Our expert says:
I'm not at all sure whether I should continue discussing this set of issues ! - I was seriously rapped over the knuckles by our editor after she received a complaint from a psychoanalyst, apparently based on your expressing concerns about my being critical of psychoanalysis
Remember, I do NOT know you, or your former psychiatrist, or any of those involved in your particular story - I only know what little you have told me, and have been commenting on the issue in general, as that is all I can do in this situation, and what is useful to other readers, too.
Obviously, I do not know what any of your therapists intended in their heart of hearts, or what they did ( apart from what you have said ).
One of the points I was trying to make is illustrated by your comments. You have had a difficult life with some very nasty and discouraging experiences. In the course of psychotherapy with someone in your position, any therapist would realize that you are very vulnerable, and would grow to know the points of major vulnerability - for instance, your doubts about whether you are worthy of love, and your need to be shown signs of loveability and worthiness by others.
Thse are important issues needing to be dealt with responsibly in therapy ( of whatever form ) but only in ways that would be helpful to you. It would also be possible for an unscrupulous therapist to take advantage of such knowledge of a patient in order to exploit them and manipulate them for his / her personal pleasure. It is also posible that some therapists might have personal issues and vulnerabilities of their own - for instance, they might greatly enjoy being wise and caring and having someone express appreciation of that. In this way they might be likely to recognize the matching issues in a patient and also make use of them to develop an emotional relaionship with the patient, without stopping to recognize the extent to which this was becoming improper.
The inherent imbalance of power and specialized knowledge betwen patient and therapist imposes great duties on the therapist to be cautious in such situations, and to recognize them early on and respond in a purely professional manner. It is not the paient's task to do so.
And among the risks are the fact that such relationships always end in tears and troubles ; and that then the patient is unfortunately likely to blame himself / herself for what happened. Though the patient is NOT to blame in such therapeutic situations which the therapist controls.
As you point out, where advantage was taken of your prior experinces of rape and abuse, you would again feel abused, as you apparently were. You could indeed find it hard to trust your own feelings - the feelings that can arise within therapy ofen feel exactly like those which arise in ordinary life, but they are not the same, for therapy is a very unuual and special situation.
As you say, it is not at all unusual for victims of CSA or later abuse to enjoy some aspects of what happens - and then feel very guilty about having done so though there are no real grounds for guilt, and it was absolutely not their fault that such things happened. Sadly, the events often involve a victim with a very strong sense of personal responsibility even where they do not deserve blame, being victimized by someone in a more powerful position to theirs, who has a lesser sense of responsibility even though fully responsible for the events.
As for your previous therapist, his intentions may ndeed have been good, in whole or in part, or even if they were no actually so, he may have persuaded himself that they were.
I have no doubt that you are actually a pleasant, intelligent and loveable person to those who meet you and know you, and you should be able to enjoy pleasant attentions from a range of friends. Because you simply deserve it. Future therapists with whom you work will probabl focus on such aspects, and help you to recognize both that you are worthy of love and friendship, and to recognize it when it arises ; to recognize that your own feelings are usually trustworthy and wise, though like all of us they may be ocasionally misguided ( especially when there's a bad guide around !).
You can work, with whoever honestly treats you, towards liking and appreciating yourself more, and developing more skills to reduce the risks of being victimized or abused again.
Its fine to enjoy attention from a therapist - but the therapist must work strictly within the accepted professional codes of conduct. Attention need not involve sexual feelings and erotic fondness, though it can be a reaction to prior CSA and similar abuse, that one assumes that it does.
I hope you are happy with your current therapist and that your therapy, of whatever complexion, will be successful.
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