What Happens if You Fall in Love With Your Psychotherapist?
What does falling in love mean? It’s a process that’s both natural and complex. It might be defined as a state of liberation, but also of diminished freedom, as you’re, effectively, kidnapped by your emotions.
Falling in love is an intimate and subjective experience in which you create new and shared universes. Being in love makes you believe that you’ve awakened to life anew, and you start to experience it in a different way. It feels beautiful and being part of it seems to be perfect. You fall in love with people who awaken this emotion in your soul. However, what happens if you fall in love with your psychotherapist?
Falling in love is both an emotional and psychological process that’s uniquely human. When you fall in love, you experience both yourself and the person you’re in love with in a special way.
Falling in love
Falling in love is a state that any one of us can experience at any time in our lives. It happens unpredictably and is unmanageable. But how does it affect you?
- Both your sensory and physical experiences are intensified. Your perception expands. You perceive everything as transfigured by your lover: sounds, smells, colors… Everything becomes more intense.
- You feel ecstatic. Your everyday routine is transformed into the different and extraordinary.
- You project your feelings into the future. Indeed, being in love is an impulse and an engine toward the future. It’s a future that you want to share with your lover. Being in love is the starting point toward a hopeful tomorrow with your partner.
- Being in love produces a feeling of desire in you that’s centered on who you fall in love with.
“That desire for interpersonal fusion is the most powerful impulse that exists in man. It constitutes his most fundamental passion, the force that sustains the human race.”
What if you fall in love with your psychotherapist?
Falling in love with a psychotherapist is far from trivial. The therapeutic relationship is one of intimacy, acceptance, and trust. You go to therapy because you want to be cared for and healed. Falling in love with the therapist is something that can happen because there are a series of conditions that facilitate it. For example, the situation, regular meetings, the room, the private environment, and the intimacy of the conversation.
In fact, listening to your therapist and having them take an interest in your well-being is such a special experience that it can cause you to disrupt the relationship and fall in love with them. We should clarify that falling in love with a psychotherapist can be just as frequent as falling in love with a friend, colleague, or neighbor.
“I thought that this is precisely the reason why therapists should not become emotionally involved with their patients. By virtue of their privileged role, by their access to deep feelings and secret information, their reactions always assume an exaggerated significance. It is almost impossible for the patient to see the therapist as he is.”
The psychotherapist has to know how to work with clients that fall in love with them. They have to take responsibility for the fact that their client feels this way and analyze certain aspects, such as whether they encouraged their behavior in any way. They also need to ascertain what lies behind it and whether it’s a repeated pattern of behavior in the client. In fact, these are just some of the issues they need to address.
They should also increase their attention to the small details. That’s because it’s these that’ll give them the first signs that the patient may have fallen in love with them. Some psychotherapists may be surprised to hear what their patient has to say so it’s advisable that they go to supervision. Look at the following statement from a novice psychotherapist:
“When I oversaw what happened to me, I realized that it was threatening for me to face the situation. I somehow didn’t want to take it in that it was obvious.”
Furthermore, if falling in love hinders the therapeutic relationship and harms the client, the therapeutic relationship should be renounced, and the case referred to another professional. Otherwise, the client’s interest in them can be greater than the therapy itself.
To conclude, here’s another quote from a therapist:
“There came a time when his interest was more in getting my attention and liking me than in being himself. I felt like he had lost all objectivity in his own growing up. It was a mutual waste of time from my point of view.”