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Rafael M.T.Therapist
Rafael M.T.Therapist, Psychotherapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 3189
Experience:  MHT-MHRS-MS-MA Integral Psychotherapist & Life Coach
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Rafael, This is a highly interesting subject for me at the

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Rafael, This is a highly interesting subject for me at the moment. I'd like to know if I am indeed co-dependent with those in the clinic. I'm not sure what a healthy relationship is like here yet and how I can make it better. What I do know is that at certain times I need the doctor more than I need P and that the reverse happens other times. There is a mixture of feelings for them both which is quite hard to put into words. Where the doctor is concerned there seems to be quite clingy feelings alright and I see myself in my mind actually clinging unto him not in a sexual way now but another way that I haven't the words for yet. He's like the image of the cliff when I am hanging over it and he comes along and pulls me back up to safety or he's the one that stands over the horse and refuses to let me take him over to the other side. Sometimes I feel satisfied after coming out from him but other times I come out feeling worse and this mixture is most definately quite confusing. Getting my messages across to him is very difficult especially when he is not in a listening mood but would rather kind of tell me what to do or be horrified about the thoughts in my head. I see fear in his eyes and I wonder if he is actually afraid of me.
Where P is concerned Rafael 90% of the time it feels very good and I need to admit that sometimes I feel sexually attracted to him. But this is definately as you say about the intimacy and vulnerability of telling P most things even though he would be poor in the area of abuse. This is a major fear I have with my new counsellor in that we are discussing a very sexual area. What happens if I become sexually attracted to him in the future? What can I do for this relationship to stay healthy? Yesterday we went back to my childhood and we spoke about hugging in particular. I had to admit that I never remember getting any from my mother and how there was just no relationship with my father. I don't want to make them out to be wrong because I think parents can only teach their children what they know but I did realise throughout the conversation that I was a bit afraid of my mother as well even though I hadn't realised that before at all. But I remember always having an awful nervous stomach at home and staying down on the beach so long was a way of avoiding home as well. I also told him about the day I had to leave and go to the family when I was pregnant at 18 and how my mother waved to me from the window. I then went behind a big wall, sat down and cried so incredibly hard for what seemed for ages. But it wasn't because I was going to miss her Rafael, it was because she left me go.
And then all of a sudden Rafael the tears just spurted out of me in the session and was so unexpected it caught me with such surprise and I found it very difficult to compose myself. This has been one of my greatest fears all the time and in the clinic all along I have had to keep talking to myself to stay in control all the time. I somehow felt that I was caught off-guard yesterday and I'm wondering how I wasn't prepared. But he works so differently than the others Rafael and I haven't figured out his way yet. He's still wearing those runners though!
Anyway, I looked up co-dependency annoymous on the internet last night and while there is no group here in Ireland - I have signed up for their weekly newsletter anyway and I enjoyed reading some of their site.
Tell me Rafael.... Do you know what your own co-dependency tendencies are? If a client was sexually attracted to you - how would you handle it and likewise if you were sexually attracted to one of your own clients - what effect would that have on you do you think?
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  Rafael M.T.Therapist replied 2 years ago.

Whenever we feel we cannot be happy or healthy without another person in our lives, the chances for codependency to be already there are very high. If we find ourselves unable to feel good, fulfilled, strong without a person's support, then it could point at codependency attachment to such person. In counseling and psychotherapy we naturally develop attachment to those who support us, but when instead of such experience being empowering, healing and liberating, it becomes a dependency on that other person's physical or emotional closeness for us to be and feel fine, to cope and do take good care of our lives, then that would be codependency.

It seems the Dr. has taken the main authority role in your psyche, like a father who has the power to help and discipline you. On the other hand P seems to be a more emotionally close person to you, more empathic and understanding even more because of how much you have shred with him about your experiences.

In order to prevent developing sexual attachment to a professional, you need to be open and honest C. Remember those are core requirements for psychotherapy to grow and be truly beneficial for you. All sensible areas including the sexual one, should be discussed, even more if they arise during therapy and challenge you. In this way you would be preventing developing something that would undermine the very support you get from it.

I truly believe that the process you got in last session was very good and never a wrong ting at all. This sis what you need to do in psychotherapy work C. Controlling yourself, faking positive feelings, avoiding pain in therapy would be the worst approach. Since therapy is about the opposite of that. That's why you get a professional to facilitate and support such venting process, offering a healing container. Repression and avoidance are not compatible with effective therapy. I am glad you were able to do this C. "Staying in control" in therapy equals undermining it and its potential for healing.

As a person and professional caring about my life and the impact it has on my loved ones and clients, I am always working on myself to identify and eliminate unhealthy patterns, including any codependent trait that could appear in challenging times.

When I notice a client of mine getting sexually attracted to e, I address the situation in a professional and therapeutic way, since it should be used as a way to explore the client's personal-relationships issues, expectations, patterns and more. So it should become an integral aspect to work on the client's therapeutic process. I remind client about boundaries and limits in therapy, about dual relationships and what could undermine therapy if not handled in professional ways.

In case a therapist develops feelings or feels attracted -experience counter transference, he-she must get support from consulting with more experienced professionals about the case in order to make necessary adjustments. If necessary professional would have to look for counseling or psychotherapy him-herself, and if necessary refer client to another clinician if unable to play a professional and ethical role. This is what I do too.

Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Well, Rafael, I guess I haven't been as honest as I thought I was particularly below in the clinic. I concentrated mostly on my past, my suicidal thoughts, and the actions that I know are wrong of me. Yes, loads of times I realise that I have faked positive feelings and I have gone out of my way to show the real pain that I felt. At this stage I don't know how I can do that though. All along when I have felt well I just carried on and didn't bother ringing them. In some ways looking back I wish that I had met them during these times as well but P is really only used for emergency situations and so they were the times I called him. However I have been really honest with myself and was actually very poor when I did call him at those times. It has been with the doctor that I seemed to fake things or how would I put it - let on that I wasn't as bad as I was and so I feel that the Dr. may not realise how hard things really have been.
I also now realise that counselling is far harder on patients than anyone realises - myself and other patients and the councellors themselves. Of course it also depends on what the problems of the client are and what their pain threshold is. I know that in my own case that the Dr. thinks that I am coping well because he keeps saying that I don't look depressed or I don't look high or undermines me by calling me a risk-taker. All my behavior seems to be wrong in his eyes and I keeps saying that I will do my own thing anyway.
Where P is concerned I can just imagine his reaction if I told him that I was sexually attracted to him! He wouldn't be able to deal with that at all Rafael. And anyway I'm not even sure if I am myself. When I see him first I feel huge delight and I do like the way he carries himself and his stance appears very strong to me. I do think also that he has a gorgeous face but then when I am in with him talking these feelings don't seem to be there anymore and I just become interested in what he has to say and in what I have to say. I'm even glad when the session is over and I can go on my way so I really don't know yet how I feel about him. At the start I wouldn't mind a night in bed with him and at the end I'm glad to kick him out of it! Now I don't know if you can pick up something here Rafael but that was the way I was throughout my affair as well. I had limits and boundaries very much here and would only meet him once a month. And the day of the month had to be the day I was in a particularly sexual high. I avoided any other time as much as I could and then afterwards I was so glad to get rid of him again. During that encounter I put an amazing amount of energy into the time I was with him - enough easily to keep him going and myself for the month! Are you horrified at what I am writing Rafael??
I now see what you mean about how you can help much better in a session if a client can really be themselves Rafael. You are dead right. How can you possibly know what to do if you aren't given the whole picture. After crying yesterday - in a way I too am glad it happened and I know now that I don't have to feel bad doing this. In a way it is a relief feeling like that. Last week alright I had a great urge to go into the corner of the room and sit down there but I can't really do that can I? If this urge comes up again what do you think I should do?
Expert:  Rafael M.T.Therapist replied 2 years ago.

Coming to terms with reality, facing the core problems-approaches limiting and undermining your very healing process and the support you get is essential, and I feel hopeful that you are reflecting on this and making something about it.

You are absolutely right, psychotherapy and counseling are tough if you truly work on yourself and life issues. It could be mediocre or simply nice but useless if you do not do the work you need. This is why people avoid counseling using nay justification possible. Not many are truly willing to work on themselves for real.

Now you see how unhealthy and sabotaging hiding feelings and your real status could be specially when with those who are there to support you. Never a good idea at all.

What you describe about your experience with P sounds very normal. Sexual appealing is normal and denying its existence would never lead to anything healthy. The same happens when we do not use sound judgment and assertiveness taking good care of ourselves and impulses. This is why limits and boundaries are so essential in every human relationship. You know what you feel and when you feel it, but you are able to interact and share and get work done in a responsible and proactive way. That is perfect. Now that you would start showing much more of yourself, instead of faking stability and happiness, it would allow you to truly get and feel better and them to better assist you.

Depending on how much experience, assertiveness, maturity, expertise and ethics a professional in this field happens to have, they would take such a revelation from a very useful and necessary topic to redirect your own therapy for further work on just panic. This is why therapist should only take and keep clients and cases they can effectively and ethically handle.

Affairs happen mostly because people feel unfulfilled and conflicted in their marital relationships. They could happen out of distortions like addictions and personality disorders and other problems, but normally it is this longing we all have to feel loved, connected and supported what leads people to look for a special person. Obviously, experience itself shows us that getting involved with other people while dating or married does create other core issues, and that's why we need to think twice about our choices and actions, if you truly want to be and feel better and not to afford bigger problems. Then I am not horrified at all "C" , but I think I understand what you mean and it makes perfect sense.

Sure you could and should do that "C". But I recommend your counselor to join you ad offer support, to work in a therapeutic way right there while you are into the corner. That could be very useful and beneficial for sure. Talk to them about it.

Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Rafael, I thought I accepted your answers earlier on and started a new thread but I could be wrong. I don't want to leave you short of your well-deserved tips and I hope someday you might leave me send you a nice gift of some kind because you are so terrific and so interesting and I get the greatest pleasure of all reading your answers. When I see it in my email I say , "Oh, great! Rafael is on!"
As each day passes Rafael, I am so glad now that I went to Harbour. I should really thank the Dr. all the same for pushing me and I think long and hard about the session (as I do yours!) and I seem to be constantly discovering so much about myself. Isn't it extraordinary how blind we can be inside especially. I often wonder if I went through my life with my eyes closed. I hope you will never be as blind as I was Rafael and don't rule out counselling for yourself either in the future. You might need it because some of your patients (like me!) could have an adverse effect on you.
I can see a load of people in the bar who I think would never go for counselling Rafael and I find them very slow or hard to think deeply about life. An awful lot of conversations are geared towards the humdrum and boring things in life but they seem to have nothing to say on issues like spirituality, thoughts, how they came to be here ect. I make a huge effort all right in this department but sure they only laugh at me. Still, you can learn a lot through laughter too, can't you Rafaeal?
The thought of telling P that I might be sexually attracted to him is really making me laugh Rafael! I just couldn't I tell you! This is Ireland we're talking about here and we're only just starting to talk about this subject. Where you are - you might be far more advanced in that line. He would definately put me onto someone else - I know he would and I'd really hate to lose him but you are right in that we all want to be loved so much and we spend our whole lives looking for it and believe me Rafael - it doesn't stop just because you are married. I do think though that women in Ireland are having a sort of sexual revolution and we now want what most men were able to have all along. If a man had an affair in Ireland he was known as nearly a hero but if a woman had one she was looked on as a prostitute. I think those days are over now and women are much more braver in that department than ever before. And you are right when you say that affairs start because something is wrong in the marriage because I genuinely felt that I had no support. Would you believe that affair has lasted for over 20 years Rafael? I bet you are shocked now but there is something else. He is 20 years older than me as well and somehow I associate that with the boss. I often wondered why I was filled with disgust many a time after seeing him.
You didn't really tell me Rafael what you think you would do if you yourself was very sexually attracted to one of your clients. What if it was at the stage where you couldn't wait for them to come down to your clinic and all your thoughts on a daily basis was constantly referring to them. What if it felt out of control for you and all you wanted to do was to live and breathe them and what if it just hit you out of the blue with no warning what-so-ever?
I don't know about the corner Rafael. In one way I would love to do it because I'd like to be able to show what I do at home when I feel really sad and down. I think it is becoming urgent because it is something that I am repressing all the time and each time it came up in the clinic I'd keep saying over and over in my mind that "You Can't do that!" I want to reveal the real me so much Rafael. I want people to know me properly and I'm not really bothered (especially at the moment) of what anyone thinks of what I do. People in my bar make a fool of themselves loads of times when they are drunk and I accept them unconditionally all the time.
Expert:  Rafael M.T.Therapist replied 2 years ago.
"C" In order to start a new question you need to make sure you rate - provide feedback (like before, it will be implemented soon again) for the question to be closed, so you can create a new one where the system would request you to set initial subject.

I am happy to know I have been helpful , it truly makes a difference when you know from customers or clients support is worthy. Thank you for your trust C.

It's fantastic to know you are coming to terms with the fact that counseling could be so necessary and even essential, and that your decision to accept Dr.'s referral was wise. It's so interesting to see how we could see things one way at certain moment, and then after a while, from new experiences and allowing ourselves to see beyond previous outlook, we could understand and acknowledge the value and potential of things in a very different fashion. You took the challenge and now you know it was good!

What you say is very true, just like what Plato taught us through the Cave allegory. We are all blind until we perceive a beam of light, and if we allow ourselves to wonder and open our minds and then explore, we could gradually find out more about a bigger reality, and from there we could literally change not just our perception of things, but our understanding, feelings, and the way we shape who we are and what we create in our lives.

We all need psychotherapy and counseling, as we all need of doctors to take good care of our physical medical needs, and I think it is like this because we are all human beings, always learning, maturing, growing, healing, evolving in so different ways. So I do not exclude myself from it for sure, it would be foolish for me to think I am immune or beyond life issues or my own human nature.

We can learn a lot from all types of people, including those who believe counseling is useless or just for crazy people. Laughter is a master teacher, I believe. It all depends on how clearly and proactively we approach and experience things, to make of them productive, enjoyable and even healthy. Most things impact on us depends on how we perceive-approach and react to them. Thus what would be consider as bad luck for somebody, other person could regard as a unique chance for change and growth. Laugher could have such a wonderful potential for healing, sharing and growth, it just depends on how we experience it, the heart behind it.

You got a very valid point in this area "C". Ireland is Ireland. I had the chance to live there and know from experience how things work and it's not good at all. As you said it has evolved but still you could see how Catholicism is overwhelmingly at the root of so many prejudices, stereotypes so of discrimination and alienation. It was very shocking to see the very contrast between day and night life in Ireland, people who are one way during the day, get transformed during the night. Alcohol and bars and every type is social life repressed during the day flourish during late hours. You could not find a small store but you will find a bar at every block for sure. The phenomenon created by the internet and access to pornography and virtual sharing , giving Irish people a way out from their repressed sexuality. It becomes very addictive under such context, no doubt.

It has happened more than once that I found myself feeling that way but always I have immediately caught myself and have been able to set my personal and professional values, beliefs and responsibilities before it. I think my personality and worldview, my values and beliefs have always played a core role allowing me to do this, and I feel grateful it has been this way, whether it happened when I was single or not. Then I have never allowed it to develop or fueled it, since that would have been real sabotage and already abusive considering the role I play as a professional.

I do totally support your work on becoming more yourself in therapy in order to get better and more affective support, and for this experience to be truly more and more therapeutic. Wonderful step forwards for you not to bother about people's thoughts or opinions about you. We should be open to learn and grow, learning from useful, assertive and positive feedback or experiences other people have but to codependently live slaved by people's ego is just nonsense and totally destructive.

Have a nice weekend!
Rafael M.T.Therapist, Psychotherapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 3189
Experience: MHT-MHRS-MS-MA Integral Psychotherapist & Life Coach
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Rafael M.T.Therapist
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MHT-MHRS-MS-MA Integral Psychotherapist & Life Coach