I love my ex-counsellor and miss her deeply

By Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker

I had been seeing a counsellor for social anxiety who was on a placement at a practice that is local to me. One of the reasons that I feel anxious socially is because I feel that I don’t fit in. I am not attracted to girls the same age as me as they all seem to spend their time boozing and smoking on street corners and they dress as if they have no self-dignity, for example wearing mini-skirts that more closely resemble belts.

My counsellor wasn’t much older than me and she was so helpful, sweet, beautiful, feminine and I loved the way that she dressed. I also felt improvement week after week whilst seeing her. Because of these things I developed feelings for her and fell in love with her.

One day she told me that her placement was up and she could no longer see me. This news absolutely devastated me.

I have seen two counsellors since she left but I don’t feel the same changes being made that I did under her. I still see a counsellor and she is helping me but just not to the same extent that I felt under my previous counsellor.

In some ways it feels worse than losing somebody close to you to death because you usually have something to remember them by. If I had a photograph I would find things so much easier.

She has inspired me so much but I just wish that I could see her again…

A: It doesn’t surprise me that you developed such strong feelings for your counselor. Not only did she give you some good help but she closely matched the kind of woman you are looking for: intelligent, sympathetic, professional, adult. Ideally, you would have had time to work through your feelings for her while you were still working with her. That not being the case, the best compliment you can give her is to use all you learned.

It also doesn’t surprise me that you aren’t making changes at the same pace you did with your former counselor. The most change in therapy usually happens in the first few months. After that, it’s a slower, incremental process. You got that first burst of help with your first counselor. That doesn’t mean that she was better than the therapist you are now seeing, just that she was the one who launched you in your healing.

I encourage you to talk with your current counselor about how to meet women who are more compatible with your intelligence and maturity. I assure you, all women in their twenties are not party animals. Most are in fact getting on with adult life. That means they have started their careers, dress professionally, and are more interested in good conversation and sharing interesting activities than in drinking too much and flirting in a bar. Expand your world beyond the university. Volunteer at an organization that does good work or get a part-time job where there are people your age who are interested in the same things.

I’m very glad you had such a positive experience with your former counselor. Please take it as the gift it was and keep up the good work she helped you start. She did her job. Now it’s your turn to do yours.

I wish you well.
Dr. Marie

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 17 Oct 2011

APA Reference
Hartwell-Walker, D. (2011). I love my ex-counsellor and miss her deeply. Psych Central. Retrieved on November 22, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2011/10/17/i-love-my-ex-counsellor-and-miss-her-deeply/