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Centerpointe Research

When Feelings Aren’t Wrong In Therapy

Don't Ask; Don't Tell.

Don’t Ask; Don’t Tell.

When feelings aren’t wrong in therapy and might be a warning sign:

As a therapist, I have been in psychotherapy working on my own issues.

It seems that the first thing a therapist might say is trust me, I only want to help you.

So you entrust your soul to a therapist you don’t know who you think has the appropriate credentials to help you solve your problems but who in the end only creates more problems for you.

Sounds complicated, doesn’t it?

Here is my story:

The details are fuzzy but they often are when dealing with sexual abuse.  One of the first things this therapist told me was that he found me sexually attractive and this made me feel uncomfortable; but he reassured me that I shouldn’t feel that way as it was a compliment.

Months later, maybe even a year later.  I came back to see this therapist at his invitation to let him know how I was doing after I had completed therapy with him.

I opened the door to his office and saw him lying on the floor with some pillows around him and he said,”Come here.  Let me touch you.”  I don’t remember the rest of what happened.  I was at the very least surprised and disconcerted by his proposition.

I don’t remember the rest of what happened.  The details are fuzzy and any attempts I have made to create a time line has been even more confusing.  It took years for me to remember this and by then it was too late to do anything about it.

What is appropriate and what is inappropriate in therapy?

Common sense would tell you that touching, especially titilating touches, are not appropriate either during or after therapy while the client still relates to the therapist in the therapist role.

Sexual abuse victims are extremely vulnerable to this kind of thing and the practitioner’s code is “Above all else do no harm”.

Do you see how this orientation on the therapist’s part could have rended most of the therapy ineffective?  maybe even harmful to me?

Therapist’s have a big responsibility and they must constantly monitor their feelings towards a client and seek supervision if they are unsure about this.

Clients place a big burden on the therapist and there has been a code of ethics created for him or her to follow in their relationships with a client.  It would seem to be easy to do this if the therapist has common sense and a personal code of conduct not only as a therapist but also as a human being.

The biggest trap is transference in the therapist-client reationship.  This happens when either the therapist or the client perceives the other person in the relationship as being like someone from their past and acting toward that person like he or she would with this figure.

Therapists should be trained to avoid this trap and to use this information about their own possible transference to promote healing in the client versus letting it happen on their part and disrupting and corrupting the relationship.

 

 

 

 

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