December 7, 2012

Unusual love

At my clinical placement, one of my fellow trainees was talking about an article she had read on Jezebel called "I Fell in Love With My Shrink." The title alone is pretty intriguing, but the article is equally, if not more, interesting. The writer talks about falling in love with her therapist and the process of telling her therapist about this, namely moving forward and processing this love. She's very clear that this love was one-sided and that the therapist never crossed any boundaries, and it sounds like the therapist handled it in the best way possible. Ultimately, the writer sounds like she's still a bit in love with the therapist even though they've since terminated their work together, but she ends with the idea that she's trying to move on.

This entire scenario is fascinating to me on so many levels. First, as a therapist myself, I know that transference/countertransference are very real things. Clients have reactions to therapists, and therapists have reactions to clients. Love is a pretty complicated reaction, but then again, it's not entirely surprising. How many of us have been in relationships where we are honest, vulnerable, curious, and open? Therapy requires all of that (well, maybe not requires, but some of the best therapy involves those things). It can be a really intense emotional connection that is unlike any other relationship in the client's life. So yeah, love isn't all that weird when you consider the level of emotional intimacy that can happen in therapy.

Beyond that, though, it was really interesting to hear this from a client's perspective and to know that yes, this woman did indeed Google her therapist until she found personal details like wedding photos, and that yes, they do indeed live in the same neighborhood. All of that can be terribly invasive (I've been on the receiving end of such Googling, and it is awkward, angry-making, and icky-feeling), but this writer's honesty in including that in her article made me realize that such actions don't necessarily come from a borderline, stalkery place. Sometimes it's curiosity or desperation. It is what it is.

I don't really know what the point of this post is, but this article really stuck out to me, and I wanted to write about it. It was interesting, and I wanted to share it.