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TherapistMarryAnn, Therapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 5808
Experience:  Over 20 years experience specializing in anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol, and relationship issues.
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Hello You answered a question for me back in Dec 2010. Something

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You answered a question for me back in Dec 2010. Something else has come up and I thought you may be able to advise me again. I've been seen a therapist for about 9 months now. Her approach is psychodynamic. I suffered from depression (as a result of childhood/ family and work issues) when I first started but I have got worse and I am now on medication too due to suicidal thoughts and almost acting on them. I wasn't this bad before I started treatment; my therapist says I have got worse because I am no longer suppressing my real feelings and emotions and that this will pass but as my old thought and emotion are deeply rooted it may take some time.
This is just a little background for you. My question is really about transference I think I have quite a bad case of this. I have discussed this with my therapist a few months ago but I didn’t tell her to what extent. I’m obsessed with her I think about her a lot and wonder what her life is like. I don’t have any romantic ideas at all its more like she listens and what I say is important I really like her as a person and I think in the outside world we would have common interests and view. The only personal information I know about her is that she has a son. I’ve been googling her quite a lot and have managed to find quite a lot out about her including her ex husband. I’ve tracked him down on facebook too and he is friends with my therapist, (her account is locked down) but to my surprise her son was on there too. I feel so bad for doing all of this and invading her privacy but the curiosity just got the better of me. I’m not a stalker I would never do anything to hurt her or her family. She is very professional and never crosses boundaries and I feel I’ve betrayed her by digging for information on her. She has helped my through some very dark times and I’ve become very attached to her maybe too much. I’m asking if not telling her all of this will interfere with my therapy, I really can’t tell her this, I think she would probably suggest I find another therapist. I’m really going to try and put what I know out of my head and concentrate on myself and not obsess with her and her life but can I do this or will it always been playing on my mind?
Thank you!

Hi, it's nice to hear from you!


You have some very good insight into this problem and that is going to help you. This is a common issue and it shows that your therapy is working. Transference occurs when a person feels safe with their therapist. They take deeper feelings- needs and wants- and they transfer them to the therapist. The therapist stays neutral in therapy for a reason- they need to allow a person to transfer issues into therapy. It is also so the client doesn't judge or use personal thoughts about the therapist to excuse, resist or otherwise hold back. For example, knowing that your therapist drinks alcohol might affect your desire to become sober. If the therapist stays neutral, however, then you are free to work on your alcoholism.


When you are transferring feelings of wanting to know your therapist's personal life, it is about something you need. It could be about control. Control can be about knowing a person's personal business. The more you know, the less threatened you feel emotionally. Or it could be about emotional neediness. That is not a negative thing. Being emotionally needy means that you did not get your needs met sometime in your life, most likely childhood. Your therapist is taking care of you. She cares and she listens. She helps you. These may be things you did not get as a child. So finding out about her, desiring to be her friend and be close to her is all about need. She fulfills a desire in you so you want more.


I understand your hesitancy in telling her about this issue. But you may want to reconsider. Transference is a very important part of therapy. It tells your therapist about needs you have that are hidden behind the normal exchanges. It touches a deeper meaning and need. By telling her, she can help you explore your needs and why you feel the way you do. It can take your recovery to a new level.


But if you chose to not tell her, then it may stay with you for a while. It may hinder your therapy. It will not harm you and it will probably go away after your therapy stops. But it is healthier if you tell her.


It may help if you tell her that you want to resolve how you feel. Let her know that you are aware it's not a good way to view her and you need to get to the bottom of it. If your therapist is a good one, she will see that she can help you.


Let me know if I can help any further,

Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Thank you- I really don't want to tell her the extent of my research. If I was to reveal elements of my feelings like curiousity about her and her life. but not mention I've acted on it , would this go some way in her understanding my feelings and hense using these feelings to help me further?
Customer: replied 5 years ago.

Sorry I forgot to add the reason I don't want to tell her about what I've done is that I don't want her to feel threatened by me.

Yes, you could let her know of your interest only. It does create somewhat of a barrier for you to leave out the extent of your interest, but as long as you tell her of your interest in her, then she has all she needs to help you.



Customer: replied 5 years ago.

Sorry for the delay.

I have found some things out about her, will this interfere? I know rather a lot.

Have you come accros this before, is this common?

Thank you

Transference is common. Wanting to know more about your therapist is common too. Most clients ask me eventually about myself and I imagine they also look me up as well. It happens and it's a natural reaction in therapy.


The extent you went to look up your therapist is a little further than usual, but that is not because there is something wrong with you. The energy you put into this has to do with what is missing in your life and your needs in therapy. It shows that you have a deep desire to fulfill a need and you are trying to find a way to do that by being closer to your therapist.


What you found about her may interfere, but that is something you and your therapist can work on in therapy. It is not a bad thing to know some about your therapist. And some therapists are very comfortable with sharing and some are not. If a therapist feels it will help you in therapy, they may share something about themselves. So you can take what you have learned about your therapist and work it out somehow. She can guide you with how to do that.



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