Attachment to therapist
Q. Okay, I have been seeing a therapist for 3 years and he is great. I tend to cling to people and have always looked for older men to put into father-figure roles, which is what I have done with him. I have discussed this with him, but I don’t know if he understands how much I think about him. I am going through a rough period of depression right now and that makes me cling even more. I have a wonderful husband, but he obviously doesn’t fit into my idea of a father-figure. I have also been diagnosed with a mild form of borderline personality disorder. Could this be why I idolize my therapist so much? I imagine him coming to my rescue. How abnormal is this? Can you give me any insight into why I feel this way?
A. To a psychoanalyst, transference (your feelings toward him) is seen as negative and would necessitate ending the therapeutic relationship. [Ed. — This is not generally true, see this page about the role of transference in psychoanalysis for more information.] However, in existential therapy transference is a good thing, indicating a deep bond between you and your therapist making it more likely to produce the fastest progress possible. I do not think this is abnormal and I would encourage you take the time in a session to explain fully how you feel, including the breadth and intensity of your feelings. You should not keep this from your therapist.
Randle, K. (2005). Attachment to therapist. Psych Central. Retrieved on March 30, 2015, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2005/03/20/attachment-to-therapist/