I Have Feelings For My Therapist

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Dear Dr. Darcy:

I read the question and response to, I have a crush...on my therapist.I guess I am sort of in a similar situation.  I had a therapist for four years who I felt was protective and paternal towards me.  It felt as though we were close.  We text messaged almost everyday and weekly when I was living out of state for seasonal jobs we would talk on the phone.  She told me she loved me, and it just felt too close for me to do therapy with her because I started really feeling like I loved her back.  I do feel that way.  I expressed this to her and since then we no longer talk at all.  It is hard for me to understand and I feel a lot of grief and confusion over it.  I've asked to talk to her about this a while ago and she was distant and wouldn't give me a straight answer to any of my questions.  I just feel a little abandoned and I'm really sad.  Maybe I did misinterpret things with in our relationship, but right now I am just trying to figure out how to move on and I don't know what to do.  Seems like this is always on my heart and it hurts.

ANSWER

Your (former) therapist is being inappropriate. She should absolutely, unquestionably, respond to your request to discuss how you’re feeling. There isn’t a licensing board in America that would condone her refusal to process your feelings. With that said, I suspect that your requests may be easy for her to disregard because they may not be very direct. I am therefore going to instruct you to dial up your inner Darcy and make one last attempt:

Write your therapist an email or a letter. I want it in writing because you’ll be creating a paper trail and if she refuses to respond, her refusal will be indisputable – and btw, she’ll be putting her license in jeopardy if she doesn’t respond. I want you to say the following:

I realize we never officially terminated our work and I’m having some difficulties because of that. I know some time has passed, however, I would find it very cathartic if we could at least have 1 termination session. Please let me know your thoughts and, if you are open to this, what your availability is.

If you’re no longer living in state, you can have the termination session(s) over the phone – your therapist has already set a precedent for doing work over the phone and she’d have no legitimate basis to refuse.

When she responds (and I suspect she will), contact me and I’ll help you organize your thoughts so that you can make the best use of the time she gives you.

Note To Therapists: Please do not initiate informal communication with your clients on a regular basis, i.e., texting daily or speaking on the phone daily. Outreach initiated by you should have a clinical basis, i.e., you’re checking in on them after a difficult session or knowing that they’re about to experience something challenging on a non-session day. There should be a distinct difference between the quantity and tone to your communications with your clients, and that of your FRIENDS (huge eye-roll here).

Writer’s Stats: Female, Straight.