Another fantastic, illuminating and thought-provoking post by Dr Stein, this time on the topic of feeling excluded from your therapist’s life. This is an issue that brings me a great deal of pain in my own therapeutic relationship, and which I have been trying (for several weeks!) to write about. Sometimes, however, things are just too close to home at a particular time, or simply too difficult to write about. Sometimes a little bit of distance or perspective (or a different angle) is needed, before the experience can be put into some sort of order, and written down.
Dr Stein’s post brings the ‘therapist’s angle’ into focus in a way that provides reassurance and some key points to try and hold onto, when that feeling of exclusion feels overwhelming and distressing.
Dr Stein talks about the ‘healing art’ of therapy, but I am hoping his artful way with words will have released my writer’s block on this subject, and that I will be able to write about the ‘client’s angle’ on this topic, very soon!
We’ve all had idols. Perhaps a sports hero, an older sibling, a teacher, or — God help you — your therapist. In the latter case, authorities tell you why a relationship outside the office is not permitted:
- The shrink might exploit you.
- Progress would be hindered if your therapist occupied the dual role of therapist and friend.
- A healer needs downtime.
- Personal information about the counselor complicates the transference relationship: the extent to which your issues will play out in session.
- The therapist would be of little help if he feels too much of your pain, as he will if you become more than a patient — an important part of his life outside.
- The ethical guidelines of the therapist’s profession prohibit intimacy.
Much of this sounds unfair and unfortunate to the patient, however true. Many believe they would benefit by having MORE of the therapist. Jealousy of those who…
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