(Photo: Allison Day, Flickr, CC BY-ND 2.0.)
Revised 2/28/187: Dear Readers, I have been witness in these pages to too many stories of therapists failing to handle strong transferential feelings and causing further hurt in the process. I have since posted a new version, which may not prevent disasters, but will, I hope help everyone to be more aware of what is involved, both for patients and for therapists.
Since original post, many readers pointed out that my words put responsibility on the patient when it is really the therapist’s job to understand and guide the patient. I had imagined that by trying to be “even-handed,” the paper would be easier for therapists to accept. In fact, my original use of the word “responsibility” was not appropriate, so I have removed it.
It has also been pointed out to me that the therapists who really need to get these messages are the least likely to be open to them, and that the patients who most need to enter into a frank discussion, are among the most likely to be blocked by shame and intimidation.
My Better Answer: See the new post of 2/18/18, and the extended narrative that is presented in the hope that it might be useful in some cases to both patients and therapists.
6/26/18: I have gotten feedback that the old text is still causing some bad feeling, so I have removed it entirely, but will leave the comments. I’m also closing this post to new comments, so please move on to the subsequent revision in the form of the Primer on Attachment to Your Therapist.