Thanks for your question regarding$ your feelings for Jim. Sometimes when clients go for therapy with a therapist, they are searching for something in their life. When the therapist assists the client to find what they need, the client begins to feel an attraction towards that therapist, because they appear to be the answer to their problems, they have 'taken time' to listen and to encourage thinking that leads to a better place. The client then becomes to feel emotionally close to the therapist, as if the therapist could be the person they are looking for in their life. The phenomenon is called transference.
If the therapist begins to feel the same way for the client (with or without transference occuring) then the process is called counter-transference. It is a very common phenonmenon in the therapy world, because the client is, by their very nature, vulnerable in a certain area of their life (for which they are seeking therapy) and the therapist appears supportive, all-knowing and all-feeling, which can be very attractive.
You have done well for finding out the boundaries that exist between the client and the therapist and I congratulate you for that. However, you have also shown your affection by offering your therapist a magazine and a Christmas card and he has pointed out that you need to maintain your boundaries. This, to me, suggests that he prefers to keep the relationship on a client/therapist basis and it does not seem that a romantic relationship will ensue.
I understand that you may be disappointed with this information, although I suspect that I am telling you something that you already have an inkling of. If you feel that you can continue to see your therapist without this becoming a distracting issue, then feel free to do so, otherwise I suggest that you find another, even though you feel that this man understands you. The other alternative is to tell him how you feel and discuss it in the open - a more difficult option, but one which is open and honest and with discussion can allow the attraction to fade. If he feels the same way, then you can find an alternative therapist and see this man on a more intimate basis. You could tell him by letter if you feel that a discussion is too difficult. To be honest, your therapist should be aware of this phenomenon and should be able to talk about it with honesty.
I am sorry if I don't bring you good news, but I feel that I am being honest and open. I wish you well and send you Best Wishes, Sarah
I can only suggest that you ask your therapist if he would like to go for coffee with you and see how he responds. If he suggests that he would like to, but is unable to as he is your counselor, you could let him know that you are willing to find another counselor and see him on a more friendly basis. you can only then see how he reacts to your question and take it from there. How would you then feel about your next sessions if he says 'no'? Would it be better to wait until therapy with him is over so you can avoid any negative consequences if he says 'no'? On the one hand, I am thinking 'what have you got to lose?' but on the other hand, if he is good for you as a counselor, then that is what you could lose. I think honesty is the best policy in this situation. Best Wishes, Sarah