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Dr. Steve
Dr. Steve, Psychologist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 370
Experience:  19 years conducting therapy; book author; newspaper columnist; former co-host of radio show
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For the first time I am being treated by a psychiatrist.

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For the first time I am being treated by a psychiatrist. I have long history of depression and are now on medication that seems to be working. My issue is with psychotherapy.
I have been going for about 6 months now and feel like things are really starting to change finally. I am feeling things again. I've never felt like this before. I understand a little about transference. In the last month or two it has been happening to me. I feel totally in love with my therapist and when he is away I am hurting alot like my heart is being ripped out. I try to comfort myself with words, that he will be back, that he will not let me down but I just feel angry at him now. I feel like I am going crazy. I'm a 51 yr old woman with a male therapist in his 30's. How can I deal with the heartache that I feel now. Will it go away? How can I deal with caring for another person this much and one day therapy stops and we part. Its too painful. I'm crying alot. I just don't know how to deal with all of this. Please help me out.



Great question, but I am sorry you are having such difficultly. Your assessment about transference sounds as if it is quite accurate (therapy has done a lot for you, honestly!), but all the knowledge in the world does not help you when you are hurting like this. So consider this: Transferential feelings like these tend to be more powerful when there is already a scar on your psyche from suffering a loss early in life. The very piece you feel you are missing is being hit squarely by the relationship you have with perhaps the most intimately connected person in your life - i.e., your therapist. And, like you probably felt as a little girl when the significant person in your life left, you are now understandably angry at the therapist for abandoning you.


To cope, you are already doing some of the things you will require to internalize the "good object" (this internalization must not have happened early in your life, so it will be far more difficult as a grown woman). "Internalizing" means that you hold a representation of the person in your mind (in your heart?) even when they are not around. You are trying to comfort yourself by repeating his words, and that starts the process (think about how a child learns to trust that the good object - usually a mother - is still in their universe even when they cannot see her). I would recommend also jotting down some of his favorite sayings and posting them around your house. Also, if you have a photograph of him, place it where you can see it.


This all sounds like childish advice, but I understand the pain you are in. Eventually, the goal is to not need these "gimmicks" placed in your life, but these are excellent issues to work out in therapy when your therapist is present. I applaud you for taking the initiative to enter therapy and make your life better - heck, even writing to this forum took some courage on your part. Keep going in the right direction, and you will come to a place where you feel whole. If you are satisfied with the response, please hit "Accept." That is the only way I can receive credit for my answer. Thanks-

Dr. Steve

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