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Page Contents: When you feel both love and resentment for your psychotherapist.                    


I have a tremendous amount of transference going on with my therapist to the point where I can say I feel almost in love with her. I resent the fact that she has a life outside of our hourly weekly session. I resent the fact that she has other clients. I know that this is her job, but want more from her then she can offer within the confines of therapy. I have spoken to her about this, and she says she can love me with “words.” But as time goes on, I feel more and more dependent and angry with her for not giving me what I want. She keeps trying to get me to express my anger with her, but I have a hard time doing it. Should I terminate with her or keep talking about the feelings? I’ve been seeing her for four years. When I first met her, there was no impact or impression for me, but has time goes on, I feel almost obsessed with her.

The more you “keep talking about the feelings” the more you will learn about yourself. In fact, when you say, “I know that this is her job, but want more from her then she can offer within the confines of therapy,” you are actually stating the very reason you are angry with her. Most likely you have felt this way—i.e., that you want more than what others offer you—about other persons in the past, especially your parents, so what is happening with your psychotherapist is really nothing new. Therefore, when you tell me that you are “almost in love with her” you are really trying very hard unconsciously to convince yourself that you are “almost in love with her.” Why? To avoid the feeling of anger. If you love her, you can’t hate her, right? Or so we all would like to believe. Thus you are on the edge of encountering the ugly truth about “common” love that everyone resists admitting: that in this case, your feelings of love are nothing but a form of bribery to avoid your own feelings of frustration.

Sadly enough, when you say that you want more from your psychotherapist than she can offer, you may be unconsciously admitting that she really can’t give you what you really need: the deep philosophical understanding that this erotic feeling is just an illusion to protect you from your own pain and frustration. Her saying that she can love you “with words” clearly misses the point, doesn’t it? So, ultimately, you may just have to terminate with her, not because she won’t give you what you want but because she lacks the understanding of how to teach you what you really need. This fact alone should make you angry for wasting four years with her. So just maybe you will risk taking all that anger into one of your sessions and finding your “love” suddenly flip-flop into hate. And then maybe you will learn exactly what you need to learn about how you have been fooling yourself all these years.


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Raymond Lloyd Richmond, Ph.D.
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