotions are too strong to control at work and I cancel. But yes, I certainly need to broaden my horizons, although fear still prevents getting close to new people the way Kryptonite keeps Superman at bay. I need to learn to cope with that. Any suggestions to proceed ?

  • Devastated Husband

    My wife has fell for an ex patient (20 years her younger) she was caring for, He had suffered a stroke and admitted to her ward for recouperation. A few weeks ago she spent the night out and returned the next day announcing she had found someone else. She told me they had been texting each other for a while and he told her that he had found his soulmate, When she asked who it was he replied "It's you".

    I just want to know if this is Transference / counter transference and if so, Does this sort of thing last or not?

    Please help. I feel totally inadequate now.

    We have been together now for 30 years and never thought this would happen.

    Many thanks.

    Rob.

  • butterflies

    Erotic or erotized transference can manifest within treatment, and more obviously within psychodynamic/analytic treatment. Whatever terminology it is given, the truth is: it is love, it is deep, true longing and attachment, it does not differ in essence from any other loving feeling one may have felt in their life that was genuine and real. Love is real, transference-love is no different. And I believe understanding that is the first step toward acceptance and healing. Many therapists seem to be afraid of making such statements because they fear being misscontrued, but it is as "simple" as that. There is no shame, no alternate reality, it is love... However, it is fueled by an additional amount of projection, because the situation that the love is derived is prone to produce love. To be listened to uncondicionally, to be parapharased in such "attuned" manner... it is (in most cases) bound to happen, specially if the person does not have enough individuals to whom he/she feels deeply connected to. So, my point is that the feelings should not be dealt with as a desease, or as a side-effect of treatment, but as the most distinct, dignified manifestation of one's ability to love, to feel connected. It certainly says you are not 'anti-social,' ... the problem usually stems from therapists who use the jargon of 'transference,' and treat it as something other than legitimate manisfestation of true feelings. The client can feel manipulated, doubted and start to doubt oneself. It can become so painful to the point that therapy becomes a bitter-sweet experience that does much more damage than good. Personally, I believe that so long as the therapist has the heart to treat the feelings as true, but convey clearly and gently that acting out is not an option, it is the only validating way that will allow creativity and healing to manifest.

  • Allan N. Schwartz, Phd

    Yes, it does hurt and there are some therapists, ones who are not well trained and supervised, who fear it.

    It happens not only in psychotherapy but with medical doctors and etc.

    Dr. Schwartz

  • Kate

    I totally agree with the poster regarding "transference" love. Love is love....If I had met my therapist anywhere else, I would have loved him.

    Giving emotions/feelings fancy names (transference)....foolish.

  • Helen

    30 years ago ib the aftermath of a post-natal depession, I finally sought help. I had an immediate liking for this psychiatrist, but my gut instinct told me he could be a danger to me. But the danger was the intigue, and over 2 years I began to develop an emotional need for him. I knew he was attracted to me, and I admittedly pushed the boundaries into a sexual relationship. I know now that it had nothing to do with sex, and everything to do with need, of which he was acutely aware. He simply used me when the mood took him, started to "borrow" large sums of money from me, and the whole relationship ended in near tragic catastrophe, for I had been found out by my husband, and I completely lost my reason. I asked him to come and see me, wanting to discus the financial issues, but when he arrived, I was good and drunk (the courage to confront him) and would gladly have killed him had he not escaped. You know, my shame, humiliation and guilt haunted me for all of these years, and it is only in recent months have I been able to talk of it. The person I did tell was horrified, and got me assistance o report the abuse to the GMC. No closure there either, for there is a 5 year rule that is held for investigating complaints, and since the incidents happened all that time ago, the main concern seemed to be in protecting the psychiatrist. My life was damaged very badly by this man. My marriage ended, I lost almost everything, because I tried to drink my way out of the pain. It took a lot of courage to start all over again, but I did so, and repaired all the hurt I had ever caused. I have been anti-psychiatry for many a long day, and always advise against therapy unless there is a very serious disorder present. I know I am one of thousands treated in this way, but why does the offending party always appear to be profesionally successful, wealthy, and get off scot free. Totally without conscience. Psychopaths themselves perhaps?

  • Allan N. Schwartz, PhD

    There is no excuse for that psychiatrist's behavior. His behavior was, at the very least, unethical and, at the very most, criminal. What is unfortunate is that, as a result of what he did, you blamed yourself, felt all that shame and are suspicious of all psychotherapy and psychiatrists.

    It is sad but true that, in every field, there are psychopaths and unethical people who do not care about who they hurt. There aren't many of them in each field but enough to do harm the reputation of every profession and practitioner.

    I hope you have recovered from your feelings of humiliation and put the blame clearly on him and not on you. You did not "force him" to do anything. He was and is at fault.

  • Anonymous-5

    Thank you for this excellent article. I was seeing a therapist for a while due to marital problems. I became infatuated with my dentist which is what started me reconsidering my marital problems with increased scrutiny.

    I was trying to work through this and the therapist told me it was transferance. I'd never heard of it and started reading. Well my perfect, unmarried dentist showed up with a wedding ring within six months of meeting him and announced he'd just married so he was in a relationship the entire time I was infatuated and creating these erotic fantasies.

    Then, I was in PT for an injury after a car accident and a very attractive man walked in to talk with my PT. Well at my next appointment I found out he was the MD overseeing my case that had been previously handled by his Physician's Assistant. Ugh. So, all over again, I'm falling hard and trying to control these feelings.

    Then I realize he's attracted to me too but we're both trying to be professional about it. It's a little strained but he's SO intelligent, ironically not that caring or empathetic, but we have a lot of banter during our appointments.Last time he told me he liked seeing me and made a comment about the color of my eyes and I just wanted to melt.

    We appeal to each other more intellectually and physically than emotionally. We haven't discussed it directly and I wouldn't want the embarrassment. But, infatuation is definitely there, I think about him all of the time and erotic fantasies are prevalent for me.

    It's frustrating because I'm married. I have no idea why the transference keeps happenning and I just moved it off of my dentist and onto my MD who has a completely opposite personality. At least my MD doesn't wear a wedding ring so I don't have any guilt about that. Both attractive, but very different people. I'm struggling to intellectualize these feelings so I can deal with them.I'm just overwhelmingly attracted to him.

    What fosters it is that both my dentist and my MD have made comments to me about my being their "favorite patient." I'm sure it's harmless, but it fuels a fire I don't think either of them consciously realize. so frustrating. I joke around to deal with it and told them they say that to all of their female patients and both earnestly said no and explained WHY they like seeing me the most.

    I have no idea how to deal with the attraction and it's embarrassing. My therapist told me originally to just think, "so what" and let it move on. It is just not moving on.

    Thanks for the excellent article that gave some perspective.

  • Bobbie

    The biggest mistake I ever made was becoming friends with my therapist. Se helped me, I felt I had more control of my anxiety, so I decided to end therapy. Why did I decide to end therapy? because I had transference and I didn't know it and neither did she. We developed a friendship. I started developing more transference. I thought I was in love with her. I started questioning my sexuality. I thought I was going crazy. I didn't understand what was happening to me. Now a few years later I suffer daily. I call it this WANT that I can't get rid of. I had to start seeing a therapist to deal with all the pain and suffering this has caused me. No matter what you think you want, if you think you are in love, that you two would be great friends, you are absolutely suffering from transference and it needs to be dealt with in the office. As client and therapist. Never ever think that it is right to take it out of the office. I'm living the dream that all of you have and want. And it's actually a nightmare. Please discuss this issue in therapy. Don't be scared. It is a great path to healing and understanding. But you need to keep it contained. In the office. I wish you all peace and happiness. Please learn from my situation. I hope this will spare you from suffering.

  • jan

    What a strong pattern, Im gettinggg over the shame of being married and feeling stornd 'transference' for a caring male friend, who I have fantasies about and love so much...eeeek, dont know what to do??? I am praying every day to unnderstand this attraction and not get too dramatic and hurt anyone, but feel like Im in love and I love the FEELING of love so much its addictive. Im practsing staying with the feeling and I know under that is strong hurt from childhood, unmet needs etc...dont really know how to ove forward. Staying in touch with my feelings and trying to stay authentic and real, empowered, fun and kind....eeeek, very POWERFUL energies playing out here! j x

  • Anonymous-6

    I just started feeling erotic transference and am not sure if I should continue with the therapists. He is somewhat new to the field, four years, and uses CBT, MI, ACT, ecletic, and humanistic theories which I know can be helpful. I also know he does consulting, which is good, but I am not sure if he understands transference or not, and I am unsure about brining it up. Does anyone have any suggestions?

  • Starcrash

    I don't like the fact that Psycology has giving this feeling the name of transference. Doctors in this speciality psychoanalyze everything to death with something that is so normal for human beings.

    If you spend a certain amount of time with someone and it could be anybody including a doctor especially male with female and there is chemistry and that person is showing you compassion helping you then there is an extremely high chance that individual will develope an attraction then feelings it's only natural it's normal.

  • Chris

    I'm going thru this experience right now -- falling in love with my therapist. I very much believe that part of what is going on is related to early childhood attachment issues. But who can possibly say that my feelings for her in the present moment, one adult to another, are not the larger part of my feelings? It's absurd to apply a psychoanalytic theory in a blanket way to an individual human being and their complex emotional makeup. Nothing is as ever as simple as A led to B. It's always a web of interrelated factors.

    Also this article seems to imply that the patient cannot possibly have insight into theoir own feelings and needs a pscyh professional to sort it out. I believe in working on these issues with a professional, but lets have some balance here.

    And don't we bring past relationship issues into every interraction we every have? Transference is working all the time at every moment. True the psychotherapy relatiionship is unique, but again lets have balance.

    The question to me is -- what is driving my feelings in their entirety. Its complex and the transference concpet should be considered, but not in such a dogmatic and clinical way!

  • Bill

    I'm gay and began having sex w/my psychiatrist(male) when I was 16,over 40 years ago.It's had a devasating effect on my life. 'Help' turned out to be hell...