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    WhatsAppers
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    I was in therapy doing good work with my therapist when at some point I realized I would think of whole conversations we would have, of bumping into her in the street, I’d dream of her. I felt like I had a crush of my therapist. (I am a happily married women in my 30s with healthy relationships) These feelings hampered our work together greatly. I discovered the concept of transference but it didn’t fully explain my excruciating feelings. I finally moved onto another therapist when this one needed to take an extended leave of absence. However, I felt very burned and it made me very wary to open up to a new therapist if I could suddenly find myself unexpectedly so fully taken over. I’m interested to hear from the community if others in therapy have also experienced this confusing feeling of “crushing” on their therapist and how they dealt with it? Any therapists insights into this phenomenon? Thank you.

     

    -Anonymous WhatsApper

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    When I first met my therapist I felt the same way. I was also quiet scared of my therapist and opening up. It helped time to realize that my therapist is human just like me and I don’t need to be afraid. With time the feeling passed

    -Anonymous WhatsApper

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    Wow. I like that you asked this question, because this took over my life for a while in a similar way. Makes me feel like I’m not crazy. I don’t have an answer, and I myself kept wondering if to speak to my therapist about it but also feared that it would make it worse. Sometimes I would cancel because I was so sick of thinking of her all the time, but then the obsessed and needy part of me rebooked it. It was a whole big world of its own this thing and so I TOTALLY know what you mean about it taking over. Now, I’m seeing someone else (it’s been a few years now since that therapist) and I’m finding myself afraid to open up as well, not entirely for this reason but also just cuz I’m afraid to become too dependent and for her to be center of my life. I’m taking things very slowly, and I try to remind myself before I enter every session- that I have MYSELF as my # 1 go to person, and I am CHOOSING to meet this therapist as someone to help ME, – which helps me feel like I’m not losing control, and I’m taking it at the pace I want. I also kind of made a rule for myself- where when I catch myself obsessing over what took place in session, or thinking about her throughout the week- I try to redirect my thoughts back to the here and now, and not think about her, because in the past I got soooo stuck on obsessing…(to the point where it literally hurt! So I know what you mean about excruciating feelings!!!)
    The more I practice getting back to the here and now and not obsessing, the easier it is to do it next time. Because the more I obsess – the deeper I get stuck in it and need to obsess more, if you know what I mean. I just want to say this is all so so easy to say, and SO SO hard to do. It’s taken me years to now be able to do this and try to distract myself and not think too much about her. I hope some of this helps and know that your NOT ALONE!!!

    -Anonymous WhatsApper

     

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    Hi i had a simaler experience with my first therapist, not as intense as you described your experience, but still intense, i was thinking about her all the time, it was her personality and how it clicked with mine, she was a good therapist though, and did sincerely want to help me, i looked up to her, and this sounds wierd but in a way obsessed, whenever i emailed her i kept checking for her response and would be so excited when it came, would rush to open it, etc,
    I did not have this experience with my 2nd therapist, and i think it is much healthier that way, i felt like i could relate to her more, and like she related to me more, i wasn’t worried about her judging me, and also i was comfortable being more open with her,
    Its a personality thing,
    Now I don’t mean to badmouth first one, and for other people she’s very good, but its much healthier this “obsession” is not present,
    And therapy more helpful too.

    -Anonymous WhatsApper

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    Wow. I’m blown away by your authentic search for healthy support.

    First of all, your experience is not at all uncommon. There can be a variety of underlying causes for why you have had this experience with a past therapist.

    I believe that the absolute best way to deal with this is to bring it up in therapy with your therapist. It takes a ton of courage, but from what I can tell from your writing, it clearly demonstrates that you have the courage that it takes! Build on it, and bring it into the therapy room. It will most likely bring your therapy to the deepest wellspring of healing.

    You absolutely deserve to continue your journey with your new therapist despite your fear of how intense the dynamic can get for you. I would encourage bringing your past experience and your current fears up with your new therapist. A skilled therapist will help you work it through effectively.

    I would imagine there’s lots to process/grieve about your old therapy/therapist which will likely play a huge role in developing healthy attachment this time around.

    You got this!

    Shaya Hecht, LCSW

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    WhatsAppers
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    In response to WhatsAppers's post #12465:

    YES !!

    -Anonymous WhatsApper

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    I had a therapist that I always felt we would be great friends if not for our professional relationship. It’s been years since I’ve met with her and I still miss our time.

    -Anonymous WhatsApper

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    I think that many times these obsessions or crushes come from an unhealthy place, like a need to fill up an emotional hole. These kind of relationships usually come from a yearning for true love usually to make up for trauma /abuse.
    Many people begin to feel this way since the relationship with the therapist begins to close up that hole, and it can feel very overwhelming.

    -Anonymous WhatsApper

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    In response to WhatsAppers's post #12470:

    Makes so much sense!!

    -Anonymous WhatsApper

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    Oh!!! I so get it!! Had the same thing! I was thinking about my therapist 24/7. I’ve learnt a lot over the past few years. I’ll try to explain myself here. There’s definitely more to talk about this very important topic. I’ll try to summarize. So all of this goes under the category of attachment. Those who didn’t grow up with healthy attachments in relationship, those struggle with it in therapy. I don’t believe it has anything with the therapist. In my opinion. I’m seeing the same therapist for 4 1/2 years now. I’ve had attachment issues with her. Had I changed therapist, I would probably have the same issues. The only way to deal with it and heal unhealthy attachment styles, is by being open and honest with your therapist. I know its very hard. It takes lots and lots of courage. I remember how hard it was when I started opening up about my feelings towards her. Maybe read a book on attachment theory. There are so many. Healing my attachment issues also helped me in so many other relationships. We don’t realize the dance we have. The best and safest place to discuss it, is with your therapist. Its ok if it takes time. Maybe just start by saying that there’s something you want to discuss but is hard to talk about. It can make it easier to bring it up eventually. There’s so much more to talk about attachment. I’m so grateful to my therapist for helping me learn and grow from it. Go for it!!!

    Oh and I forgot to mention that people who struggle with obsessive thoughts (me included), are experiencing those feelings much more deeply. Because the thought comes into your head, I love her I love her. Then you try to fight the thought by telling yourself: stop thinking about her. Don’t think of her so much. This will only increase the thoughts. My therapist calls it a sticky mind. For that, I read a very good book about obsessive thoughts. (May I share book names here?) Anyhow, this issue can be a combination of attachment and obsessive thoughts. It’s good to learn how to deal with the thoughts. In short dont fight them. Allow them to be there. The more you’ll push away your thoughts about your therapist, the stronger they’ll fight back. I’m talking from experience.

    -Anonymous WhatsApper

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    First I want to tell you, you are not alone, many people I know go through this including myself. I can honestly say my experience was excruciating, intensified my OCD, I literally couldn’t get her out of my mind 24/7. I can probably write a book, of what I went through. It went so far that I became suicidal because of this although I wasn’t aware at the time of how deeply it’s affecting me. I did share how I feel with my therapist, as brutal as it was, she tried helping me, telling me it’s normal given my past trauma, but it didn’t really help. I was very stuck for years and couldn’t terminate with her even though subconsciously I knew iys not healthy. It took starting with a new therapist who gave me clarity, that I was finally able to let go of the old one.
    I think what played into it most was a personality difference. I think it’s sometimes underrated in therapy. Also, She was really good but I never felt understood and I was caught up in a cycle of trying to get her understanding. There are many more factors. Including the specific trauma I was dealing with, attachment issues.
    If you find the right person it is possible to heal and start trusting again. Personally as excruciatingly painful as this experience was, it ultimately brought me to a better place.
    I hope you find clarity and peace ?

     

    -Anonymous WhatsApper

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    I partially disagree about it being “healthier” when there is no obsession. I think that at times the obsession is part of the therapy and there can at times be a valuable reason that it’s coming up. In my opinion, working through it can enrich the therapy itself and deepen the clients self growth.

    -Anonymous WhatsApper

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    In response to WhatsAppers's post #12473:

    overcoming unwanted intrusive thoughts” its a great book for anyone suffering from obsessive thoughts. Similar to ocd but its not about the compulsions. Only obsessive

    -Anonymous WhatsApper

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    In response to WhatsAppers's post #12465:

    Wow I love what you said about centering yourself before the session and that this person is here for YOU. I’m a people pleaser by nature and therapy stopped being productive when. all I wanted was for her to like me. The funny part was I went into therapy to help me come to terms with a life-changing medical challenge- not due to unresolved relational issues, so I was very blindsided by the emotional dependency I and literal obsession developed. Other posters along with a therapist suggested I speak with my therapist about it. So for the record, I brought it up to her, even though i felt so squirmy with shame, and she sort of just told me there’s also counter-transference from therapist to client and the conversation sort of died there and I didn’t have the courage to revive it. I’m sure she could have handled it more professionally and the unspoken message was that this wasn’t ok. So yeah, very confusing. It’s some years later and i still feel so burned. Perhaps this will give me the courage to bring it up with my current therapist and gain some closure

    -Anonymous WhatsApper

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    I read through everything- so much to process. Very validating to know it’s not just me. I will formulate a more thoughtful response soon.

    -Original Poster

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