Spoke the details aloud now can't stop the transference.

FauxLiz

Sponsor
After nearly three years I finally told my therapist the details of one of my assaults that I have never spoken to anyone about in the past (including my past therapists), I just haven't been able to say anything more than, I was gang-raped to any therapist/P-doc in the past. Now, I am struggling with the fact that I have developed erotic transference and I can't stop seeing him as someone I should/want? to have sex with. We have talked about my non-erotic transference to him in the past as I have found myself attaching to him the way I should have to my father and saw him in a paternal manner but this is entirely different.

I am beginning to see him in my dreams/fantasies as the person that teaches me about healthy sexual relationships, I can't let this continue and I can' tell him about it because other than just plain being mortified, I am afraid that he will feel the need to transfer me. When we dealt with the paternal transference it was not something that he had dealt with really in the past and he told me that he discussed the possible need to transfer me with his colleagues I am terrified that this will be the straw that breaks the camels back. I am also scared that if he transfers me I will self-sabotage/self-harm by acting out sexually which I have done before when I felt abandoned. At the same time not talking about it won't make it disappear and I am just as terrified that I will for lack of a better word dissociate during one of our sessions and really blow things up by attempting to act out my dreams/fantasies.

Please, someone, have some words of advice and support because I can't go down this path again.
 

Skywatcher

MyPTSD Pro
I run into maternal transference with my T quite often. She is very good at helping me through it and it doesn’t scare her, but she is also a supervisor and closer to the end of her career. We once talked about the TV show that I’m watching called “In Treatment.” She said that erotic transference can be more problematic, especially if the therapist starts to feel the same way (in the storyline). I don’t think that you can just make your fantasy go away without processing it, so I’m not sure what you should do. Most likely, you trusted and opened up to your T and he received it well, causing your new found intimacy and desire for him. Sounds pretty human to me. I’ve actually imagined my T being present in a few of my fantasies as a sexual coach telling me that I am safe and that sex is a good thing (she is female) —but that is as far as that has gone. Maybe there is some sort of book out there or you could meet with a female therapist for awhile to work through these specific feelings and return to him? I know this wouldn’t be easy and the whole idea would terrify me, but I don’t know what would happen if you told him, considering the past situation with his supervisor.
 
Hi @FauxLiz, everything is actually OK. This is absolutely normal.

I developed erotic transference with my T as well. I looked around online to see how others dealt with it and every single source says that, unfortunately, you have to talk about it with your T. I trust my T very much, but still was a little worried that she would dump me. Of course, she didn't. And I doubt yours will, either.

It is perfectly natural to develop erotic transference on a therapist. They are concentrating entirely on you. Often they may be good looking or have attractive personalities. We can tell them sexual things we can't share with anyone else. And I have to do my teletherapy in my bedroom.

My T handled it with perfect sensitivity, for which I was extremely grateful.
 

grief

Sponsor
transference is a normal part of therapy. if you are experiencing this i would encourage you to speak with him about it. it's very common and that it heightened after disclosure is completely ordinary. while your t may not have been experienced with it at first it sounds like he gained enough insight to continue working with you afterwards. it may be worth bringing up the topic again in a general sense to see where he's at with it now.
 

Movingforward10

MyPTSD Pro
My T specialises in relational therapy, which is all about working in the transference. Even so, even though she sort of encourages it and normalises it, I still hold shame and fear about how much I need her.
Erotic transference has reared its head a couple of times, but so far I've not been brave enough to mention it.

Your T, if you have been working with him for all this time, must surely be expecting it?
Is there a way of broaching the subject in a safe way for you? I.e. talking about transference generally and then seeing if you can bring up this erotic transference?
I really hope it works out for you.
It's a very brave thing to raise.
 

FauxLiz

Sponsor
or you could meet with a female therapist for awhile to work through these specific feelings and return to him?
@Skywatcher thanks, I have been considering if I should try a female T if he does decide to transfer me but I struggle with working with professional women. I have tried to see female doctors and dentists in the past and I can't relax and I can't tell them what I need as I had such a horrible relationship with my mother that I don't trust them, and I can't tell them what is wrong because I am afraid they won't believe me or will ridicule me.
I trust my T very much, but still was a little worried that she would dump me.
This terrifies me. When I brought up transference before, he told me that if we can't work through it, there may not be another option, and I felt like he was relieved when we talked through it that it wasn't erotic transference.
transference is a normal part of therapy
I have been told and read this before and I suppose I should be happy it is occurring because in the past when I have discussed my traumas in any manner to anyone, it has been a "from your logical mind, devoid of emotion" to quote a previous therapist. Feeling transference implies some level of emotional connection.
Your T, if you have been working with him for all this time, must surely be expecting it?
@Movingforward10 why would he be expecting it? I sure as hell wasn't expecting it. In fact, I have been fighting since day one to keep this from happening. I had a therapist in the past that I developed erotic transference for and I couldn't get through a session without the thought of what I "should be doing for him" came to mind, it distracted me enough that I was not able to process any of my traumas with him because I was too ashamed and embarrassed.

I am seeing myself going down a dangerous path just in the past few weeks since I started to feel this way, I catch myself reverting to negative coping behaviors to try and keep the thoughts from my head, trying to find something/someone to replace him in that space in my head.
 

Movingforward10

MyPTSD Pro
why would he be expecting it?
Because it's a 'normal' part of therapy and healing from relational trauma?
Even though it feels so painful and shameful and wrong: it's to be expected.
We spend X amount of time in this highly intimate space with our T's, who are wholly focused on us and our needs, it's going to bring up deep feelings for us.

Does it help to read some things about it all? There are some good websites that take the sting out of transference that might help?

(There are genderless therapists .. int hat there are therapists who are non binary, but I don't think you need to be worrying about him transfering you).
Maybe just bringing up your worry that he is going to transfer/terminate you if you told him something, might be the way to broach this subject?
I really hope it goes ok for you.
If it helps: last session with my T I told her I loved her (again), having said it once before. She is totally ok about it, and wants these feelings brought out and to talk about it as it represents what I didn't have growing up.
I really hope your T does the same.
 

scout86

MyPTSD Pro
I am beginning to see him in my dreams/fantasies as the person that teaches me about healthy sexual relationships
Isn't that actually part of what he SHOULD be doing? You can teach people a lot about healthy sexual relationships without being IN a sexual relationship with them. (I have an idea that might be something that parents teach kids, in the best of all possible worlds, without the need to actually engage in sex with their kids.)

I mentioned to my T once that I'd figured out why I never liked Nancy Reagan. It's because she reminded me of my mother. And, it turns out, there's a whole set of small, delicate looking, mean seeming women who I start off not liking because they remind me of my mother. He said that's transference. All it is is apply feelings you might have for one person to someone else. Nothing magical and nothing bad, just a thing. Seems like when it WOULD be a problem is if it doesn't get recognized for what it actually is.

It also sounds like your T might have some issues of his own with the whole "transference" thing. The only way to find that out would be to talk about it though and maybe you could start with a more general conversation about what transference is, if he sees it as a problem or not, and the reasons for that.

I'm not so sure about genderless T's. It might be hard for someone who has never experienced "gender" to help people work through all the gender related issues that come up.

I'd say bravely done for starting this conversation with him. The next step, at least it seems this way to me, is to work through how that experience (the rape) affected you and maybe still is. That's the point, isn't it? Therapy doesn't encourage us to talk about this hard stuff just as punishment. We're supposed to talk about it to work through the effects and go on to a healthier way of seeing things. The feelings are kind of separate from the person they get "transferred" too. They're real enough, but they come from someplace else and it's worth exploring where they really come from and why.
 

FauxLiz

Sponsor
Isn't that actually part of what he SHOULD be doing?
@scout86 yes that is part of what he should be doing, but I don't think that means I should be dreaming/fantasizing about the two of us having sex, I'm pretty sure that crosses over into a dangerous zone because it makes me want to do one of two things, either act them out - WITH HIM, or try to force the thoughts out of my head by engaging in unhealthy sexual encounters. and trying to not only get him out of my head but push him out of my life as well.
It also sounds like your T might have some issues of his own with the whole "transference" thing
I don't think that it is an issue of his with transference, he is a trauma therapist that primarily practices using CPT. That is not a therapy that in my opinion creates much space for transference as the "process" is a series of focused sessions. You may process multiple traumas but each one is generally a different set of focused sessions. At least that is the way I have experienced it and I also think that I push his "comfort zone" in terms of therapy in that I have tried to use the traditional CPT process but I don't handle the daily "exposure" process necessary to do CPT in an outpatient setting.

I have been thinking about this and I think the best way, and probably the only way to begin addressing this with him is to write it all out and email it to him before the session. That way, he will know what I need to talk about in our session this week, it will keep me from avoiding the subject entirely (which I am likely to do otherwise), and will start the conversation. In reality, I suppose I have to recognize that in all likelihood I will be transitioning to a new therapist in the not too distant future as the three jobs (one I definitely have and two that I am interviewing for) are all a significant distance from where he is and one is in another state and since I discovered during the pandemic that teletherapy for me is just another opportunity for avoidance so not a long term option.
 
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