Unlock Your Intimacy: Dilemma over sexuality and love for therapist

Dr Aman Rajan BhonsleUpdated: Saturday, February 26, 2022, 10:26 PM IST
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I am attracted to my therapist and told her about it. She said it’s best to terminate sessions with her and has referred me elsewhere. It feels like a breakup though she was kind and gentle while explaining it to me. I feel sad and unmotivated to go to another therapist. Please help.

The relationship between a therapist and a client must be platonic with a certain professional distance maintained for the therapist to perform his/her role efficiently and effectively without bias. In many intimate relationships, it is common for the people involved to start taking each other for granted or for them to work extra hard to be palatable to each other so as to not step on each other’s toes and touch certain potentially offensive and sensitive topics. A therapist is free of such considerations as his/her professional role is that of an objective analyst and an educator with insights that go deep into the human conscious and unconscious must not be compromised due to excessive familiarity. The therapist must be nice but not always have to play nice. The therapist may sometimes have to speak the harsh truth to a client without any fear of reproach or rebuttals. Your therapist has acted in line with her professional ethics by terminating therapy. Getting attracted to one’s therapist is a common occurrence as the therapist represents a kind, caring, non-judgemental and agenda-free individual who is compassionate and flexible. This is usually the kind of warmth that clients are seeking in their personal and social lives. No doubt you may be reeling from this situation but if you wish to continue your personal progress, you will have to deal with this situation by prioritising personal goals and not processing this episode as a rejection of yourself.

I am not gay, but a male classmate touched me and tried to kiss me during a college picnic when we were all drunk. Since then, I am obsessing over whether I am gay, though I know I’m not. I feel anxious and can’t stop overthinking. What do I do?

It is not necessary for you to label yourself as gay or not at this point. The situation needs to be understood better. Did you enjoy the male classmate’s advances? Did you succumb to him making a move on you? Did you fantasise about that moment while pleasuring yourself in privacy at a later time? If the answer to these questions is an absolute yes, you may start identifying as gay. If you feel no attraction to men and you simply lost control of your body and senses at that moment — this memory may be filed into a ‘drunken mistakes’ ledger. A person who identifies as gay commonly struggles due to the worry that his/her sexual orientation will not be accepted in a traditional-minded and commonly heterosexual society that may even frown upon the very concept of homosexuality. People commonly act uninhibitedly after they are inebriated and being drunk can lead to a lapse of consciousness or judgement. An unaccountable stance towards one’s behaviour or the commentary one offers after drinking acts as the perfect reason to justify impulsive, outlandish and colourful decisions and their unpredictable outcomes. The decisions you make when you are sober are a far more accurate indicator of where your sexual proclivities lie. Additionally, I strongly suggest that you pay a visit to a reliable and reputed sexologist to discuss the matter further and quell your anxieties.

(Dr Aman Rajan Bhonsle, Ph.D, is a consulting relationship counsellor and youth mentor)

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