Our expert says:
Sorry, of course, if you were inadvertently upset at the time. You constructed the conversation in such an intellectual fashion, that I responded in like fashion, as although it may have reflected a degree of the traumatization you received at the hands of Dr X, you did not ask us to discuss that, rather than more theoretical and scientifically relevant questions.
I understand that what was happening, at a level below the apparent discourse, was, for instance, perhaps wanting to assure yourself of your worthiness for genuine affection, by wanting to see his affections and your own responses, as entirely natural and genuine.
The idea that the very therapeutic setting and analytic-type process itself tends to produce such elements often, which need to be recognized as by-products of the process and rarely as natural as they may feel, isn't necessarily pleasant or welcome. Its a bit like doing surgery under a necessary anaesthetic - one needs to be cautious in extrapolating from whatever happens or is possible under the anaesthetic to what might have happened without it.
And within serious therapy, the therapist needs to be cautious not to let the process become ABOUT that relationship alone, rather than about broader issues and other lastingly important relationships, including one's own relationship with oneself.
You are worthy of affection and friendship in your own right, and shouldn't be encouraged to feel that you need the validation of a therapist's affection in order to be worthy. These are themes which a genuinely skilled therapist would recognize and include in the therapy process.
I didn't know that you were having any problem with the CTSPP itself, or that they would in any way try to make trouble for me, apparently blaming me with whatever issues you were having with them. I don't know whether Dr X was or was not a member of that group. I didn't think you would have been trying to cause such problems, even when they arose. But I don't know whether the CTSPP faierly represented the situation when writing to my editor - I suspected they gave a misleading impression.
As for the original problem with Dr X, I hope I didn't give the impression that this was a basic flaw in the method and somehow inevitable. It is a basic and instrinsic RISK within any intensive and detailed psychotherapy, which most well-trained therapists recognize, look out for, and deal with professionally and indeed some analysts believe it is valuable ( when dealt with properly, of course ) and part of the process. But one of the reasons many analysts believe analysis of the analyst is important, is just so that they can recognize personal issues which could interfere with such situations arise, and deal with them analytically rather than personally.
Taking such a matter to the HPCSA or not doing so should surely be entirely your decision, and I'm sad to hear it if SASOP or someone there, leaned on you not to do so. It is NOT their professional or ethical role or function to prevent reasonable concerns like that from going to the HPCSA. Similarly, it should not be up to you to spot the transgressions - it was his task to recognize the potential transgressions and prevent them from occurring. And when you speak ot a whole file full of improper e-mails, this is not a single event on one day when he may have been careless or distracted, but apparently a consistent pattern over an extended period.
And of course it is the therapist's responsibility to see both wood and trees during the therapy, not yours.
That you still at times miss him is not unusual - it takes a while to recover and to move beyond such eperiences.
Thank you for your kind and encouraging comments at the end of this message. I long ago decided that I should be frank and honest in such communicatons - there are already far too many people prepared to say nothing except what you would enjoy and accept, regardless of whether they are true or useful. I would not have got involved in the dangerous work as an expert witness in major human rights cases, except that I found hardly any other shrink or doctor had the integrity and chutzpah to do what was obviously both necessary and a professional ethical duty.
I would not expect you to agree with everything I said about analysis or the ethical dimension of your bad experiences - if I said nothing except what you already knew and agreed with, you would have gained nothing, and even irritatingly disagreeable opinions can be useful, like a knife-sharpener, in honing your own views and conclusions.
As you will perhaps have noticed, some other readers had met some similar experiences, and will have found our discussions useful.
I hope you will feel free to continue to visit the forum, as lurker or commentator. What I liked about the format, way back when I began it, was that it is genuinely interactive, and gained from the input of readers as well as the Experts themselves.
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