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Elliott, LPCC, NCC
Elliott, LPCC, NCC, Psychotherapist
Category: Relationship
Satisfied Customers: 7664
Experience:  35 years of experience as a Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor, National Certified Counselor and a college professor.
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Id like to request Elliot Sewell. Thank you, Tonya

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I'd like to request Elliot Sewell.

Thank you,
Seeking expert testimony is a sign of strength. A personal relationship with a caring professional is proven clinically effective

Hi Tonya,

Thank you for requesting me. I would be delighted to help you. Last time I heard from you was when you were trying to work things out with Jerry. I am sure that a lot has happened since then. That was sometime in late January if I recall correctly.

Just fill me in on the details and I shall be happy to try to give you my best answer and help.

Warm regards,

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Hi Elliott!


Yes…I left Jerry in November and he has attempted relentlessly to get me back and convince me that he can change, but I really don’t see that happening. And the longer I’m away, the more I realize I made the right decision.


I’d like to get your advice on another situation…and hopefully it doesn’t break any “codes”, as it’s regarding the therapist I have been seeing weekly since last September. She has helped me tremendously and I’ve grown a lot since seeing her. But I’m wondering if I’m putting her on a pedestal in an unhealthy way and seeking her approval too much. Our relationship has become almost a friendship. She has told me that she really looks forward to seeing me, probably more than she should and that she likes our 5pm appointments because it’s the end of the day and we can relax and “goof off”. She told me about her singing and playing the piano in her church so I went the Sunday she said she’d be there and she sought me out after and was so excited to see me and gave me a big hug. We always hug after our sessions but this was a little different…probably because of the “non-formal” atmosphere. She also burned me a Christian music CD and has given me books to read. I had asked her one time, pretty much knowing the answer, if we could ever do anything outside of the sessions and she said that we couldn’t because it would change the relationship, but that she had also thought about that.


As you can tell, I’m wanting to think that I’m “special” but is this just a normal client/therapist relationship? And can clients and therapists ever be friends once counseling is over?


Thank you so much!


Dear XXXXXa,

You have asked a very important question that is addressed to all therapapists. As the various mental health professionals choose from among the same interventions and approaches in therapy, we also share the same code of ethics, and that is to avoid dual relationships which includes not treating a friend or family member, not bartering services for therapy, and not having or developing ouside friendships or sexual relationships with our clients.

Nevertheless, perhaps around 30% do engage in various dual relationships, often with no harm done, but not always.

Mental health therapy is not a symmetrical relationship. The client reveals his or her inner workings and secrets and the therapist usually doesn't because the focus is on the client.

Although this seems to be skewered in one direction, the therapist still emerges as a safe and attentive listener who really wants to help the client with her problems. The sessions are not meant to be a counseling resource for the therapist.

After all, she is a human being like you and a very loving and caring one at that.

If you can terminate your client-therapist relationship and wait for some reasonable time to pass, if you are both willing and able to establish a new egalitarian relationship (she cannot be on a pedastal) the it is possible that you can be friends in the future.

Other therapists might give you a different answer - an iron-clad NEVER - but I do not think this way and recognize that this can be a possibility.

I have a very interesting book that you could read, which will give you tremendous insight on the entire subject.

Product Details

Speaking the Unspeakable: The Ethics of Dual Relationships in Counselling and Psychotherapy by Lynne Gabriel


I wish you great success. This relationship, whether professional or friendship, seems worth having.


Move cautious but don't let it go.


I wish you great success and I am glad to hear that you have moved on.


Warm regards,



Elliott, LPCC, NCC and other Relationship Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
Thank you Elliott!

It's so good to hear that friendships do sometimes develop between clients and therapists. I would think that it would be very hard at times as a therapist to follow the code of ethics. It's like telling someone who loves helping people to stop loving it on command.

I'm getting a little worried about myself because my feelings are getting hurt too easily by her and I'm over analyzing her words and actions. Last session she expressed again that she felt the way I left Jerry was "wimpy" and she would have liked me to be stronger and stand up to him more. There were a couple of other little things as well that bothered me about the session and I left feeling a little down. Then today I saw her at church (I don't always see her because she attends another church sometimes) and she was nice to me but she just didn't seem as warm as usual and of course it hurt my feelings. So now I'm wondering if she's trying to distance herself. And actually, as I'm typing this and thinking back on our relationship, this has happened several times before. I'll feel really close to her and the next session she's kind of curt with me.

What do you think? :)
Dear Tonya,

The client-patient relationship is a very private and discrete one. Part of our ethical code is to not potentially embarrass a client by being familiar in a public place. It could be a breach of ethics to do otherwise.

I tell my clients, when discussing confidentiality, that if I see them in a public place I may not acknowledge them first as a guarantee of confidentiality. Of course, if they greet me I will greet them with the same level of familiarity as they greet me.

I get their permission on our first session if I may call or email them so as to protect their confidentiality, once again.

This therapist may also have strong friendship feelings towards you and sometimes tries to keep them in check and other times cannot. You must consider that possibility.

Because your relationship is assymetrical, she is supposed to keep some of her feelings in check, but perhaps cannot.

She is a therapist and you should feel free to discuss your deepest feelings, wishes, and desires with her, and she should be able to respond objectively and be honest with her.

I understand that you do not want to feel rejected, but you already do feel rejected since this has become an issue. She is a professional and she should be able to work it out with you.

Don't be afraid to talk to her - in session. You will have the best chance of resolving this small "crisis" by talking face to face.

I wish you great success. You will work this out.

Warm regards,