I am a 27-year-old male who has had anxiety issues since childhood. I recently started seeing a counselor with whom I share all my problems. She listens to me patiently and she has, in a way, become a motherly figure to me. (I didn’t have a good mother.) But of late, I feel that I am attracted to her. I think of her all the time. I cannot wait to see her again. I find that I am emotionally dependent on her. Is this feeling natural? What should I do? -A.R.A.
Nishma Choudhary, Student of MA in Clinical Psychology and Co-founder of My Sirani
It is normal to develop feelings for your counselor. You are sharing your deepest secrets with her. Developing feelings for someone who patiently listens to your problems and who gives you non-judgemental advice is natural. She is giving you a space where you’re comfortable being vulnerable. Maybe that’s a state you associate with feeling loved, whether it is with a parent or a partner.
You need to take into consideration a couple of things. How long has it been since you started developing feelings or attraction towards her? Is the termination of the feelings taking longer than needed?
Maybe you can start by contemplating why you may be feeling this way. If counseling has been helping you with your anxiety, then you must be getting positive nurturing feelings out of your sessions. And perhaps this feeling is causing you to look at your counselor as a motherly figure. Your feelings may have also born out of the gratitude you hold for her for listening to you and helping you. Or, because you long to have someone to talk to, someone who understands your struggle with anxiety, which your counselor is for you right now.
One thing that you can do is talk about your feelings with your counselor. At the end of the day, she is there to support you emotionally. She understands your condition and she will know how you can understand and deal with your emotions in the best way. There is in fact no one better to talk about this issue than your counselor.
I understand it can be awkward for you, but chances are your counselor has experienced something similar before. So I advise that you talk to your counselor before you seek advice from anyone else. She is there to help you.