I am a 40-year old [lesbian] and have been in therapy for over 20 years. I am aware that many clients believe that their therapist is in love with them or vice versa, [but] this is different.
My therapist is also a lesbian. She often over-compliments me, is outwardly ‘different’ toward me and others have noticed. When alone, she tells me that Monday is her favorite day of the week because she gets to see and talk to me.
She asked me today what I think appropriate boundaries between [us] should be and why I have never asked any [personal] questions about her. She agreed with me that a professional boundary should be maintained but seemed disappointed and asked me if asking for her phone number would be crossing a boundary.
Am I being punked or is this really happening? Could she really have feelings toward me? She stares at my eyes. I’ve thought she might kiss me before! Am I overreacting?
Reading your question made me want to find a different profession.
Let me take this line-by-line to explain why I’m breaking out in hives:
As a therapist, I do not hesitate to compliment a client. Complimenting a straight man doesn’t mean I’m switching teams and hitting on him any more than complimenting a female means I want to hook up with her. Therapists are allowed to remark on the appearance of their clients without it meaning anything beyond social niceties.
And that’s where my defense of your quack ends.
I’m not sure how ‘others’ see you and your therapist together to notice that your therapist is outwardly different towards you… The only explanation would be if you’re in group therapy with your therapist. You should NEVER be in the presence of your therapist outside of the office unless, for example, you happen to frequent the same gym (but hello…pandemic!), in which case it is HER responsibility to keep communications brief to ensure the integrity of your professional relationship.
Your shrink should NOT be telling you that Monday is her favorite day of the week because she gets to see and talk to you. Comments like that can lead to the wrong impression – such as wondering if your therapist has feelings for you.
She should NOT ask you what you think appropriate boundaries between you and her should be. Maintaining appropriate boundaries is 100% HER responsibility. Not YOURS. How should you know what constitutes appropriate boundaries within her profession?
A therapist should never ask a client why the client doesn’t ask her personal questions. That question in and of itself is provocative and it encourages the patient to cross boundaries. Try this answer on: I don’t ask personal questions about you because I’m paying for a professional relationship so that I’m not obligated to ask about your life. My understanding of therapy is that the focus is supposed to be on the client.
Your therapist sounds like a fucking narcissist. Like she’s not happy unless her patients are all fantasizing about her and each vying to be her favorite client.
She actually sounds like she’s grooming you.
I’m worried that you’re in danger of her making an advance on you which would be so detrimental to you, so incredibly traumatizing and so ETHICALLY FUCKED on the shrink’s part.
I’ll close with this: If she were ever to become sexually intimate with you, she will NEVER make your relationship known. You’ll be hidden away like a dirty secret because she will know that she’d lose her license to practice in an instant.
I think she’s dangerous, I think you should terminate therapy immediately and report her to the board of whatever profession made the mistake of issuing her a license to practice.
Because if she’s doing it to you, she’s doing it to others.