The therapist I worked with for seven years was amazing, we dealt with some extremely emotional issues including PTSD sexual abuse and maternal narcissism. She validated my feelings and showed the kind of empathy that I’d never received as a child, therefore, I often craved her as a friend while in therapy. I soon understood boundaries, and realized it just wouldn’t work; therapy isn’t friendship.
A friend told me of an occurrence where friendship ruined the relationship with her and her therapist. She had been meeting “X” every 3 weeks for roughly 2 years, drudging through many agonizing, uncomfortable, personal issues and trusted “X” entirely with what she disclosed, more than with any other therapist.
When she was pregnant with her second child, also experiencing difficulties with her spouse, “X” was there to convey her thoughts to. By the time the baby was to arrive, they worked through marital issues, which alleviated the situation at home and for her.
After the baby was born, she didn’t see “X” for several months, however, she did phone her to shout with joy that it was a baby girl, and “X” exclaimed “hooray!” She was ‘on the fence’ about sending baby pictures, yet she did send a few via e-mail in the end and “X” asked to see more.
She called “X”, asked if she could drop them off at her office, but “X” suggested they meet for coffee, view the pictures and just have a chat the following week. She became excited and this is where the client-therapist relationship started falling apart.
They only met for coffee a couple of times, but they kept a conversation going via e-mail frequently and she began sharing the day to day problems of her marriage, kids and family woes. Surprisingly, “X” started sharing a wee bit of her personal life also, which had never been shared during their sessions, so she was beginning to feel a closeness to her more than ever.
A few months passed before she was in contact with “X” again, keeping her active with returning to work, a new baby, her other child, yet she knew she needed to revisit therapy once again.
Her next appointment with “X” was just a chit-chat session, similar to a catch-up, and from there on, therapy just wasn’t therapy and realizing it couldn’t remain as therapy, she, unfortunately, terminated what was a wonderful therapeutic relationship.
In my opinion, it was the fault of the therapist that ruined this therapy relationship. Boundary issues.
Written and copyrighted by Deb McCarthy