Friday, October 15, 2010

It happens sometimes

I have seen a twenty something woman about 4 times. About the end of the second session I could see it in the way she looked at me. A strong positive transference is developing, maybe even very strong. She reports the sessions have been most fruitful for her and is keen to attend further sessions.

But it is the way she looks at me right into my face and eyes. I find it a little bit disconcerting as she can kind of stare at me for a little time. Not an excessively long period of time but it is a little longer than would usually be the case.

Body dismorphia

Why do I feel a little perturbed by it? At the moment I am “The best thing since sliced bread”, in her mind so I am supposed to feel good about that aren’t I?. But it is the swiftness of the emotional development, it could have a romantic quality to it and they could be quite intense emotions.

I have dealt with such clients in the past but I suppose I am yet to find out how such intense emotions are going to be displayed by her. If she is an acting out type of person then it is going to be some hard work at times. Some clear boundary setting is going to be required along with some clear confrontations. I suppose I am not looking forward to the possibility of that. However from how she has behaved so far, acting out is not one of her traits.

woman with knife

As I have mentioned before an intense positive transference sooner or later turns around to an intense negative transference. As I write I feel I am perhaps hyper vigilant with her at this time due to the strength of the emotions she is feeling towards me.

Maybe also it is the fact that she really looks into my face and eyes. Maybe I am finding that a kind of ‘closeness’ which I am not currently comfortable with. I get a sense of too much too soon sort of thing.

Cat leaping
In dealing with her I kind of feel like this at times



  1. I hope you won't be too uncomfortable with her. It might not be erotic at all. It might be that she likes you very much, thinks you are nice and is very glad that you want to help her. Sometimes people are busy and distracted and don't pay close attention to each other. And if someone really needs to talk about something and they find a nice therapist who will listen and can understand them, then they do experience that as a kindness. What's not to love about that?

  2. I find that an erudite comment Anon. And that is indeed something to love as you say.



  3. Hi Tony :)
    sometimes I wish I worked with people not spreadsheets :)

    would it make any difference if either variable changed:
    - you were single
    - the client were seventy-something

    (I wondered if "was" is more appropriate than "were" in the line above - in case your wife reads this blog please you have the right to remain .... - I mean you may teach some good English your foreign readers, too :)

  4. Please don't take this the wrong way Tony, as I don't mean this in any way shape or form how it may come out, so please put it in the context that I am saying it in the context of my own character flaws, but one of the reasons why I would guard against positive transfer is the thought that my counsellor may have such a reaction. I'd protect myself.

    Saying that, what I hear in your post is your child flagging up some warning signal to you. Always best to heed eh.

  5. Hello Kahless,

    You are on the ball tonite (your time) my good friend. Maybe you are having a tipple or two? Its friday.

    As you suggest my Free Child has picked up an unusual reaction in the client and it is watching cautiously to see how it manifests because of the potential porblems that could result.

    Regarding your first paragraph I am not offended at all. This is an unusual case which is why I have noticed it more. Many clients develop a positive transference that is seen by me (and other therapists I suppose) as a good development in the normal therapeutic relationship. Usually with a positive transference from the client it feels good to the therapist because they think you are a really good guy. So it is a nice thing for the therapist.

    My little professor intuition is ringing another bell in my ear as I read your comment. "I wonder if K is using this as an excuse to not get any counselling".

    Besides all this thanks for your comment


  6. Hello Zbig,

    Good comment.

    Changing the two variables as you suggest would make no difference to me but it may make a difference to those around me.

    You raise a very interesating point that I will make my next post about.


  7. Could she just be an intense person? Can she pick you are uncomfortable? Is her awareness of your discomfort making her more intense? Some people are very sensitive to peoples body language. She might be going back home thinking that her therapist looks uncomfortable when she looks and listens to him.

    It must be an awkward place. The awareness of the possibility of something that will require a great deal of careful work.

  8. Those are good questions Linda,

    I imagine at some point I will do the usual therapy thing and recount my discomfort to her. At this point I don't think I will as it is an unusual situation and I want to see how it evolves before I interfer in the therapy relationship as just described.

    Take care


  9. Yep, friday night is bacardi night!

    And no excuse, as I dont need an excuse. Couselling is a abject falure for me as it just ends up with me having to head for the anti-depressants.


  10. Nah!

    All you need is a good therapist and that would all change Kahless


  11. Hard to find Tony, particularly when you don't live near a major conurbation. And don't take that as an excuse lol!

    Besides, I have more pressing things on my lap at the moment. Or should I say in my abdomen. But then again, physical manifestations of a sick mind, lol.

    btw I have just realised I haven't seen Roses here for a to see what she is up to on FB....

  12. Yes kahless,

    Roses has been remiss of late in her blogging duties. But she is often on FB and is great fun to chat with on skype. High FC.