I’ve been seeing my therapist for several months now (who is male) and it’s really going well. I’ve been neglected almost my entire life and it’s great to have someone that listens and understands. But I’ve noticed I’ve been having feelings for him. I did some research and learned what transference is and that it isn’t as uncommon as I thought it was. I’m not jealous of other women in his life and I know these feelings aren’t caused by him leading me on or anything like that. I tried to brush it off, but I recently had an erotic dream about him, so now I’m experiencing erotic transference. I have never been physically or sexually abused, but I do have issues with sex. I am a nymphomaniac, which is something I haven’t told my therapist about. Mainly because I have a history of getting my heart broken when I combine men with the topic of sex. Because of my nymphomania I get objectified a lot and am not seen as a person with feelings. I guess I’m just scared of intimacy and my therapist is so wonderful that I’m afraid of telling him and then losing him. I don’t idolize him or anything. One of my favorite things about him is how down to earth he is. I’m just not sure how to talk to him about this. Whenever I talk to a man about sex it’s because I’m trying to seduce him and that’s not what I want my therapist to think I’m doing. But I also have a hard time controlling myself around someone I’m attracted to. I have total faith in my therapist and I know he isn’t going to over-react or freak out, I’m more worried about how I’m going to handle everything. I’ve been told that I have a tendency to overwhelm men and I don’t want that to happen anymore.
Transference is a common and understandable phenomenon. Your therapist is kind, sympathetic, compassionate, someone who listens to you. Those are the things that many people desire in a romantic partner, but this is not a romantic setting. The relationship between you and your therapist is professional. That is something you must keep in mind. There may be 25 other clients who feel exactly the same way about him because he is equally as kind and sympathetic and compassionate to them as he is to you.
Therapists receive extensive training in transference. As you learned from your research, it is a very common experience. You don’t have to worry about “overwhelming” him. That will not happen. You have faith and trust in him in all other areas. Have that same faith and trust in this area as well.
You trust him to handle the situation well and you must reciprocate by handling the situation appropriately. He must not allow the situation to become sexual and just as importantly, neither can you. You cannot control how you feel but you can control your behavior. Empower yourself by simply and entirely ruling out any sexual contact between you and your therapist. It cannot be a possibility in your mind. If it is, I would suggest changing therapists. You need him as a therapist, not a sexual partner and he cannot be both things.
It is vitally important for you to be as honest as possible with your therapist. You are withholding important information about aspects of your history and your current feelings about him. By not revealing this information, you are doing yourself a disservice. It could hinder your progress in therapy and make it difficult for you to grow. Please take care.
Dr. Kristina Randle
Transference with Therapist
Kristina Randle, Ph.D., LCSW
Kristina Randle, Ph.D., LCSW is a licensed psychotherapist and Assistant Professor of Social Work and Forensics with extensive experience in the field of mental health. She works in private practice with adults, adolescents and families. Kristina has worked in a large array of settings including community mental health, college counseling and university research centers.
APA Reference Randle, K. (2018). Transference with Therapist. Psych Central.
Retrieved on November 20, 2019, from https://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2014/09/22/transference-with-therapist/
Last updated: 8 May 2018 (Originally: 22 Sep 2014) Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 May 2018 Published on Psych Central.com. All rights reserved.