In August of 2006 my son began to see a therapist. I chose this therapist because I was making phone calls to a bunch of therapists who were referred to me by the school guidance counselor and this particular one had a great voice. Not a good reason to chose a therapist, but when you know nothing about any of them you have to go with something that appeals to you, right? (I still have one of his voicemails on my phone).
We began to see the therapist, D, and I didn’t think he was anything special. I mean, he seemed like he would be a great therapist for my son. Everything I loved about him the first time I met him turned out to be everything I hated about him at the end. He had photos of his wife and kids all over his office, as well as artwork by his kids. He had a 10 year old daughter and 6 year old boy/girl twins. His wife was blonde and beautiful. I didn’t think he was particularly good looking, he was ok. I thought he was a terrible dresser. Those were my first impressions.
He was very casual and laid back, and had a somewhat “in your face” manner. Later on the secretary in the office told me that my son was the only patient D never yelled at. It seemed he used the “f” word in every sentence. As time went on I saw that boundaries weren’t really something he was much concerned with.
He mostly met with my son, but occasionally with both of us and also with me alone. Something happened in October 2006, about two months after we met. I met with D alone and he told me that he thought my son had a learning disability. I started to cry and he apologized for upsetting me. I had thought this for years, and had had my son tested a few times, but nothing ever came up. D and I met alone again the next week and I told him some personal things, but everything was in reference to my son. I thought these things would be helpful in his treatment. I found that D disclosed a lot of things about himself. He would tell me that he and his wife had an argument that morning, for example. He would talk to his wife on the speakerphone in front of me.
D helped me get school services for my son, he would come with me to meetings at school. I learned more about him. He was very open with his feelings and I am a sensitive person who can read people’s feelings very easily. Once I asked him if something was bothering him, he seemed to be troubled for a month or so, and he was very surprised that I picked up on that.
As time went on I found myself thinking about him all of the time. I made up elaborate daydreams about him. Nothing was erotic or romantic. I purposely tried a sexual fantasy about him, and it didn’t do anything for me. Mostly my daydreams were about day to day things, being friends, working together, getting sick and him taking care of me.
He did things that were on the verge of unethical, but nothing blatant enough to warrant complaints. He would double and triple book our appointments. We would show up and he wouldn’t be there, or he would be with another patient. He invited my son to be in his office basketball pool for the NCAA tournament. He and my son won the $600 pot and he gave my son a check for $300 even after I told him I was very uncomfortable with that.
He would make promises that he would help me with certain things – like forms for special ed, or assistance with an IEP, and then he wouldn’t follow through. When I would ask why he said he would help but then he wouldn’t he said it was hard for him to say no, but he would often promise to help and then run out of time. I know someone else who took his son to see D and D often didn’t follow through on his promises with them either.
When I would get angry and criticize him he would lash out at me. He told me that I was sarcastic, standoffish and difficult to work with. Then later he would tell me that he was fond of my son and me and enjoyed working with us.
He had another business, transporting “troubled teens” to residential treatment centers. This made him a lot of money, so whenever one of these situations came up he would cancel our appointment.
He frequently didn’t answer emails, simple ones where I just wanted to check on appointment times, or reschedule appointments that he cancelled.
Despite the fact that he treated us poorly my daydreams and fantasies continued out of control. I lived for Wednesdays when I could see him. I knew this was very bad for my mental health. In October 2007 I got very angry with him because of another cancelled appointment. He had asked if he could buy our pro football tickets because he knew there was a weekend when we weren’t using them. I dropped the tickets off at his office and left them on his desk, he wasn’t there. Later that day he called me to thank me for the tickets and said I didn’t need to drop them off. I asked how else he would have gotten them. He said, “I would have gotten them.” He asked how much he owed me and he would send me a check. Then he asked me if we had an appointment coming up. I said, no, you cancelled our last appointment and didn’t respond to my email asking when we could reschedule.
Then in a moment of clarity (or insanity) I said, “I’ve been thinking.” He sounded unsure and said, “Thinking is good.” I told him that my son seemed to be doing better and that I didn’t think we needed to come in anymore. He said that is fine, and thanked me for working with him. Told me how much he enjoyed working with us, and what a great parent I am to my son. I thanked him, and that was it.
Needless to say I was then devastated. I thought I made a huge mistake. I couldn’t believe what I had done. I had to call my psychiatrist and double my dosage of my antidepressant. Five months later I started to see another therapist, J, to get over D, but it was too hard to talk about and I quit after a few sessions.
I never got a check for the football tickets.
Everywhere I went I looked for D. I always thought I would run into him somewhere. It finally happened last September. We were at a restaurant and he gave me a big hug and we talked about my son. I was again devastated, and started therapy with J again in September. I don’t really talk about D in therapy, and I’m ashamed to say that I never told my new therapist that D is a therapist! I told him that we had a business relationship. I was afraid he would know D, first of all, and that he would write it off to transference and tell me to get over it.
I still think about D a lot. Not constantly like before. I’m also terrified of having this happen with my new therapist, who is younger than me and extremely handsome. But somehow I don’t have the same feelings for him as I did for D. He’s a lot nicer than D that’s for sure, but he also tends to disclose a bit too much for my liking.
I was in therapy prior to D for anxiety and phobia for 10 years. I had two therapists who were older women. I never had any transference issues with them. One of them recently retired and I knitted her a scarf as a gift. She sent me a card saying “I was asking Jean (the other therapist) if she thought our clients know that we love them. It’s not something therapists talk about, but it’s true for Jean and me. It’s one of the gifts that come with getting to know you over months and years.” Even with her saying that to me, I have no issues with transference. Yes, I love her as my therapist, but I can honestly say that I never think about her unless it’s in reference to a technique she taught me, or if I’m thinking specifically about therapy.
So many other things happened during our time with D, I can’t even describe everything. I don’t know why I feel the way I feel considering he didn’t treat me very well. The only thing I’ve come up with is that he is the type of guy who would never pay me the slightest bit of attention when I was in high school and college. He was the popular type and I was an ugly nerdy teenager. So maybe it’s because I was finally getting attention from someone like that, even though I was paying for it. I don’t know. I’m not sure I’ll ever get over it.
I feel terribly guilty for not telling my new therapist the true story about D – how he is a therapist also. I think I need for him to know. I think I’ll write him a letter about it and give it to him next week.