a 17 year old girl seeing a psychologist in his 50s. Ive been seeing
him for a year and a half now. He helps me so much, but I am starting to
have an attachment/attraction to him. Sometimes he seems to feel the same
way, talking about us or will compliment my physical appearance.
I am flattered, but at the same timeconfused. Ill be leaving
in a year to go off to college, so how can I get rid of this attachment?
Also, was it ok for him to give me compliments?
When a 17 year old girl sees an older male psychologist,
its only expected that she will develop an
attraction to him. Regardless of how
this attraction may be experienced personally, the core of the experience
will be what could be called a father transference. That is, her
attraction to the psychotherapist derives from everything she ever wanted
in a good
kindness, attention, validation, guidance, and so on.
proof of this for you is that you referred to yourself as a 17 year
old girl, not as a 17 year old young woman. In your own language you
locate yourself in the psychotherapy relationship as a daughter to her
Now, the danger
of such a transference is the danger of any
it can come to be taken personally. That is, on the one hand, your psychologist
might grow to feel romantically attracted to you, and, if he doesnt
immediately recognize this
and deal with it appropriately, he could start flirting with you and ruin
the whole treatment. On the other hand, you might grow to feel romantically
attracted to your psychologist. In fact, many women have gotten involved
with older men precisely because of a father transference that occurred in
You cannot, however,
get rid of such a transference attachment.
Instead, it will be important to recognize it for what it is and learn from it. So
your task will be to understand just what was lacking in your own father that you
find in your psychologist; then you will have to speak about all this openly and
directly to your psychologist. In fact, this is precisely what psychotherapy is all
about: using events in the present to understand the past, and then, having talked
about and healed the wounds from the past, being able to act in a new, healthy
manner in the present.
And, as you talk
openly with your psychologist about your feelings for him, keep your eye
on him. Watch out for any hint that he might be taking it all personally.
He could be giving compliments as a father would compliment his daughter,
and thats perfectly OK. But if you see any indication of
a wolf in counselors clothing, then tell him
so, and terminate
immediately, while you have the chance.
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